Daddy stopped by for a visit last night. He didn’t say much, but he did show me a few things.
We have three vehicles. Two are “real” vehicles, while the third is a bottom feeder that needs, and in will in no way pass, inspection. Which is due tomorrow. This is not open for discussion; we had the car checked out yesterday and the estimate to get the car past inspection THIS time (next time will require new brakes as well) is somewhere just shy of $1000. Car is worth about $250 as it sits. Daddy used to love to work on cars, trucks, boats, anything with an engine. In the past he could probably scrounge up some new tires, help with the engine work it needs, or find something suitable to replace the dead bottom feeder car without too much trouble or expense. But Daddy isn’t here anymore, so we need to make a decision about finding another bottom feeder car, and since I’m a bit testy with respect to encounters with folks on Craigslist right now-explain that one later-I’m not feeling all warm and fuzzy about seeking out another Craigslist bottom feeder.
Daddy was a master, a renaissance man, a genuine jack-of-all-trades. I have a friend that calls me the same thing occasionally, but she has no idea what a REAL renaissance (wo)man is in my estimation. Certainly not someone like me. I wish Daddy was still here to help me with the car thing, but he had something more important on his mind.
So, in the wee hours this morning, Daddy stopped by. Or it may be more accurate than I went to visit him. I didn’t actually see him because the place I went looking for him is one that he stopped frequenting long before he left us.
When I was in middle and high school, my mom and dad purchased a cabin on the New River. It wasn’t an old rustic cabin; it was a newly constructed outer shell of a partial a-frame cabin, with a small living / dining area, kitchen, bath and one bedroom on the main level, plus a loft. That picture isn’t it, but it was the best example I could find on short notice. I was twelve years old when they bought it, and I hated it. We were there almost every weekend. Mama and Daddy were finishing the inside; I was pouting because I was the only person there under the age of 18. It was at the end of a dirt road that followed the river for a mile or so, then headed up the hill and overlooked the river for the rest of the way to the end of the road, where our cabin was. There were a very few other newly-constructed cabin shells for sale on that dirt road, and a few cabins that other folks had built themselves. One was an old split rail schoolhouse that the owner had moved from somewhere else and reconstructed. He and his wife became my parents best friends, and we all missed them terribly when they passed away. When Daddy first got sick, he tried to keep the cabin up to snuff, keep the grass mowed, the road passable…stuff like that. When his friend also became ill and eventually died, and Daddy got sicker, the work became too much and he and Mama decided to sell the cabin so they could concentrate on Daddy’s health, and just spending time together while they could. I’m pretty sure the cabin was overgrown for quite a while. (Next picture is only an example as well…..I do have real pictures, but they’re down two flights of stairs in a closet filled with hundreds, maybe thousands of pictures. Again, short notice.)
Hubby and I had been talking about the cabin a couple of days ago; I can’t even remember why now. There was a small community of landowners there, but it was just a dirt road with a farm gate across it, secured by a Master lock that was changed maybe every two years. Perhaps we found one of the old keys over the weekend; that may have started the conversation about the cabin. OH! I just remembered….Daddy and his friend used to go hunting, or wandering in the woods or whatever, and they found tons of Indian arrowheads and other artifacts. We were talking about that.
Anyway, this morning in my dreams, Hubby and I decided to drive to the river. Funny, we had a dependable car! I just wanted to see the cabin. None of the people we knew back then lived in any of the little cabins on the dirt road now. Actually, the dirt road was gone. We drove over the crest of a hill and came down the other side, toward the river.
What we saw was a upscale neighborhood, complete with golf course, several rows of 3000-4000+ square foot “cabins” with multiple hip roofs and three-car garages. Evidently it had been raining, a lot, because the water hazards on the golf course were all flooding into each other, running downhill toward the river. As we continued to drive down the hill, we reached what used to be the dirt road. It was a very nice four-lane paved road. More large houses, expensive cars, children playing in back yards. We turned right onto the dirt road highway, headed toward what used to be the end of the road where our cabin was. A new house had been built next to the site where our cabin had been, and the owner raised dogs. Big dogs. Big, angry dogs, like pit pulls and dobermans and such. The owner stopped us and wouldn’t let us drive past his house to see what had become of Mama and Daddy’s cabin. He said something about the dogs, and the neighbors not liking them, and his not wanting us to see anything about what his breeding operation really looked like. I could barely see through the trees past his house to the spot where the cabin had once stood. Another large house. Oh well.
We turned around and headed back to the intersection where we’d come down the hill past the golf course. There was a community center building there, a very nice one. There were also lots of cars in the parking lot. Across the street from the center was a pier that extended out into the river, and on the pier was a glass-enclosed observation area that you had to walk through to get out onto the pier. Think “worms and coffee” at your favorite fishing pier, only with no worms, no coffee…just tourists. And they were all crammed inside the observation area, because the river was raging, flooding, completely covering the pier. We looked through the glass, then turned back to the community center and decided to find out what everyone was discussing there, for there were many more cars than there were tourists in the observation center.
As we entered the community center, we noticed that yes, indeed there were a great many people in very heated discussion about something. We sat down in the back and listened, and the subject soon became very clear. The dog breeder was being evicted from the community. He was a little rough around the edges; his dogs were potentially dangerous. They were a threat to the citizens of Cabin-town, particularly to the children. He had to go. Period.
My mind started to wander and then glaze over. I glanced around the community center and saw that, above the main floor, there was an “historical” display of artifacts from the early days of the cabins on the dirt road. Most of the artifacts consisted of intricately carved wooden chairs, tables, lecterns. They were behind red velvet ropes. They were special, not to be touched or used. Only to be admired from the other side of the velvet ropes.
And I knew my Daddy have carved every single one of them.
The thoughts started coming together in my head. This community was supposed to be an escape from what it had become, a bureaucratic mish-mash of rules and regulations and prejudices. I was furious.
But the thing that I was most furious about was the historical display. Those chairs, sitting empty and untouchable, were what finally pushed me to the breaking point. I stood up and introduced myself as the daughter of the master craftsman who had made those beautiful objects that no one was allowed to use or even touch. And the words started coming out of my mouth, and they didn’t stop: “What happened to you people? Don’t you see that you’ve created exactly what the original owners of the little cabins you’ve torn down so you could build your mansions were trying to ESCAPE from? They were looking for a respite from the daily ins and outs of life in the late 20th century, and you’ve created a 21st century nightmare? Look at the river-it’s angry, it’s out of its banks. You can’t enjoy it. You have to look at it through glass. Is that working for you? And your flooded golf course. Doesn’t that frustrate you to no end? You can’t use it, only look at it.
“But what angers me more than anything is that ‘historical’ display up there. Don’t you know who made those things? MY DADDY. And he made them to be USED, not to be admired from a distance.”
And before anyone could say another word, we left, my heart broken for what had been, and was no longer. I woke up.
Sometimes when God speaks, when the universe acknowledges the seemingly insignificant feelings we have, we hear whispers.
Other times we’re being shouted at, and we are too occupied to stop and listening. Or we outright refuse to listen.
Either way, the message is important and if we don’t listen to it now, it’s just going to come around again, and again, and again….
So, here’s what I’m hearing. It might be right; it might be completely off the mark. Either way, it’s important.
First and most importantly, Love Never Dies. No matter how badly I mess things up, make mistakes, hurt the ones I love the most-intentionally or accidentally-the ones who truly love me, still love me. I have value in this world, because I am a child of God, of the universe, of creation. And I was created for a purpose.
The cabin shell: the structure of who I am is sound. It is most definitely overgrown. There are weeds that need to be pulled, and quickly, because time is fleeting.
The ostentatious mansion: Sometimes I think I’m supposed to be that kind of person. This whole music business thing, for instance. I’m supposed to be Juliard-stamped and approved. But what I think is not what is true.
Here’s what is true: I have a purpose, and it’s high time I get to it. It may be music; it may be something hovering on the outskirts of music, or it may be something totally unrelated. But it’s there, currently placed behind the red velvet ropes, untouchable. It’s probably going to be difficult to get my hands on it until I STOP trying to. It’s like the blind spot we all have. Try to see it, right now. Hard to find? But just wait until you’re driving in traffic this afternoon. That blind spot will be camouflaged, but the minute you try to change lanes it will became glaringly obvious, as will the horn honking at you from the car you just jumped in front of because….it was in your blind spot.
The universe didn’t just whisper; it screamed.
But the blind spot isn’t a good example. I have a better one. Yes, the blind spot is there and we don’t notice it when we want to because, duh, it’s a blind spot. But when we stop looking for it, sometimes it will appear, seemingly out of nowhere, and we will be stunned by the beauty of it, the “right-ness” of it. And we’ll know that it was there all the time. We were just looking for it a bit too hard.
So, I’m going to stick with the cabin metaphor and show you what I think I’ll find, just as soon as I stop looking for it.
Now that I think about it, I’ll bet that’s what the cabin in my dream, the one that I couldn’t see because of the angry dog breeder and his dangerous pets wouldn’t let me, REALLY looks like. Slightly camouflaged, because it was designed to fit effortlessly into its surroundings.
I’m not saying that the construction of Falling Water was effortless, because I’m married to a Frank Lloyd Wright aficionado, and I know better. What I am saying is that the amount of effort it took to make Falling Water look like it magically appeared out of the earth was worth it.
Stop looking and start making some effort. And let the magic of Falling Water appear.