I got up and put a log on the fire in the stone fireplace. After a few seconds, the log lit up in flames dancing in amber and orange. Bea spoke first.
She looked down at her hands, then started. “I don’t really remember all that much about where we came from. What I do remember was having to clean toilets to make ends meet. I remember living in a run down rented house.” She looked up at the flames but didn’t make eye contact with anyone else. Her voice was sad. “I remember wondering if this was all life was about.”
Amos glanced over at Bea then spoke quietly. “I remember working in a factory. I made light switches, the kind that goes in the wall all day, every day. It was monotonous. It was soulless. I was actually ashamed to tell people what I did for a living.” Glancing at the fire and moving his rocking chair a little bit, he continued. “ It feels more of a dream now that I’m here sitting by the fire.”
Michael had been sitting on the floor near the hearth. He picked up a handful of small sticks and started to shape them into a little structure, like a miniature log house. “I remember school. I remember how bored I was and how I dreaded continuing school (he was in the 8th grade, I learned later) another four years and then probably having a dead end job in a factory for the rest of my life.” He then caved his shoulders in, looked down, and twiddled a stick in his fingers.
I looked at my three friends and could sense their shame, despair, and sadness. I coaxed them to tell me a little more of their story. “What was the last thing you remember before ending up in the field?”
Bea seemed to be the spokesperson of the group. “We were sitting in the living room. It was the evening. A big storm had been brewing outside. The wind was bending the trees and I could hear it whistling in through the cracks in the windows. It felt like a tornado.”
Amos added, “It was so dark. Trash cans rolled down the street. I saw a wagon just flip over on it’s side. Then a huge sound and I think a tree fell on our house.”
“All I remember is running outside into the rain and seeing a huge tree laying on the house,” said Michael. “It’s all gone. I know it.” He sighed.
I could feel the weight in the room. But I pressed on because I knew better things were coming. “And then what?”
Michael spoke. “The next thing I remember was standing in the meadow in the rain and then seeing the smoke from your chimney.”
Bea closed her eyes to think, then opened them to speak. “Everything was gone. The tornado must have taken everything we owned, tossed us over here somehow, and left us with nothing.”
I knew this was my time to shift the conversation. “If you could be doing anything, anything at all, what would you like to do? Don’t think about work, school, or money.” I looked at all three hopefully.
“Well, I always wanted to sing,” Bea began. “Not necessarily on a stage or in a big musical, but singing with a group of friends. We’d be singing, laughing, and just enjoying each others company.”
“I wish I was sculpting with clay,” Amos said. I’m using my hands all day, but it’s so draining and boring assembling little parts with screws together, all day, day after day.” And then quietly he continued, “but there’s no money in that. I have to be responsible. I have to earn a living. I have to provide for my family.” His body became more ridged as he spoke, as though all the life had been sucked out of him, leaving him with a mechanical shell.
Finally Michael spoke. “I wish I could just draw. I love to draw. I am so bored with school. I draw in the margins while I take notes in school. I draw in my textbooks. I just want to draw, but I’ve been told there’s no money in that and it’s a stupid thing to dream about.” He hunched over and looked down.
I looked expected at each one, hoping to make eye contact. “Well, let’s imagine for a moment that this is a dream and it is possible to do anything. Would you like to do those things in this dream? There’s nothing to lose. It won’t cost you money.”
The threesome glanced at each other and collectively shrugged their shoulders. They all in their entropy of despair just stared at the fire again.
I knew there was something I needed to do. I went to the kitchen. There, Sri was sitting on the kitchen table. He spoke telepathically to me. “Invite them to the jump pad. There, they can go anywhere.” I glanced over at the jump pad, and it started to hum quietly.
I walked over to the jump pad and the screens came to life as they had before. Before me on the front screen were moving images of different, wonderful places. It was as if there was a web cam highlighting each place. The beach by the ocean…the mountains…near a lake…high in the trees…on the great planes… There were hundreds of these camera images. Each was more inviting than the last.
“There’s something I’d like to show you. Please follow me to the kitchen,” I beckoned to my guests. And then I added, “I think you’ll really like this.”
They walked slowly to the kitchen and saw me near the jump pad. I motioned them to all stand on the platform and to get a better view of the images. At first they were expressionless, as though they were being tasked to do just one more thing in their tired worn down life.
Michael touched the image of the ocean. All three screen came to life as if they were at the ocean. They could hear the waves pounding and feel it against their chest. A salty breeze cam in from the screens and made Bea’s dress dance in the wind. All three were in complete amazement by the jump pad.
Amos then touched a moving image of a lake nestled in the mountains. There were several log cabin like structures and a few people sitting on a dock near the edge of the water. It was very peaceful. The sounds of woodland birds could be heard.
Bea touched on a screen filled with crystals. Giant crystals. Crystals as tall as a house and jutting in several directions. There was a waterfall and clear lake which seemed to form inside of a huge crystal basin. It sparkled in the sun and pulsed a welcoming energy. The buildings looked like they were made of crystal as well, and were shaped like spheres. Then, slowly a group of people singing in magnificent harmonies came into view. As they sang, the crystals developed swirls of color within and on their surfaces. “This is where I’d like to go,” Bea said confidently.
Michael went back to the screens and touched one tin the colors of the United States southwest. It had jagged cliffs, valleys, waterfalls, and a river that shone like a bright golden ribbon through the landscape. The dwellings appeared to be within the caves carved into the edge of one of the cliffs. A closer look into the side screens, and people could be found climbing with ropes and rope ladders up the side or sitting in the entrances in groups. As Michael glanced at the screen, the image automatically zoomed in and he could see people were painting or drawing, but not on pen or paper or a color palet. They appeared to be creating in the air. They moved their arms and hands and then lines and colors appeared. “Definitely this is for me,” Michael decided.
Amos went back to the screen and flipped through the images some more. He stopped back at image with the lake and cabins. Again, the sound of birds filled the air. “I want to make birds,” Amos said quietly, as he felt that wasn’t something a man of his age should say. “I’ve always wanted to sculpt birds out of clay.” He looked over towards the series of log cabins and saw someone sitting and whittling from a piece of wood. He zoomed even further and saw the person was making a small squirrel. “This place is for me,” Amos said.
The launch pad vibrated and all three stepped down from it suddenly. They stood back and watched the launch pad glow and then three people materialized. The three people were one from each of the three scenes they had picked moments before. They looked puzzled and looked to me for answers.
I spoke without thinking first about what I was saying. The response just came from deep within me in a sort of knowing. “These are your guides. Follow them and have fun. Now is a time of wonder and play. Now is the time of dreaming and manifestation.”
“But don’t we have to stay together? We’re a family,” Bea said.
I looked at her with a loving, laughing expression and responded, “This is a dream, remember? You don’t have to follow the rules from where you came. Go and explore. Then, when you want to come back together, that will happen when it should.”
The three guides stepped down from the launch pad and walked over to each of my guests. Then, one by one, the guide and individual stepped onto the launch pad, touched the corresponding image, then they disappeared into the image. If you looked closely and carefully, you could see each pair show up in the video cam-like images on the screens.
After the third guest had left with his guide through the launch pad, I turned to Sri. “Well, that was an adventure. So now I know a little bit about my role here as Founder. What’s next?”
Sri looked at me and spoke. “Now it’s time for us to go back to Cree for the evening gathering. But instead of walking, we’ll take the jump pad.”
Sri and I stepped onto the jump pad. A mist of colors such as found on the surface of a soap bubble surrounded us. The colors swirled around us. The stone cabin and kitchen faded, and in a few seconds we were back at the edge of the center of Cree, standing on a launch pad identical to the one in my kitchen.