Tinker Bell’s Flight Path to Earth
Tinker Bell’s Flight Path to Earth
I wished I could tell him how all things in nature are related, how we are all part of a larger pattern that is infinite. I wanted him to experience the ecstasy of a love that transcended the material world and encompassed multitudes of worlds. I wanted him to know how sacred every drop of rain, every blade of grass, and every leaf on every tree was. If only he could see the world, as I saw it, immersed in the warm light of heavenly love.
I tried to tell him these things and many more. He immediately sent me to a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with schizoaffective disorder. The doctor told me that my spiritual experiences, which I knew were real, were the result of a chemical disorder of the brain. I took the medicine he gave me but felt dead inside. The light which used to suffuse the world dimmed. I felt like I was in a dark pit. One night I flushed my medicine down the toilet. I never took it again.
All of this happened shortly after the death of our only daughter. We had taken her to the Amite River for an afternoon picnic. She wandered off while I was preparing lunch. My husband was up at the restaurant talking to his friend Bill. I assumed she was with him. When she didn’t come back for half an hour I got worried. I ran up to the restaurant and found my husband alone with Bill. The police came and searched the woods. A day later her body was discovered by a fisherman.
It was the anniversary of her death and my husband Jim took me to Arkansas for a vacation. He thought it would get my mind off her. He thought her death was what had caused me to go bonkers. But I knew that her death had only precipitated something which had begun a long time ago. I had always had a different way of looking at the world. The death of Alexis only made my feelings acuter.
I experienced the joy and pain of life more deeply than most. But this was not a curse. I truly did feel deep grief over my daughter’s death. However, that despair and the terrible pain had shocked me into a different way of living. I no longer took life for granted. I knew that every moment was sacred. Every breath was a blessing. I had learned so much from Alexis in her short life. She had taught me that the world was a place of beauty and light. How could I fall apart when I knew that Alexis continued on in the flowers, rivers, and stars in the sky? I felt my daughter’s pattern of energy every time I saw a child playing in the park. I knew that she was still a part of my life, even though her physical manifestation had dissolved.
We were camping at a place called Iron Springs. It was late spring and the mountains were blanketed in green deciduous trees. We were camped beside a clear cold pool of water. A small dam made of granite blocks created the pool. I was immersed in the pool and felt the cold water invigorate my tired body. I looked across the sparkling stream, through the gap in the trees at the small mountain, covered in green trees, with the clear blue sky above, with wispy cirrus clouds floating lazily overhead. It was late afternoon and the small canyon formed by mountains was covered in shadows. I smelled a fire burning from one of the campers.
I looked at the old van where the family was staying. The father was a tall man who wore suspenders and had thin brown hair. The mother had short curly hair and wore a plain light blue dress. The daughter was a senior in high school. The daughter whose name was Jennifer became my companion. She walked out on the dam in her bathing suit to sunbathe and found me squatting in the water.
I looked down into the water and saw the hundreds of round polished rocks, layering the bottom of the pool. I waved to her as she lay down on the dam. She turned and waved back at me smiling. She looked very much like I imagined Alexis would have looked had she lived to be a teenager. She said, “I saw a couple in a Lexus drive through and leave. Anybody who drives that kind of car must have an attitude. I don’t think they’d be happy here.”
I paddled my hand through the water as I lay back. I said, “Yea, I think they’re better off back in the city with flush toilets and air conditioning.”
She smiled and lay her head on the rocks of the dam propping her feet up and looking up at the sky. She lay there for over an hour and I watched the first stars emerge from the darkening sky. A cool breeze began to blow from the mountains and she left. I emerged from the water dripping and wrapped a towel around my shivering body.
I went back to the tent where Jim was. He was boiling potatoes on our gas camp stove. I sat on the picnic table by the stove and watched as he sat there. It was almost completely dark by then. He stood up from the table and lit the gas lantern hanging from the post.
Fireflies began to dance around us. I cupped one in my hand and watched it blink on and off with its strange greenish-yellow glowing tail. I released it and watched it fly upward into the trees. The wind was blowing colder by now. Jim looked over at me and said, “Alice, why don’t you change into your long johns? It gets cold up here at night.”
I went into the tent and changed. I walked out and Jim was ladling the potatoes out of the pot and putting them on plastic plates. He seemed irritated but didn’t seem to want to talk about it, so I didn’t pressure him too. He opened a can of sardines and put them on the plate by the potatoes. We sat silently eating as cars from the highway passed by their headlights flickering through the trees.
After supper, I sat by the spring looking at the path of moonlight across the rippling surface of the water. I sat there by myself. The other campers had gone to sleep. I thought about the times we had come here when we were dating. We would sit by the spring and tell ghost stories till late at night. Now we seemed too distant. I imagined that if I lived on another planet I couldn’t be further away from Jim than I was.
I went back to the tent and Jim was reading with a flashlight. I lay beside him and said, “Penny for your thoughts.”
He looked up from his book and said, “I think we should go back to Hot Springs soon.”
I lay on my side looking at him and asked, “Why so soon?”
He yawned and said, “I just think we need to get back to civilization. I’m getting bored.”
He turned out the flashlight and fell asleep. I watched him for an hour and then fell asleep.
I woke before dawn and sat out in front of the tent watching the sunrise over the mountains. The sky became illuminated with morning light as I sat cross-legged feeling the air around me grow warmer. Mist rose from the pool and rolled across the surface in cottony clouds.
I went into the tent and sat beside Jim. I spoke to him as he slept. I whispered, “Jim. Please try to understand. I’m not crazy. There is a level of existence beyond sight, hearing, or touch. There is a world of infinite beauty and wonder if you would only let yourself see it.”
He tossed and turned in his sleep. I touched his cheek and he yawned opening his eyes. He said, “Alice, were you talking to me?”
I snuggled close to him and said, “Yes. I was speaking.”
He asked, “What were you trying to tell me?”
I said, “I was trying to tell you what a beautiful morning it is and how you were missing it.”
He sat up saying, “Oh. Well you know I’m a late sleeper.”
I said, “Well sleeper awake.”
Jim got up and began reading again. I walked over to the van where the family from Iowa was preparing to leave. Jennifer was out cleaning the dishes from their breakfast. I walked up to her and said, “I’m going to miss you. We’ve only been here
three days but you made it so much fun.”
She said, “Oh, Ms. Thomas, you were fun to be with too. I never met someone like you. You’re a wonderful person.”
I hugged Jennifer. Then I walked through the quiet forest, down the path by the rocky stream. Moss covered the rocks and I could smell the rich earthy smell of the wet earth. I reached the small stone square from which the spring trickled. It was so peaceful here. I felt so close to the Goddess. My daughter would have loved it I thought. I could imagine her collecting rocks by the stream and playing in the water. I knew that in her short life she had seen the light of God. She was my moon child. She had been born during a full moon. I knew that she had special powers. She could sense what people were feeling. She seemed to know who to trust and who not to. I thought she had a gift. She knew when bad weather was coming before it came. She would warn me.
I took off my shoes and waded in the stream by the spring. There was a patch of mushrooms growing in the moss by the stream bank. I knew something about mushrooms and knew they were edible. I picked one and ate it. I picked the rest to give to my husband.
I carried them in my hands as I walked back down the trail to the tent. Jim was sitting at the picnic table sipping coffee. I put the mushrooms in a pile on the table by him. He looked at them and held them in his hand. He said, “Alice what are you doing with these?”
I said, “They’re edible and they’re delicious. Try one.”
Jim said, “Alice, how do you know they’re edible?”
I sat by him and said, “Oh come on honey, trust me.”
Jim poured his coffee out and said, “Alice I think it’s about time we went home.”
I put my arm around him and said, “Jim, I miss you.”
Jim looked at me sadly and said, “Alice, I wish things were better. I want so badly for you to get better. Why won’t you take your medicine? You were so much better on your medicine.”
I took my arm from his waist and put my hand’s palms down on the rough wood of the picnic table. I said, “Jim, I would rather be dead than take that medicine. I know you don’t understand. I don’t expect you to. Please try to respect me and my right to choose.”
I looked at a squirrel as it scampered up a tree and hopped from branch to branch. The sunlight was warm on my shoulders. Jim looked at me, and said, “Alice, I think we should consider taking some time away from each other.”
I took a deep breath and said, “Jim, I want to make this work. Please help me.”
A tear formed on Jim’s face. He said, “Alice, I don’t want to hurt you. But you’ve changed since Alexis died. I don’t feel I can reach you. You seem alien.”
His word cut me to the quick. I couldn’t imagine how I could seem alien to him. We had been married for five years. When we dated he spent hours talking to me and telling me stories. I didn’t know what to feel. Part of me still loved him. Part of me hated him. He took my hand and said, “Alice, I’m sorry. You are really special. I just don’t know if I can help you anymore.”
I said, “Jim, please let me help you. You are lost.
You dwell in darkness. Please free yourself from your illusions. The world is beautiful beyond the farthest reaches of your imagination. Allow yourself to feel the light which permeates all existence.”
Jim looked at me and shook his head. He packed the car. And we drove across the mountains. I told him, “Jim, I don’t want to be a burden to you. If you need me to go I will.”
As we drove down the road, Jim was silent. The road curved dipped and ascended through mountains, past barns, and stores. I looked at him as he gazed ahead at the road. I said, “Jim I know how much you miss Alexis. Remember that afternoon by the Amite River. The last afternoon she was with us? She seemed so happy.”
Jim nodded. I went on, “You know I really did feel pain when Alexis died. She gave me hope. She was the one who taught me about the infinite beauty of the universe. Every time she smiled I felt as though there was hope for a future. She was my moon child. She was special.”
Jim glanced at me. He said, “You never told me this. All you talked about was how beautiful the world was after she died. It was as though it didn’t mean anything to you. You seemed dissociated from everything. At the funeral, I saw you smile.”
I sighed. I said, “Oh Jim, you don’t know how much I missed her. There were times when I thought of dying myself so I could be with her. But I knew I still had a purpose here on earth to show you the way. Jim, just because I don’t express sadness, doesn’t mean she wasn’t important to me. It’s just that, she taught me not to be sad. Remember when her pet turtle died. She smiled and said he was going to heaven.”
Jim glanced at me again and said, “Alice, Alexis wasn’t a turtle. She was my daughter. I wanted to share my grief with you but you didn’t seem to feel anything.”
We passed through the forest. I said, “Jim I know you love me. I know you loved Alexis. I love you as much as you loved Alexis. You know I would have died for either of you.”
Suddenly I felt a deep welling of pain. Images floated into my mind of Alexis by the river that last time jumping up into my arms. I remembered how she tried to make brownies once when I was on the phone, and I found her with her face covered in chocolate. I was so mad at her.
Sometimes I felt I hadn’t really been a good mother to her. I wished I could have a second chance. I began to gently weep. This was the first time I had felt such pain in a long time. I whispered, “Jim, I know life can’t be painless. I want to understand you better. I want to meet you halfway.” Jim reached over and squeezed my hand.
He replied, “Let’s live together on this planet, the one we call home.”
“Your tinker bell is on a flight path to earth.”
“What is that light zigzagging across the sky? Looks like a UFO to me.”
“Now don’t you go calling me an extraterrestrial. My wings are metaphorical and don’t you forget it.”
“Maybe you could teach me how to grow those fairy tale wings.”
“A sugar cube dipped in LSD would do the trick but you might end up in the kingdom of permanent make-believe.”
We were coming down a mountain slope and entering a fertile river valley. The dark green alfalfa pastures on either side smelled of freshly mown hay. I saw a horse galloping through a field. For the first time in a long time, I realized that you couldn’t stay on the mountaintop forever. We entered Hot Springs rejoining civilization. I felt like a door had opened for me. On the other side was a mysterious world that beckoned me like a liberation. I could imagine Alexis giggling, her bright eyes sparkling in the moonlight in some celestial sphere.