Pythian Games

put on your track shoes and write the miles

Posts Tagged ‘tunnels

The Portal In My Front Yard

with 3 comments

I went for a walk in my front yard, having my digital camera in one hand and digital video camera in the other.  There is a path of stepping-stones from the front porch to the ‘Alleged Cow Skull’-which is a whole ‘nother story for some other time.


This time I went out and noticed one in a straggling row of identical stones looked different, I couldn’t describe it, but it looked a little odd.   Of course, being a nosey parker, I had to go investigate.  As I got closer there seemed to be a shadow where there shouldn’t be one.  By the time I was standing on the stone next to the weirdo, I was very intrigued.


As I looked at it, it started growing, yes!  Growing!!  Soon it was large enough for even someone as round as I am to fit into comfortably, with a ‘what the hey’ shrug I carefully lifted the stone.


It weighed far less than I expected, no more than a fibreglass auto hood, something anyone could raise easily.  There was a tunnel under it, disappearing into darkness.  There was a spiral staircase leading down in to the shadows.


I popped back in the house and grabbed a flashlight, water and a couple bags of snacks; adventuring is hungry and thirsty work you see.  Pye and Skye were determined to go with me, despite being complete indoor cats.  The closest they get to the wilds is smelling the bottoms of our shoes.


So, there we went, slowly, with lots of stops for sniffings; once the light had begun to fade away I turned on my flashlight.  Then I could see the bottom of the stairway, a ring of seemingly identical doorways, carved out roughly.


I peeked in the first door, and backed away when I smelt a dreadful stench.  The second door was drip-drip-dropping, and there was a forest of stalactites and stalagmites stretching past my view.


The next doorway opened into a cave, with bed-like shelves carved in the walls, curtains made of animal hides, tanned to velvet perfection.  A fire burned by the far wall, which had doorways, and one of those showed an outdoor scene of surreal loveliness.


A desert scenario it most certainly wasn’t!  There were dense evergreens climbing a steep hillside, high-country grasses, and as a stunning backdrop, the green expanse of an enormous glacier.  I saw a movement, and two people entered the cave from a side doorway, ringed in handprints of rich red ochre.


“Ah, you are finally here!”  The male formed motioned to me to come over.  When I moved forward the cats stick close to my side, and their eyes checked everything out with great interest.


“I see that your familiars heard the call as well as you.  This is even better than I hoped!”  I knew that the man was not speaking any recognisable language, yet I clearly understood him.


“I am your very distant past, and you were called here deliberately.  There is something you need to find; it somewhere between my time, and your era.  I do not know what it is, I just know that you must find it.”


“Dear, can you not let the Lady sit to hear the whole tale?  She will be on her feet enough in her Search.”  The woman spoke, she was blessed with a beautiful alto voice, full of gentleness and humour.


“Ach!  I am so sorry my dear.  I was just so excited at the prospect of meeting a descendant I forgot my manners!”  The man motioned to an artful pile of furs, perfect for settling in for a long chat.


“Okay, you said I need to find an unknown something, in some other time than mine or yours.  Do any of us know why this is necessary?”  I pushed my glasses up my nose, and patted the furs as an invitation for Pye and Skye.


After a thorough and thoughtful smelling of the furs, Skye settled in, so picturesque against the black wolf skin.  Pye wasn’t quite ready to settle, so he contented himself by doing battle with the leg of a bearskin.


At that moment some other people entered the cave from outside, carrying a freshly killed something-or-other.  Trotting at their heels was a very wolfish pack of dogs, all yodelling excitedly.


Pye and Skye stood together hugely a-fluff and ready to fight these… these… canines!  Me, being a Universal Mom, stood in front of my cats, to defend them.


The Alpha female stepped forward, and sniffed me, and the air, and them she returned to the pack, her dugs swollen with milk.  She wuffed once, and a tumbling pack of fur separated into a pile of fat puppies, headed to Mom for some dinner.


I couldn’t help but chuckle and say to myself, “Plus ça change, plus ç’est la même chose.”


“Yes. Quite.”  How in the name of all the Gods that ever were and ever will be did this… this… caveman understand modern French?!  Yes he was every inch a caveman, and nothing like they show on TV or in movies.


All of them were blessedly well groomed, and not one of them had an odour.  One of the women was busily rubbing what seemed to be chalk dust into a stain on a fur garment.  When she finished shaking the dickens out of it, she picked up a dried teasel seedpod and began to brush the fur with it.


When all of the stain was gone, and the fur shone, she nodded her head decisively and sat that fur to one side.  She picked up another and I could see her sighing from all the way over where I was sitting.


“That must be her husband’s fur!  I recognise that, ‘How does he manage to do this?’ sigh.”


The woman laughed and spoke to the woman frowning down at the fur.  “This is your husbands’ sleeping fur, isn’t it Daryea?”


The woman laughed, and then spoke.  “Yes, how could you tell?”


It seems that some things shall always be the same!”


“Excuse me Callyea?”


“Our guest has been telling us of the future.”


“She has?  How does she know?”  Daryea edged closer, her deep-set brown eyes alight with curiosity.


She is the one we sought.”


“Ohhh…  May I have the honour of serving her?”

“I would expect none other to be capable of serving her properly.”

To be continued…

Written by gwenguin1

July 18, 2008 at 9:32 am


with 8 comments


I reach for a stone to drop down the well to check where the water level is.  The one I pick up is covered with seashell fossils from when these Ozark Mountains were under oceans millennium ago.  I place it in my satchel to add to the others I’ve collected.  It always amazes me that here, in the middle of the United States, there was once ocean.  Finding another plain stone, I drop it and listen.  No ‘splash’ of stone hitting water, but instead, the sound of ‘plop’ onto dirt.  OK, not a well but a tunnel as the stair-ladder indicates.  What else will I find?


Fixing the flashlight to attach to the side of my neck with the bandana I always carry and have used in this manner before, I free my hands for going down the narrow pieces of wood.  Turning around, I gingerly step backwards and down the first rung, using my arms to balance and thinking perhaps, I should get down on all fours and ease down.  I am no longer as agile as I once was.  I decide to use an overhanging branch as leverage to step down the second rung, then the third and fourth as I check for dry rot on each.  At last my hands can grab the wooden steps, trying to avoid splinters.  Finally my head drops below the level of the surface.  The flashlight shines brightly on the close earthen walls.


Ouch! What’s that?  My right hand gets cut as it moved to gain another purchase on the ladder.  An arrowhead!  When is this from?  I pry it out of the earth and examine at it.  As common as they are around here, I still thrill to unearth one.  Is it Osage, Caddo or Cherokee?  Hard to tell.  Could be from the very early days when many of the American Indian tribes criss-crossed this area either for hunting grounds or summer camps in the hills.  Or maybe from the Trail of Tears, or “the trail where they cried”, which passed through this area as over 1,000 Cherokees led by John Benge trudged through here in January of 1839.  I’ll put this into my satchel to check out later when I get back.



Finally I reach bottom.  I detach my flashlight from its cloth holder so I can maneuver the light better.  I fold up and place the bandana back into the satchel, then look around.  I’m standing in a dead-end of a tunnel that appears to slant downward from here.   


Do I dare go further?  I’m intrigued by all the recent TV programs on the Manhattan underground and London underground, and all the various tunnels for systems under cities for pipes, electric, water, sewer and subway systems.  Even underground cisterns as in Masada and New York City, and underground shelters in Roman times and in London in World War II – all fascinating!  Yet this is creepy, too.  Where does this lead?  What else is down here?  I think of all the stuff nightmares are made of: darkness, bugs, spiders, monsters, the unknown.  I think I should go back.


But what if it’s part of the Underground Railroad?  Or an escape route during the Civil War when the North/South line moved back and forth across this area?  I decide I’ll walk just a little further.


Cautious steps, one after the other, all going down a slight slope.  Something skitters nearby, causing me to stop as my heart pounds and I move my flashlight towards the sound.  It’s only a salamander.  How pretty!  It looks like a clown with those black polka dots on the bright orange smooth body.


A few more steps and I stop again as I hear another noise, but this sounds like water lapping softly onto the shore.  This intensifies as I continue along. 


Then I step into what appears to be a large cave with a rock ledge running along one side and expanding past a pool of water that is mostly calm but with just enough motion to create the lapping sound.  Is water flowing in?  I watch, but the water isn’t rising.  Maybe it is flowing in and out? 


Aiming the light so it follows the ledge out over the pool, I see some things piled there.  I climb up and walk out further a bit on the solid ledge.  An old bashe-in tin cup, maybe for getting pool water to drink?  Someone hiding out waiting to connect up with the Butterfield Stagecoach, which passes nearby?  Back here, near the rock wall, a pile of feathers interspersed with bits of disintegrating cloth… no, it’s burlap sacking.  Maybe this had been someone’s sleeping pallet… for a slave dreaming of freedom?  for a soldier dreaming of peace?  for a settler dreaming of escape?   


And of what do I dream as I stand here in this tunnel of history?  Of the interconnectiveness of all things, the ebb and flow of life, the weaving of patterns, the wonder of it all.  But mostly, of the even bigger Wonder beyond it all!


My reverie finally breaks.  A little further along the ledge, I see a pile of charred wood and something half buried in the ashes.  How long ago was this fire snapping and crackling?  What’s this?  A partially burned wooden carved fish!  Symbol of Christians being here?  Fisherman?  Fish in the water? 


I go to the edge and peer into the deeper part of the pool.  Yes, I see fish swimming, but they seem to be moving with a purpose, as a school of fish, from left to right.  Is that how the current flows?  I watch closely.  Yes, it is.  Yet I don’t see an opening into the cave.  Must be underwater.  I’m not a very good swimmer.  I think I’ll turn back.  This has been adventure enough and gives me plenty to write about.


But where are these fish going?

Written by thalia

May 31, 2008 at 2:44 pm