Blocked. The words stopped coming. My muse had left me. Too much time in front of the computer.
“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart,” encouraged William Wordsworth nearly three centuries ago. I couldn’t think, let alone breathe. Good old Willy was such a romantic. Everything probably looked and sounded better on parchment in quill ink.
I decided to head out–anywhere but here would do a girl a world of good. I didn’t really have a destination in mind as I pointed my car west and somehow ended up in RedwoodPark.
It was a weekday and there weren’t any other cars around as I pulled into the lot. “Good,” I thought, “people-free solitude.” It was unseasonably warm and the sunny, crystal clear day was already clearing my head.
I started to hike down the paved trail and as I descended deeper into the woods, I could feel a sense of calm and release creep over me. Nature is a healing balm. In spite of the lack of a truly wet winter, the forest was verdant with massive ferns and moss-robed redwoods. A gentle trickle was even flowing in the creek. The air was redolent with the musky smell of damp earth and sweet decay of fallen pine fronds which enraptured my senses. Dappled light was scattering through the canopy above sending shadows pirouetting across my path. What splendid idyll. I picked up my pace and started to jog.
All my tension fell away as the freedom of the spaciousness liberated my psyche. Energized, I was now in full gallop (Ping, my Chinese neighbor, branded me a horse when I run). Then I heard them, the sound of footfalls in the distance behind me. I looked back. Nobody. “Maybe it’s my echo,” I pondered. Undaunted and with cheetah-like stealth I pressed forward deeper into the trail, finally finding my rhythm.
Soon I reached the spot where the trail narrows and wends its way up and down along steeper slopes. A challenge but I felt like I was capable of moving the world. Suddenly, there it was again. Someone was pacing me only this time heavy breathing joined the running feet. My pulse quickened as my adrenaline surged and then I felt it. My spine tingled as a shiver coursed from my sacrum to the top of my head as the realization hit me, “I’m not alone.” “Just keep going,” I urged as I ramped up my pace until I felt like I was flying, flitting through the trees like a woodland sylph. Still, I was being pursued.
In my distracted state I lost my footing when a tree root popped out of nowhere stopping me short. I was falling, then not. I felt a pair of strong arms around my waist arresting my descent to the muddy trail. I struggled to free myself to no avail. Warm hands spun me around without letting go. What my eyes beheld left me in rapturous awe, a man with the visage of a Mayan god.
He wore the most intriguing medieval-looking carved amulet at the base of his throat secured by a leather lanyard. From the curve of his nose, broad forehead and honeyed, brown-sugar tone of his skin to the fullness of his lips and rock-solid body that was now firmly pressed against mine, this image of masculine beauty indicated a regal lineage and made me think one of two things had happened:
I had died and gone to heaven.
I hit my head in the fall and was having the most pleasurable, exotic dream of my life.
“You’re hard to catch, like a feather blowing in the wind,” he spoke.
Guess I wasn’t dead.
“Are you okay?” he asked. On reflex, I touched his face.
He was real…..perhaps I’m not dreaming either.
I faltered. “Um. I am now,” I nearly whispered as I searched his sable-brown eyes for encouragement… Captivated by the weight of his stare, I began to catch a glimpse of what I thought was his soul. All at once it felt as if we were suspended between the earth and sky at the edge of the treetops. Like an ancient purifier of silver, his steady gaze plumbed the depths of my very being until what I saw was not his soul but my own mirrored in his eyes. In that instant, we were enveloped by a swirl of amazing images of past lives and people cascading and crashing around us. A gifted alchemist, he conjured and quelled a range of emotions. Wave after wave of where I’d been and where I was going was roiling like a storm-driven sea rendering me utterly breathless. As if he’d been sent to share one simple phrase he told me, “You have an incredible energy.”
It all seemed to last forever but was likely only a moment. When I came to, the paramedics were hovering over me. “You took a pretty nasty fall there Miss.” “I did?” I wondered aloud. “We’re going to take you to the hospital just to get you checked out as a precaution,” they told me likely to soothe my confusion. As they loaded me into the ambulance, I could hear hurried voices. “You the one that found her?” someone asked. Then, a CALFIRE technician scrambled into the back with me. He was the Mayan god….clutched in my hand was the amulet.