Last night, between 10pm and 11pm, I sat on my back porch and watched the free light show offered up by Mother Nature. The rain had ended and what remained was a quite spectacular show of all types of lightning - field, streaks, and occasionally an entire sky of light and fire and surreal power. On those occasions when the entire realm it seems was showered in bright and electrifying light, I scanned (as quickly as possible) for the open spaces through which one can possibly see beyond this world, if indeed those open spaces are there and one can actually see to through them.
I've always been fascinated by the idea that there are portals here and there where it might be possible to escape over to another world, again assuming there is one out there. Not another world in the sense that somewhere in the myriad of galaxies and milky ways that there might be another "earth" where an orb has been placed just far enough away from or close enough to a star the likes of our "sun" so as to provide life as we know it here. The portals I speak of are entries into another realm that may be neither here nor there, but is very much as this place, while possibly being an entirely different one.
Opportunities to cross over usually (allegedly) happen at special places and at special times, places like Easter Island or the Mayan Temples in Mexico, or Stonehenge, and times like the changing of the seasons, the solstices and equinoxes (a favorite subject of this blog), or the other cardinal points of a calendar, which fall between these abovementioned more familiar ones, being May Day (or May Eve), All Hallows Day (or the more familiar night before, Hallowe'en), Mid Winter's Day on February 1, or Lughnasadh, or La Lunasa, coming up at the close of this month. A familiar reference to such a time is found in Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act III, Scene ii, where Hamlet speaks
"Tis now the very witching time of night, When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out Contagion to this world: now could I drink hot blood, And do such bitter business as the day Would quake to look on."They may be when people are at that final wayfaring point in their lives, ready to shuffle off their mortal coil and move over to the next adventure. There have been books written and shows made of the tales of such folks who believed they've been over to the other side, wherever that other side may be.
Then there are also the fictional accounts of otherworldly places, places such as Glastonbury Tor in England, made real for me, already an ardent follower and believer in the Arthurian Cycle, in the book The Mists of Avalon, a 1982 tome by Marion Zimmer Bradley whose bookcover is at right, which is one of my favorite reads, although I have not revisited its pages on many years. The phenomena allowing such cross overs are usually to be found in nature. Every now and then we read of some religious person seeing the face of Christ or of Mary as the clouds are parting on a beautiful morning. Or they occur on those occasions which could play as the setting of any one of those old stories starting with the words "It was a dark and stormy night . . . "
As you may recall, last night was one of those, as a strong thunderstorm raced through Louisville between 9:30 and 10:00 with winds gusting up to about 25 mph, lowering the temperature to around 73 degrees, and then moving on to other places.
Before the storm, I had left off having coffee along Bardstown Road with my friend and a friend of his, a young lady named Rikki who is making her way in the next couple of weeks to the University of Tennessee for her second year, where she is to study French and World Business. Her trip to Knoxville will take her first to Lexington, then Pittsburgh, the District of Columbia, and finally southward to Knox County, Tennessee, home of the Volunteers. She had summered in Paris - theirs, not ours - where among other things she studied American ex-patriot writers, giving me the chance to ask her if she had "had a coffee along the Left Bank?" to which she answered "yes." She had in fact studied and written about Ernest Hemingway, including the reading of The Sun Also Rises, which is featured from time-to-time here in the postings along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606. As I reported later to my friend (who was her friend), she was charming and I was charmed. When I was twenty, most of the young women I knew had never summered in Paris - not even ours - nor were they studying anything other than English or History, if anything at all. There were a few exceptions - one of them went on to become a middle school principal and another became a Chamber of Commerce type, while still yet a third to no one's surprise simply married an older rich doctor of Indian or Pakistani descent, which was rather more unusual then than it seems to be now.
Our little kaffeeklatsch ended as the rain started and I made my way home.