The First of Many Lessons — Day 4

6 03 2007

The moment my feet touched the ground, I heard the most terrifying screech I could imagine. Although I looked about me, to the left and to the right and behind me, I could see no person or thing. But hear them I did. Horrid name calling that I had heard throughout my entire life was being replayed in my mind. Words that I thought I had erased from my memory, numbed from my consciousness, were being re-broadcast on my own personal tape recorder. Over and over, the caustic words echoed.

Panic gripped me as I listened to my past’s ghostly voices and then I felt my feet disappear into the mucky sand. Suddenly I remembered my companions and their pact. Were they really going to help me or were they going to ignore me in my predicament?

I turned about, searching for Damascus and Pigeon, as the sandy ground continued to suck fiercely, now engulfing my ankles. Damascus stood placidly at my side, yawning and swinging his tail. He was nonplussed by my situation; in fact, he was totally unaware of it. If anything, the donkey looked quite relaxed, almost asleep standing upright.

“Damascus, aren’t you going to help? You did say you’d help me, you and Pigeon.”

“Hmm. What’s up, Dear? You look a little troubled.”

“Troubled? Troubled? Of course I’m troubled. Those voices. Can’t you hear those devilish voices tormenting me? Screaming insults at me. And aren’t you worried about the quicksand? I’m sinking deeper and deeper. Can’t you see?”

Damascus took his time, but eventually he swiveled his eyes downward and examined the sand which was gripping me more tightly. He looked a bit irritated. Then he blew a warm swoosh of air into my face.

“Of course I can hear and see. What kind of donkey do you think I am?” I think he gave me a nasty look, but I couldn’t be sure. Damascus shook his head, pawed the ground. I noticed he was standing on solid ground. “I’ve heard of these sorts of problems, but I’ve never come face to face with such things. Voices, you say? Nasty ones?”

“Yes, nasty. Very nasty. Calling me all sorts of names. Stupid. Liar. Traitor. Crazy. Bad. Scaredy-brat. Even worse names and screaming in voices I recognize. Mother. Father. Friend. Teacher. Are you listening to me, Damascus?”

“Perhaps you need to clean house before those voices will disappear. It’s been said that one can’t carry old baggage in Lemuria, because there’s too much new baggage to carry. See those mining tools next to the brush. There’s our new baggage.” Damascus turned his head away, reached for a bit of grass and chewed it.

“But I don’t understand. Damascus, you aren’t making sense.”

“Dear, give up those voices. Throw off those names. Too much baggage, understand?”

I closed my eyes and underneath my voice I began to chant. I am good. I am smart. I am brave. I chanted over and over until I started to believe what I was saying. “I understand now, Damascus, about the voices. I can make them be still and disappear. I am in charge of what I hear, of who I am. Is that what you were trying to teach me?”

“Yes, Dear. A good lesson learned.”

“But the quicksand? I still can’t move.”

Damascus shook his head and snorted. He looked me straight in the eye. “Are you sure that old baggage is gone? Its weight can take fast hold of you, make you unable to go forward. You won’t be able to make progress until you forgive the past, focus on the present and plan for the future.”

“Those are pretty philosophical words from a donkey’s mouth,” I couldn’t help saying that, but he didn’t seem to hear me. Or did he?

“Yes, indeed. I’m a pretty philosophical fellow. If only you keep listening, we’ll get along fine. By the way, how are your feet?”

I lifted my right foot, then my left. “They’re free. Oh, Damascus, you know the answers. You’re wonderful.”

“Aw, Dear. Not wonderful. But perhaps old donkeys become wise, forever traveling strangers through this mysterious land. Now to be certain you’ve shrugged off those voices for good, open your bag from le Enchanteur and take out the little anchor.”

“And just why do I need an anchor in the middle of this country. I see no water anywhere.”

“And you’ll need no water for this anchor to do its job,” sighed Damascus just a bit. “Throw this net, yes it’s invisible but it will do, over the remains of the voice-makers. Now fasten it to the earth with the anchor.”

I lifted the anchor, but I could only move it a fraction. Damascus helped nudge it with his nose and together we pushed the anchor into place.

“You needed a mighty heavy anchor to hold down those memories, Dear,” said Damascus, ” but this part of your journey is done. Now if you would please load that pack of tools on my back, we have many stops yet to make. Let’s be off.” Damascus smiled, though I didn’t notice. It’s hard to tell when a donkey smiles.

“Wait. Let me signal for Pigeon.” I whistled through my fingers and there was Pigeon, perched on Damascus’ back.

Damascus brayed and Pigeon hopped from foot to foot. “Now we shall follow Owl Road while it is still light enough to see. I’m starving and I know just the place to find a home-cooked meal. Let’s take the welcomes while we can, for soon enough we’ll be eating many a meal from a cold tin, and looking over our shoulders at every sound.”

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4 responses

7 03 2007
Heather Blakey

I looooooooooove how Donkey is encouraging you to make use of Enchanteur’s anchor. Well done Barbara. I can see that this is going to be quite a journey.

7 03 2007
Anita Marie

Great Read! I can’t wait for more
Anita Marie

7 03 2007
jan2

Excellent writing, wonderful dialogue, brilliant advice from Damascus and just amazing how the anchor comes to the fore and shows its worth.

7 03 2007
marimann

This is absolutely wonderful & I am enjoying every day & every adventure. I find I am looking forward to reading it every morning & looking for it before I even get my first cup of tea! (And that’s quite an achievement, Barbara!) Keep going & keep writing….

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