I took a long walk in a regional park last Sunday morning. The day had begun cool and foggy as it often does in the East Bay. Not many hikers or bikers were out on this usually well-populated trail, maybe because of the weather or maybe because it’s high summer and people are out of town for the day or longer. None of this mattered to me. I both wanted and needed the walk.
Not many birds or other mammals were about either. One turkey vulture swooped low overhead, but it was too foggy for high-flying hawks to hunt. I encountered an older man with a plastic bag filled with carrots and lettuce; he told me he was feeding rabbits. With his dog nearby, I doubted any rabbits would come to brunch, at least not until man and dog were long gone.
The wide trail wends through woodlands and hilly pastureland, and to the south lie a gulch and mostly dry streambed as we are in severe drought in California. I try to imagine the stream rushing over its stony bed, burbling its song, scouring its banks, and housing fish larger than a human fingernail.
About a mile or so into my walk, the strangest thing occurred. As an energyworker I’ve had a lot of experiences many people would consider strange, so when I say “strange,” you can bet the event is at the far edge of the envelope. In this case: I sensed a large herbivorous dinosaur walking next to me!
I don’t mean I imagined it. That is, it was not a product of my imagination. I perceived a subtle “ripple in the air” followed by a subtle shift in consciousness and a wobble in my grounding. All this occurred in fractions of a second.
In fairness, I must add that my 3-year-old granddaughter is currently experiencing dino mania, as many little kids do. Lately, dinosaurs are part of nearly every conversation with her, and she has dinosaur books and videos and a big, soft dino stuffy. But I wasn’t thinking about her or our conversations or dinosaurs in general on my walk, and even if I had been, could I really just conjure one up? And for what purpose?
Then, as if all this weren’t strange enough, the dino and I started conversing. I gathered it had stepped unexpectedly through a wrinkle in space-time and wanted help getting back to wherever it had been or belonged. This was my first encounter with a creature who had physically lived on Earth millions of year ago, and I suppose that should not have been any more astonishing than encounters with other kinds of beings on my interdimensional forays. But somehow, it was. I told the dino I would contemplate its dilemma and consult with my guidance to see how we might help it return through the wrinkle or wormhole or whatever doorway it had inadvertently passed through…
And suddenly I remembered my experience 5 years ago with the shaman at the lake...
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One night at bedtime I met a shaman near a desert pool in a journey-like landscape. The shaman told me to jump in the pool and swim through a tunnel to another pool where he’d meet me. I did, and he did.
The shaman pointed to a lake in the distance and said we were going to walk there. This time we set out together. I expected the walk to be long because the lake looked far away, but our travel went quickly and all at once we arrived. I thought to myself: Either I badly misjudged the distance or we passed through a wrinkle in time.
No space, no time here, the shaman responded to my thought.
At the lake I saw a very large fish break the surface of the water with its back, then dive under again. I say “fish” yet knew this was a marine mammal. It was too large to be a dolphin and too small to be a whale. I wondered what it was.
This is a creature time left behind, the shaman said, again reading my mind. And the lake is an evolutionary museum. Other such creatures are in the lake, he added. And they’re not all aquatic.
I wondered how many species lived in the lake, if “live” and “lake” are even the right words. And — wondering further: If the museum was an extinction archive, as the shaman indicated, were its exhibits nothing more than otherworldly taxidermy, or did seeds of life lie dormant like sleeper agents, awaiting the signal to reactivate? Could the exhibits — the creatures — be brought back to life as I know it?
But before I could ask such questions, I fell asleep.
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The shaman did not contact me again at bedtime (or any other time) for 6 months. Then he returned unexpectedly one summer night and took up where he had left off. I wondered — there I was wondering again — what “6 months” meant to a timeless being in a timeless realm.
We were at the lake again.
A special energy is kin to the lake, the shaman said. That energy feeds the creatures in the museum. It also protects them by fencing them in: they can’t stray because the energy beyond the lake doesn’t support them.
Abruptly the lake and surrounding shore glowed lemon yellow.
That’s it, the shaman said. The special energy… **
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I now find myself wondering: Did the dino escape from the evolutionary museum in the lake? That is, was there a breach in the special lemon-yellow energy “fence,” allowing the creature to slip through? Bizarre as this sounds, there’s a certain logic to it if you subscribe to my bedtime story at all. Alternately, the dino encounter could just have been idiosyncratic bleed-through between worlds. It happens.
This episode also caused me to consider more deeply the childhood fascination with dinosaurs. For sure, there’s an excitement around things that are scary — sharks, bears, and big cats fall under this umbrella too. But little kids are very open energetically, and it’s equally possible that, in the case of dinosaurs, children can perceive bleed-through between worlds, as I did that Sunday, on a routine rather than idiosyncratic basis, at least until they’re older and naturally begin to close down and/or such perceptions are dismissed by adults as flights of fancy.
All I can say is: I know what I saw and talked with on my walk.
** This is an excerpt from a longer story. For the entire piece, see “Bedtime Stories — And the Twin Earth?” in The Shards.