I was wandering through the Harvest, Honey & Garlic Festival in Sussex County, New Jersey. The Festival was set in three green long barn style buildings. The buildings, in which the Festival was held, were the buildings that housed the livestock on display at the New Jersey State Fair and the Sussex County Farm and Horse Show in August of every year; however, today the buildings served as the home for the Harvest, Honey & Garlic Festival.
As I wandered through the Festival studying displays of the honey sellers (I can’t really call the sellers the producers of the honey, since the bees actually produce the honey), garlic growers, local photographs of the area and its wild life taken by local photographers, one local talented artist, Wolf Visions (a pro-wolf group) and a food stand, it became obvious to me that I was the only single person present and the youngest person without a parent present.
Attending events, such as this single, has its pros and cons. Some of the pros are that I can focus on what I am interested for as long as I want, converse about it with others who are interested, eat what I want, when I want and come and go as I please.
Some of the cons are that I share the experience, laugh, joke, observe, chat, discuss and hold hands with no one. For some events, I prefer the pros and for some the cons. I suppose these types of thoughts and feelings are the same for everyone.
The artist was an attractive, interesting young woman. When I first walked by the young artist, I studied all of her work. She had primarily prints on display at the Festival, but she also displayed several of her original paintings. Her prints and paintings were mainly of animals such as black bears and giraffes and birds of prey such as hawks and eagles.
The paintings were generally the portraits of a chosen animal or bird painted with soft colors, framed against softer colors allowing the portrait of the wild life to appear almost three dimensional against the softly painted background. This accentuated the majesty of the animal or bird allowing the painted life form to define the painting. Occasionally, the artist would contrast all the soft colors with a brighter color which further framed the animal or bird in a second tribute to the wild life’s majesty.
I found the portraits of the Eagles to be most compelling. I’ve always loved Eagles. Eagles have symbolized many concepts and many ideas throughout the course of human history. The Eagle is truly magnificent while soaring in majestic grandeur above the earth observing all below while appearing to be in transcendent solitude.
The Eagle is fierce and protective: the symbol of kings, kingdoms, governments and nations. When disorder rules, it is the solitary, magnificent Eagle, while viewing the earth from the Heavens, which possesses the awesome power to preserve or recreate the order of life below. I thought these thoughts while viewing the artwork of the young artist.
I then walked around the corner and up the next aisle and saw the Wolf. Yes, it was a live Wolf, but on a chain, acting more like canis than canis lupus. The pro-wolf gentlemen were “true-believers” promoting the concept that the Wolf is at one with its natural world and in harmony with its environment, as opposed to the Christian presentation of wolves as demonic creatures who ravish the souls of innocent sheep, perhaps a sheep like Little Red Riding Hood.
Wolves don’t really run, rather they float slightly above the Earth as spiritual entities appearing to us in grays, whites and blacks, the colors of the actions of men: good and bad, but mostly some mixture of both, or the actions of men: natural and unnatural, but mostly a mixture of both.
I was fascinated. Eagles and a Wolf in one unlikely place, speaking to me as they always have. The Wolf in a strange way directed me back to the Eagles
Thus, after leaving the wolf, I walked around the corner to again view the young artist’s presentation of her art work. She thought initially my reappearance was a lame attempt to flirt with her. I saw it in her eyes. I started talking anyhow, I said, “You know I walked up the next aisle and I saw the Wolf. Wolves have always been important symbols in my life. Generally, I think they are a very misunderstood animal.” She smiled and replied, “So do I.”
“The Wolf triggered my thoughts and feelings about Eagles which had been initially triggered by your painted Eagles.” I thoughtfully continued. “When I was in high school, I had a recurring dream about Eagles. Your paintings and the Wolf triggered thoughts of that dream.” She appeared startled and shook her head a little quizzically from side to side and smilingly said, “I believe in dreams.” I responded, “So do I.” She asked, ” Do you remember the dream?” I replied, “Yes.”
“Nightly, I stood with my arms stretched, reaching for the stars in the center, circular part of the lawn of the family home. The center lawn and I were separated from the other areas of the yard and the pathway to the house by the concrete driveway, moat like, which circled us. In the initial segment of every dream, I stood alone, isolated, immobile on the center lawn, believing all I needed was a draw bridge to join the rest of my world.
The concrete moat was where cars were parked and where people walked to reach the front door to enter the home or the front or back yards, all people, that is, except for me. Rather, I watched them: friends, roofers, plumbers, priests, doctors, lawyers, women and men of all races and creeds parking their cars and walking to the family home and entering it through the front door.
It was at this time that I began to become aware of the reality of my situation. It was not possible for me to cross the concrete moat. I could not even approach the moat. I could not have used a draw bridge, even if one had been present. I simply stood in that center lawn and watched all actions and activity stoically, with my arms extended, reaching for the stars. I realized every night at this exact point in the dream that I was not made of flesh and bone. I did not have tendons and moveable joints. I was a monument carved from pieces granite. I couldn’t cross the concrete moat because I was incapable of doing so.
Then from the Heavens in the night sky, Eagles, apparently having been watching me, would appear in attack posture, swooping effortlessly down towards me with their curved, razor-sharp talons ready to grasp me as if I were a piece of game to be killed and devoured, but contrary to their appearance, the Eagles never attacked me, and they never hurt me in any way. Yet, using their talons, they would remove pieces of my granite body and rebuild me into a different form of “me” using the same but now rearranged granite.
When the Eagles were finished rebuilding me, I would still be immobile, and I would remain so for length of the dream. Thus, in my dream, I could never cross the concrete moat and join my life. I could only cross the concrete moat when the Eagles had stopped rebuilding me, returned to the Heavens and the dream had ended.”
For many years, since the recurring dreams stopped, when I am driving a car in a particularly angry, confused, or ambivalent state of mind, I will look skyward and see my path of travel lined with various birds of prey. When this first started occurring, it frightened me. I even thought I might be hallucinating or perhaps, the only person who could see the mystical presence of the birds. How the birds made their presence known to me didn’t matter though because I saw the birds, whether in practical reality, hallucinating or through some form of mysticism, and as in my recurring dream of the Eagles, these birds of prey never attacked me. They simply gazed at me from there various perches. They seemed to be watching over me on my attempts to cross another of life’s moats, and I suppose, if needed, would rebuild me again.”