This post is a continuation of the post I wrote for Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt last week.https://beinginnatureblog.wordpress.com/2019/07/07/into-the-wide-blue-yonder/
This week’s #writephoto prompt – https://scvincent.com/2019/07/11/thursday-photo-prompt-castle-writephoto/
When she first crossed the bridge into the Wide Blue Yonder Janet Waybridge wandered as if in a dream. For some reason she couldn’t fathom the air on this side of bridge seemed clearer and the light looked brighter. She felt as if some veil that had forever shrouded her eyes had lifted and she was seeing the world anew.
The terrain on this side of the bridge was more hilly than the land around her old home. Little lanes twisted hither and thither across wooded hillsides and lush green valleys. As she explored them Janet would catch a glimpse of mysterious castle which seemed to hover on the still waters of a lake just a wee bit further on. Again and again she quickened her step believing that the lake would be just around the next bend. Again and again she discovered this was not the case.
Around lunch time she came across an old Inn in a wide valley beside a stream. A sign out the front advertised eat in or take away lunches. Pushing open the heavy wooden door Janet was greeted by gales of laughter coming from large tour groups gathered around open fires. She bought some soup and a sandwich from the self serve machine and made her way over the nearest group. Perhaps they knew something about the mysterious castle.
“Janet Waybridge,” cried a woman as she approached. “You’re last the person I expected to see this side of the river. What on earth are you doing here?”
Something about the voice stopped Janet in her tracks. That needling tone that made her doubt herself was all too familiar. It took a moment but the realisation dawned that the woman confronting her was Abigail Snide, the most popular girl from her high school years. The sickening feelings that Janet knew so well from that time swept over her in a wave of humiliation. There was something about Abigail and her questions that had always made her feel inferior and somewhat ashamed.
“My father died sometime ago,” Janet replied mustering as much dignity as she could. “The old house is for sale and I’ve closed the family business.”
“About time,” Abigail snarled. “That business of trolling the bridge and keeping people from doing what they wanted to do went on far too long. It was totally inappropriate behaviour for this day and age.” Her support group growled in agreement then they all turned their backs on Janet.
Standing there with her soup growing cold in hand and her pride in tatters Janet lost her appetite. She plonked the soup down on a nearby table, wrapped a napkin round her sandwich (perhaps she’d want it later) and fled.
All afternoon she tramped up and down hills. Sometimes she could see the castle but often she did not. It was late in day when she had an unimpeded view. She had climbed a steep hillside to an open clearing at the summit. The climb had winded her so she sat on one of the conveniently placed wooden seats and drank in the view. The castle, silhouetted by the setting sun, appeared luminous and not quite real. A deep feeling of calm came over Janet as she gazed upon it and she fell into a deep reverie.
Her private meditation was interrupted by the arrival of a tour group in a mini bus. “At least it’s a small group,” thought Janet as people began disembarking. After gazing at the view several members of the group broke away from the main group and came over to Janet.“Are you here from the meditation?” one asked. “We should be starting soon. Serena’s just taking a moment to open herself to the energies.”
Confused Janet explained that she simply resting on the bench after her long climb. It was just a coincidence that the group had arrived at the moment. “Serena says there is no such thing as a coincidence,” said a young bright eyed woman dressed in flowing boho clothes. “You must be meant to join us.” The other members of the group murmured their agreement and Janet found herself gathered up into their midst. They were very welcoming so she felt no need to rush off into the dusk.
“Isn‘t the castle beautiful in this light,” one said.
“It’s always beautiful,” said another. “I believe it to be Avalon and that the Holy Grail lies within those hallowed walls.”
“No,” said another. “It is the mythical land of Shangri-La, the place of peace and prosperity.”
“Perhaps it is Shambala, the mythical land of spiritual purity,” said yet another.
“Perhaps it goes by all those names or none of them,” said a quietly spoken old man in their midst. “Serena will guide us in meditation and lead us into an understanding of the wisdom she has received.”
As if on cue Serena gently clapped her hands and beckoned to her followers. Everyone moved towards her without hesitation. Those nearest to Janet urged her to join them. For a moment she felt drawn but at the last moment decided against it. Everyone in the group seemed so tuned in and spiritually aware. Beside them she felt too worldy, too earthy.
Tired though she was she continued on her way. Part way down the far side of the hill she was relieved to come across a humble hut where it was possible to stay. Other solitary travellers were already settling in for the night. They greeted Janet cordially but all seemed pre-occupied by their own thoughts. That suited Janet just fine. It had a been long day and she needed to process everything that had happened.
After a simple meal of the sandwich she’d saved from lunch and some dried fruit she’d bought with her she rolled out the swag she carried and laid herself down. Immediately impressions from the day tumbled into her mind. Abigail Snide’s jibes still nagged her. What right did she really have to be over here in the Wide Blue Yonder? After all she was the descendant of a long line of miserable, mean old trolls. Memories of all the nasty things her family had done and their horrible attitude crowded in on Janet. In many ways she still like that. She was quick to to judge others and had a nasty temper when roused. Those people she’d met at the summit were so gentle and spiritually attuned while she was coarse. They were far more likely to gain entrance to the castle than she. Perhaps the best thing to do tomorrow would be to retrace her footsteps tomorrow and go back over the bridge where she belonged.
Having resolved that she let herself drift deeper towards sleep. Strangely though instead of falling asleep she entered a golden numinous space where her mind, body and emotions were suspended – though perhaps transfixed was the more accurate word. In her mind’s eye she saw the castle again. Waves of energy seemed to emanate from it. Sweeping through her the energy dissipated all her doubts. The pull of the castle was far stronger than than the jeers of Abigail and her crew. It was so intense and compelling even the spiritual aspirations of the meditation group she’d met paled in comparison. It really didn’t matter what anyone else thought of her. Janet was going on. The Wide Blue Yonder with its mysterious castle called to her like nothing else in life ever had.