In the vast blue sky a lone, odd cloud shaped in a halo-like pose appeared on the distant mountain, a most unusual configuration, the sun giving it a beautiful glow and contrast along the far amber slopes.
The mule abruptly halted! I was stopped short with the plow handles slamming into my chest.
I stood in the freshly plowed furrow and gazed in wonder as did ‘old Fred’, the mule. It was a sight that came with a trilling sound, not of thunder with trailing streaks of jagged lightning bolts, but a whispering of strange archaic words in a soft musical cadence. The Sun was directly above me yet a broad shadow without darkness hovered just above the plowed field. There came an eerie stillness that filled the air. No longer were the birds tweeting. No longer could I see the bugs and worms of the earth. Never had I witnessed silence like this. Not a sound came to me in those strange moments after the soft trilling of echoic words. It was as though the ground upon which I stood, the air and space all around me was now a vast surreal cathedral. The tweetless birds dipped and flowed above in muted harmony of movement. I stood spellbound on seemingly sacred soil, and an amazing feeling of grace passed through my body. In that still hallowed moment I felt the essence of God.
Millie stopped in her tracks some twenty feet away, dropped the food she was bringing me at lunchtime. Her hands shook, reached, clasped her cheeks, and her face was bewildered, blanched with surprise, her blue eyes momentarily wide with shock from the trilling sounds emanating from the the strange aberration.
Some seconds passed before I realized Millie was in my arms, her trembling body mixing with my own quivering flesh. There had been no movement. She was just…there, in my arms.
“What is it, Lucas? Is it God speaking to us?” Her voice came to me as a quaint melodic tone, but I knew what she was saying. The silence all around us would not be broken.
“I think so,” I mumbled and tightened my embrace, my own words going back to her in the same odd melodic tone. Millie looked at me as a smile came to her face in a moment of holy acknowledgement.
“The paleness, it’s…it’s transparent. The sky is blue, yet there are shadows across our land. There is nothing to bring these shadows but a sheer transparency. It’s like an enveloping sheet of gossamer that we cannot touch, but can only realize that it is there. And, the total silence is all around us. Oh, Lucas, is this the end of days? Is this what the bible speaks to us about?” Her words could have been the soft sound of an orchestral refrain.
I held her to me as though afraid of losing her. Somehow, this anomaly did not bring anxiety or great dread. We were in a state of bewilderment but found there was no panic, no reason to be afraid. It was more an inner awareness of peace, of tranquility, something holy, an aura of sanctitude.
“Could you make out the sound, Lucas? Was it talking to us?”
“I believe so. Your voice is like the sound that came from the mountain. Is mine the same?”
“If it was indeed talking to us, I can only feel it was a benevolent message of hope.”
“Your voice is back to normal, Lucas.”
“As is yours, sweet Millie, and the sky is clear and without the shadows that were not there…”
Then, we laughed at my words…’the shadows that were not there’.
“Whatever that most divine sequence I feel somehow renewed, a calmness that I cannot remember having before. Do you feel that as well, Millie?”
“Yes, yes, you describe it exactly, a ‘calmness’ that purifies the spirit and makes life and death a union and constancy. We never die. Our spirits simply move into other kindred souls, in perpetuity. My good Lord, Lucas, did I just say the words I think I said?”
“You said it perfectly, Millie… Tonight, we will have red wine with our supper.”
Billy Ray Chitwood – February, 2019
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