It’s the seventh hour of this day. The sun is just beginning to stir in it’s bed and open it’s eyes…not yet though. Maybe one more snooze, I imagine. Two candles flicker on the square trunk just in front of where I sit on my couch. Isabella, the sweetest puppy, lays curled in a ball as close to me as she can get. Every once in awhile she stirs and lets out a soft sigh. Deuter plays on the speaker behind me on the left and beckons me to be quiet, to find stillness. I still have half a cup of coffee left and it’s lost it’s steam so I set it down on the table. I consider closing my eyes and sinking into meditation, but there’s a flicker of light at my back door that catches my eye. I watch for a breath or two and decide it must have been my imagination. I close my eyes and lean my head back against the couch pillows, considering getting up to refill my cup. Suddenly there’s a flicker of light above my eyes. I open them to investigate, but there’s nothing there. I look around the room and listen to the movement of the air then I watch the flickering of the candles. The fire dances and laughs. I smile and say, “good morning to you.” The flames go out…both of them, gone. Just as if someone had leaned over and blown them out. Isabella sits up from her morning lap and stares directly at the candles. Chills rush over my skin and then I take in a long, deep, slow breath to calm my startled fears so I can just listen.

“Hello?” I said.

There came no rsponse. Nothing else moved. The music had gone quiet in between songs and then began again playing my favorite meditation song.

“Okay.” I said. I sat taller and wiggled into the couch to get more comfortable. I closed my eyes and began alternate nostril breathing to calm my slightly aggitated nerves. I had no idea why those candles went out. There was no explanation…which usually meant, there was a perfect explanation, I just needed a minute to accept it. Someone was in my living room with me, someone from another place and another time and they had something to say.

Behind my eyelids, the colors began to swirl. Bubbles moved and grew and I allowed my awareness to ebb and flow with them. My body grew heavy and then still until I was no longer concerned with my body or where it was or how it was feeling. Isabella had fallen back to sleep beside me, but I wasn’t even sure that she was still there. The sound of my breath took over my senses and I followed that rhythm. The colors began to go dark and still. Soon tiny lights began to glow in the distance. One after another, they emerged from the blackness that had fallen and rested all around me. My sight grew more keen and the smell of the night air made it’s way to my face. There was a soft breeze moving the leaves on the trees to my right. To the left, a soft glow grew and called for my attention. The moon. She hung proud in the sky and dusted the tips of grass that made up the meadow to my left. I took a step and felt my foot press gently onto the warm rocks beneath me. I stood on a gravel road with a small building directly behind me. I didn’t know what was in that building, just that it was always there and I never felt the need to turn and look at it or explore it’s purpose. It made me feel safe as I took in the environment before me and allowed my eyes to adjust further to the darkness of this night. I took another step hearing the crunch of tiny stones and then another step and then another.

I have been here many times before and I knew that just ahead there would be a path on my right leading into the dense woods. I expected to take it, but found myself walking right past it this night. I had no idea what was further down this road and suddnely I was aching with curiosity. Excitement swept over me and I began to run. My bare feet pounded against the gravel road and it made me feel like a kid again. I laughed out loud and shouted for my legs to carry me faster and faster. All ahead of me was dark and open space. I noticed a wooden fence on my left. I kept my eyes on it while I ran and then saw the moonlight kiss a ripple just beyond the fence in the meadow…water! I ran harder, tucked to the left and leapt over the wooden fence clearing it with ease because I believed that I would. My feet hit the soft grass and pushed me right back into a run. I ran alongside the lake and noticed a pier up ahead. It went almost halfway across the lake, stopping near the center. I turned left again and darted down the pier, my feet pressing against the wooden planks. The water was barely moving in the soft breeze and it seemed as if the moon had sent a beam of her light right into the center, right at the end of the pier. I moved closer and closer to the end until finally pushing off the very last plank and thrusting my body into the air and out into the water.

I crashed deep into the lake, swooshing and splashing noises filled my ears. Cool water pressed gently against every inch of body and I realized I wasn’t wearing any clothes. I smiled to myself and then kicked my feet to rise up to the surface. I gasped for air and burst into laughter. Throwing my arms up a couple of times and then arched my back so I could float on the surface. My laughter subsided and I closed my eyes fanning the water to keep afloat.

“That was Brave.” Came a voice. I sat up as best as you can in water and whipped my head toward the pier.

“Hello?” I called.

“Hello!” Came back.

My eyes squinted to make out the form sitting on the very edge of the pier. It was a small person, a girl with hair that moved gently below her shoulders. As I tried to make out more of her features, the moonlight brightened upon her face as if it heard me trying to see.

“Who are you?” I asked.

“Wellll…..I’m you!” she giggled.

“You’re ME?” I asked as I began to swim toward the pier.

“I’m you.” She said standing up so she could step aside. I placed my hands on the last plank of the pier and pulled myself up with a twist to sit on the edge.

“Then who am I?” I asked with cleverness.

“You’re Me.” She said and began to giggle.

“And where are we?” I asked, playing along as I moved to my feet.

“We are right. Here.” She said like a smart ass…maybe she was ME. I tilted my head to the side. I still couldn’t see her very well. She had soft pale skin in the moonlight and big eyes, but I couldn’t make the color out. Her smile spread wide across her face and it was very sincere. She wore a dress that stopped just below her knees and had a ruffle at the bottom. It was short sleeve with puffy sleeves. She was also barefoot.

“Alright ME, what shall we do now?” I asked opening my arms out wide.

“I just wanted to watch you play, so I called you.” She began to walk back down the pier towards the bank.

“Play what?” I asked as I started to follow her.

“Just play.” She said over her shoulder. “You ran and jumped into the water without even knowing what was in it or how deep it was or wasn’t. That’s playing, it was brave though-you haven’t done that in a very long time. You really should visit me more often, ya know.”

I stopped walking, “Do you want to jump in with me?” I asked.

She turned to face me and I saw her smile spread across her face again. She walked toward me and reached out for my hand. I took it.

“I just did.” She said and turned to guide me off the pier.

“Where are we going?” I asked as I began to shiver in the breeze. Suddenly, my skin went dry and I could feel clothes resting against my skin now.

“You’re starting to use your grown up brain now, so we’re going back to the road so you can find your way home.”

I was confused, but also felt like this little girl was making perfect sense. I believed her. It was like a wave of understanding came over me just as I stepped my foot back into the grass. We stepped in between the wooden posts of the fence and began walking done the gravel road. She held my hand tight while we walked in silence. I looked all about, taking in every tree top on the left and noticed mountain peaks far, far off to the right just beyond the meadow. I looked down at her little hand in mine and something made me want to pick her up and wrap my arms around her. I suddenly wanted to protect her, I wanted to keep her safe and tell her that everything was alright. She stopped suddenly and looked up at me. I smiled and then she pointed down the road. I turned to see the building that I usually sense behind me here.

“Do you live there?” I asked her.

She shook her head side to side.

“Where do you live?” I asked really becoming concerned for her and for leaving her out here in this wilderness.

“It’s alright.” She began. “I’m safe. Safer than I have ever been.” She leaned in and hugged me, squeezing her arms tight around my waist. I don’t know why, but I leaned down and kissed the top of her forehead. She stepped back and smiled at me.

I tried one more time, “Sweetheart, where do you live?”

She sighed and took a step cloer to me. She reached her little hand up and placed it over my heart.

“I live here.” And with that she disappeared.

Isabella let out a sigh and I came back to the couch, back to my body. I could hear Deuter still playing just over my left shoulder. I felt the warmth of my grey hoodie against my arms. I took in a long breath and began to blink my eyes open with my exhale. The candles on the trunk were lit, flames dancing and laughing with the air. Something flickered at the back door and grabbed my attention, but nothing was there. I stood up and walked over to the door, opened the handle and stepped outside. The sun had risen and the sounds of morning filled the air. Isabella came and stood beside me and then reached out to stretch her front legs. She began to walk into the yard when I heard a laughter just behind me. We both turned around to look back into the house, but nobody was there. I smiled and said, “It’s okay Izzy, it’s just ME.”

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