LEGAL DISCLAIMER. The following story is not a magic or supernatural story. It takes place firmly in the real world and in the present day. I can’t explain the meaning of it to you, and I probably shouldn’t even if I could. Whatever your interpretation of it is – or, better yet, whatever your gut reaction might be – will do for now.
Part of it is that I don’t fully know the meaning of it myself. Part of it is the possibility that it may well make more sense in light of what’s to come. Part of it is that it’s not much of a story. Be that as it may, do with it whatever you will.
* * *
JUST OFF THE NEAR-MYTHIC HIGH GREEN PINE HIGHWAY lies the hidden little town. It’s not hidden because of magic or the supernatural but because there’s nothing there but a few farms and a thousand or so people and because it’s pretty much impossible to drive there by accident. The ancient colonial town square, so very New England in its character and even its modesty, is crisscrossed by four different roads leading in and out, but none of them is a main thoroughfare for drivers in any given direction. Thus the hidden little town remains sleepy, quiet, and proud.
Just above the town center is a field on a hill. This sloped field is unique for several reasons. First of all, someone owns it. It’s somebody’s private property. I have no idea who it belongs to, but it does belong to somebody. In this day and age, of course, land being parceled into bundles of ownership is the norm, but what’s strange in this case is that the owners choose not to inhibit access to the field or to the wooded trail that climbs alongside its edge. My guess is that they’d object to any sort of automatic gunplay or reckless bonfires in their field, but aside from such excesses, anything goes. Secondly, the owners, whoever they are, are rarely in the field themselves. Presumably they, or their hired help, go there on occasion – somebody trims the grass, or at least makes hay out of it, once in a great while.
Thirdly, though, everybody is rarely in the field. The vast majority of the time, this is a field that is free from human meddling, scheming, and influence.
Fourth, the place carries along with it a sort of accidental immortality. Across the whole of the forested hills of all New England run the ancient stone walls that mark where once a cleared slope of colonial American farmland brazenly bared its earthy flesh to the sun and the rain. Now, those walls are but relics in the midst of young and renewed forest, but for places such as this field. From the days of nation-birth to present, the forest had never been allowed to return to this field.
Fifth, no one seems to know why.
Lastly, at the crest (though not necessarily the peak) of the field’s hill, there is a large stone outcropping surrounded by two young trees. There’s an almost biblical quality to the landmark, something that makes the whole landscape harken to the sheep’s grazing grounds of a Zion that never really existed. The locals feed this sensation by calling it the Abraham Rock – for from it, they say, the nations will spring.
There is never any explanation, never mind evidence, for this assertion. It’s not magic and it’s not supernatural. We merely do with it what we will.
* * *
THE STORY, IF IT CAN EVEN BE CALLED THAT, brings us to one partly sunny Saturday in July of 2014, when the field briefly hosted a silent circus of baton-passing, energy broadcasting and, yes, even nation building, all of which occurred without the knowledge of the townspeople below. To this day, they remain unaware of any of it.
It starts with two deer, because they were the only ones in the field besides the birds and the frogs and the bugs. It was mid morning, and they were enjoying the field, thinking their deer-style thoughts, and, for lack of better phrasing, positively chillin’ in the absence of those twitchy spazzy humans who lived here during this time period. They dug the age of the field, and even the weird vibe of the Abraham Rock in their own deerish way, which is why they chose to spend their morning there.
There was nothing, for the deer, to be added or taken away from the experience or the day.
Nothing but increased awareness, anyway. But knowledge, as even Adam and Eve once discovered, is a double-edged sword. It was not without a touch of bitter, perhaps slightly corrupt, knowledge that the deer reacted to the sight of the two semi-foreign travelers. They saw the travelers long before the travelers saw them, but they made sure to linger just long enough to be seen, to make their presence known.
Remember, twitchy humans, they may serenely have been saying in their deerish way, we hang out here sometimes. Your experience is not the only one, and it may not even be the best.
The two semi-foreign travelers knew none of this, but they did see the deer looking intently at them from up above, before they scampered off, seemingly without nervousness.
The travelers can be called semi-foreign because they were American enough – real New Englanders, in fact – but they weren’t from this town, or even from this area. This is no minor distinction, for anyone in the town would have known it instantly, and from a great distance, just by looking at them.
They were conscious of the way the townspeople viewed them, and accordingly made their way in as quiet and unobtrusive fashion as possible. To themselves, they both looked extremely normal, but they were intentionally aware of the environment in which they’d chosen to make their little Saturday excursion – in fact, it was the very reason they’d chosen it. They carried beach chairs and ample supplies as they headed for the Abraham Rock.
“You see those deer?” one said to the other. “That’s a really good sign, man.”
“Incredible, I know,” the other responded. “I don’t even believe in ‘signs’ and I know that’s a good one.”
From the crest of the hill, the pines surrounding them flowed like water as the summer’s haze hashed out from the pointy tree-tips, grass blowed in unison with the dancing of angels – or something like that – and music emerged from the ground, sometimes from the field and other times from the rock itself. It wasn’t magical, it wasn’t supernatural, it was just the events of the real world, but nevertheless, the two intuitively understood, without explanation, without evidence, that nations do indeed emerge from the Abraham Rock.
Naturally, they spoke of the character of nations, standing and sitting as they were in this elevated downhill plain overlooking the modest but formidable little town below. “It doesn’t look like it from up here,” one said to the other, “but there’s definitely two sides warring over it all. You can see it in all the stories if you know where to look. Or how to look.”
“That’s true,” the other answered. “I don’t even believe in sides, but there’s definitely two sides fighting over it all, real or not. I think what matters is how we respond to that, on the level of the institutional. Natural are we, here in this field, and naturally we have rights that are inalienable in any circumstances.”
“Ah, but I in this field may have those rights, or may know of their documentation on even the most sacred of documents,” the other said like a joker or a jackal, “but I don’t see how that matters if, down in that town, the rights don’t really manifest themselves as anything.”
“So the ends justify the means, then.”
“We need the values, the ones we get in this field, if we’re going to do anything.”
“I don’t want to abandon the values. I just want to make sure they are tangible. And I don’t care how it’s done.”
As the day went on, though there were none to see it and none who were aware of it save the robins and the frogs and even the two deer (who, knowing the humans would eventually leave, never had gone very far), it was as though two flames rose up from the hillside, meeting unseen lightning halfway between earth and sky – dancing, debating, painting, creating. The town never knew it had paid host to such a festival of national birth – and so close to the Fourth of July, no less!
But, as such things go, the music ceased to play from the generous belly of the earth, the chairs were folded, the empties gathered, the final smoke-sticks burned, and the travelers, under cover of darkness, moved on.
The results of this rendezvous of earth and sky, man and animal, natural and societal – this momentary pageant held in reverent imitation of the non-dual whole – remain to be seen. Even what is possibly to be born of this wholly overlooked occurrence cannot be told or outlined. It can only be suggested within – and so you must do with such things as you will.
Let time do the rest. Swirling, spiraling time.
* * *
A COUPLE OF NIGHTS LATER, a young resident of the town with no knowledge of these matters was driving his Ford Ranger home from work. He passed by his house, however, because he wanted to hear the end of the song he was listening to. If he continued a half mile up the road, he could make a loop around that would provide the additional time he needed to rock out.
As he crossed the little bridge with wooden rails that crossed the little local river at the foot of the field with the Abraham Rock, he saw what seemed to be a tall old man with messy white hair and a straggly long white beard. “Check out the random redneck,” he nodded to himself. “I knew this night was weird.” But even as he said it, he knew the mountain man likely lived in one of the old houses by the hill.
Looping back around, the song coming to a close, he pulled parallel to the road into his driveway, and his headlights again illuminated the old man. In the steady lights of his parked pickup, he realized that the man, inexplicably, was no New Hampshire mountain man, but some sort of Indian-style swami guru. The beard was long, but instead of being wild with chaos as he’d previously thought, it was parted in the middle into two forks. The shirt the man wore was white and open at the collar and chest, with shiny Indian-style swami guru buttons or sequins down the middle. This guy was as out of place as out of place can be.
The young resident of the town intentionally waited until the man was passing but a couple feet away before he opened the door and stepped out of the truck. “How’s it goin’?” he asked, looking right into the man’s oddly shiny greenish eyes.
“Mm-hmm,” the Indian-style swami guru said as he continued walking into the night.