Sunday, March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day is the day it starts.
Right thereon the Seattle beach with the scent of spring in the air.
Since the afternoon is pleasant, the sun shining, Kewe slips into his
car, drives out to the waterfront. He strolls along the breakwater, listens
through earphones to a small radio attached to his waist pouch. A sultry
guitar piece is being played.
From his vantage point he can see far out towards the west. Layers of
snow on the Olympic Mountains. The lower forests thick with hemlock and
To the north, on a relatively thin strip of land, dominate the skyscrapers.
Squeezed between a large freshwater lake to the east, and a larger saltwater
inlet on the west, “Tzee-tzee-lai-itc,” had been the name for the hilly area
before, and at the time of Chief Seatchhh`l.
When new people began arriving, Chief Seattle, knowing he could not
stop the invasion, negotiated. The settlers drew up treaties, and then ignored
the treaties. They did rename the newly built township after the Chief.
In the past century, with the influx of many peoples, a center of concrete
and glass has risen. Long gone are the forests that once covered the thin
strip of land. The city now teems of varied folkand the ghosts who live
here, live side by side with the corporal bodies in Tzee-tzee-lai-itc.
“The little place where one crosses over.”
Walking along the beach, Kewe is enjoying the music, until the radio
buzzes. He thinks at first it’s static from the station, but he can hear a
man’s voice. The man talking to someone is saying he’s been outside the
body. “I kept thinking I should be inside my body,” the man says. “I was
bouncing against the ceiling. I thought it was the beginning of the dying
process. I was terrified, feeling for sure this was going to be the end for me.”
Kewe tries to return to the music station only the waist pouch hampers
his access, he can’t quite reach the buttons with his fingers. “I think it’s a
terrible thing to fear death.” The man has a gravelly voice. “When I was on
the ceiling, the fear became all too real.”
About to punch the button to change the station, Kewe stops. He’s
always been interested in out-of-body traveling. From when he’d first read
it was possible, that people could do it, he’d wanted to try.
Listening to the man talking, Kewe thinks about the humming and
buzzing he hears in his head. A high-pitched whine will block his ears, it’s
as if he’s going up a mountain, or descending on a plane. The sound will be
in his head for a minute or less, and there never seems to be a reason for it.
If he’s lying in bed when the roar begins, he will concentrate, try to make
it last longer. If the humming or the buzzing increases, he moves through
the sound. It seems to take him ever so slightly away from his body.
“I’ve seen the sense of bewilderment and shock that some people have
after physical death,” the man continues. “Often people do not know they
have died. They have this other body. It looks like the human body and
it confuses them. People need to know this.”
“Do you think it is possible to travel to other planetary systems while
you are in a second body,” the radio interviewer asks.
“Yes, I believe we can be hundreds, or millions of light year’s distant,”
Kewe hears the man say. “There are no signs that point the way. You have
no idea where you are.”
“Sir, it sure is a pleasure to have you on the show,” the interviewer
responds enthusiastically. Then as a pre-announcement to a break, “If you
call....” The interviewer’s voice blares into Kewe’s ears. “Call, and you will
get the information you need. Get a pen ready, now.”
Kewe searches his pockets to find a pen. He has no paper, but to be
certain he remembers he writes the number onto his palm. Finding a scrap
of paper on the beach, he scribbles the number on that.
The commercials over the man returns talks about a retreat center and
tapes for purchase that have sound pulses. Kewe has cassettes that induce
hypnosis but his gut is telling him this might work better. The sounds he
hears he knows are not from an external source, even though his brain
records the hearing. He wonders if sound can activate a second body.
Another break and Kewe pulls the plugs from his ears. He’s been doing
mind travel for years, but complete separation he’s never been able to do.
He’d love to find himself bouncing around the ceiling. This man could do
it. He sensed that. In the strangest way, he knew that.
He stops to watch a large ferryboat plow across the waves. Watching
the vessel pass by, he can see a seal troop bopping in the water near the
ferry. At the stern rolling across the bowline white surf foams, some of the
seals have moved into the surf, peeking their snouts above the white.
The program continues with more talk of dimensionsstates where
time is different, or is no longer measured. He hears of places were we rest
and become orientated after death, way stations where people gather.
“I have a faxed question,” the interviewer says. “In your travels, have
you ever met anyone who is not human?”
“Yes, I have,” the man replies. “I’d say we are a species on a spectrum.
A range of qualities continues when we are no longer in a physical form.
Much of life exists only in light, and much exists only in thought. There is
existence we cannot hope to understand that is beyond thought.”
“Sir,” the interviewer’s voice quiets. “As we near the end of our show,
I have to ask. Do you think your experiences have led you to a better
understanding of a supreme creator, of a God-like super being?”
The man pauses for a moment as if to try to phrase the answer in a form
that might be acceptable. “I have begun to understand that Earth’s life
system is a created process,” he responds carefully. “I have never faced
God, but energy fields flow from a higher state. These fields allow creation.
They allow even the human mind to act as a creator.”
“Many people fear death.” Kewe can imagine the interviewer going
through sheets of fax papers being given him. “Would you tell people out
there not to be afraid? Would you say that death is not the end?”
“What I will say,” the man replies, “is that I have begun to understand
there is a quality to who we are that we do not realize. We are a growing
new personality. We are at the beginning. Being human is only one state.
After death, if we choose we can begin to explore all the many states that
are beyond, beyond being human. When we no longer have a physical
body, when we have this other body, we can be amazingly versatile.”
He adds, “I have seen openings where beings wait to go into an inner
reality. It is like an aperture. To slip through into this advanced inner state
we have to be in some way complete. I’d say therefore, that activity in the
physical life has much to do with our life beyond. The remarkable thing is,
once we know dying is not the end then everything becomes possible.
Chances for progress exist in all the realms for us to take, many we do not
take due to fear. When we open ourselves to the idea we are on a path that
continues, this brings a whole new meaning to our life spent here.”
When Kewe gets home, he writes the telephone number he jotted down
onto a notepad by the phone. He adds a note: “Out of Body call soon.”
But he doesn’t call. “Yeah, I will,” he mutters each time he looks at the
note. “Yeah, I have to do that.”
Days later he wakes from a dream. Stumbling towards the bathroom,
he can see little fish swimming around his head. Once he notices the fish
aren’t fish, and he’s looking at floating letters that seem to be chirping, he
tries to decipher the letters. He swears he reads:
He calls the retreat center.
. . .
The lady on the East Coast phone is perky. Kewe on West Coast time
is still mostly asleep, but she’s concise: “Sound pulses recorded on the
tapes do enhance the ability to move outside the body.”
He presses one of the pictures, a photo-image of him when he is
very small. Computer script comes rolling down and a door
opens. He must be only two. He’s laughing, running around and
he knows he is making his mother laugh. The little child looks
back at his mother to see if she really is watching him. She is
The movie clip ends. New script comes rolling down the screen.
Immediately he recognizes the ship he took with three of his
friends. He was a teenager, on a trip to South Africa.
The screen goes blank, and waves of electric energy surge through
him. Most people have no idea how to open these buttons he
New icons start to appear. One in particular sends a chill up his
spine. He presses the button and here on the screen is a stack of
modern buildings. Wind is blowing. Sand is tearing into people
who are wandering around scavenging for food. Everyone’s face
is heavily covered with cloth.
The screen is flashing and he sees himself in some sort of box.
Wood surrounds him. He watches himself pressing, trying to
push himself into the wood. He’s telling himself there’s a problem
because he cannot pass beyond the wood. He can touch the wood
but he cannot go through it.
Kewe moves fretfully in the airline seat. He lurches and wakes, listens
to the drone of the engines. Looking at his watch, he’ll be arriving soon.
. . .
“We have eighteen people signed for the week’s retreat,” Eric says,
opening the closet. “That’s eighteen including Charl and me.”
“The other facilitator. Charl and I don’t live here. We fly in like you do.”
Eric looks around. “Everything seems to be in order.” He opens the closet
door. “Let either of us know if there’s anything we can do.”
“I will,” Kewe smiles. He stands looking at two cubicles, at enclosed
beds just like ship’s berths.
Opening another door on the far side of the room, Eric is pointing down
a long corridor. “The bathrooms are this way.”
Kewe follows him, peers down the empty corridor.
Finished with showing him around, Eric is now standing by another set
of stairs. “Please come and join us below when you are ready. This stairway
is an entrance into the lounge. We have drinks and refreshments waiting.”
“Thank you.” Kewe watches the briskly disappearing Eric. “I will.”
With the doors of his room closed, Kewe looks around him. One half
has enough space for a table, two chairs, a closet and a chest of drawers.
The other half has the two, built-in sleeping cubicles.
The sleeping enclosures have wood paneled walls on three sides. The
paneling on the open sides extends from the ceiling a couple of feet, maybe
a couple of feet wide all the way to the floor on the head-side of the beds.
The open areas, where you get inside, have colorful, cotton curtains folded
back, attached with cords, ready to be let down for privacy.
They do look like ship berths, Kewe thinks, except not the four-berth
bunks, two beds on each side of the cabin, as he shared on the voyage to
South Africa. For a brief moment, he remembers the dream on the plane.
As Kewe peeks inside a cubicle, he sees placed upon the pillow a
headphone with its wiring neatly tied. Attached to the inside side paneling
is a board with an assortment of electronic switches. There’s a headset plug
and a small inset speaker. It looks to him as if the sound tapes are relayed
to these individual units through an electronic central feed.
Moving closer to check out the switches, Kewe feels a faint breeze
wafting through, gently cooling his skin. Fresh air is filling the cubicle.
It’s country air, but there is more here. There is energy here. The
atmosphere is charged inside the cubicle. As he steps back and begins
unpacking, excitement creeps over him. An energy field touched him
inside that cubicle. There was a charge. An oddness passed through him
like something, something he’s felt in the past if he can only remember.
Before going downstairs he needs to clean up, take a shower. Towel in
hand he opens the door to the corridor, he can hear voices coming from
below. Peeking over the top of the banister, seeing the stairs that lead into a
downstairs lounge, suddenly the realization hits him that he’s going to
have to talk and meet with these people. Kewe never a social animal is
beginning to connect that the retreat is not just for him, it means being with
numerous strangers for a week. Did he really set this up for himself?
He picks a bathroom. Finished with the shower he hangs his clothes.
After filling drawers, unpacking everything, there’s nothing remaining to do
and he’s standing waiting at the head of the stairs. The sound of raucous
laughter drifts up from below. Taking a deep breath he slowly treads down
the stairs into the room. Eric spots him first. Eric is sitting at a large round
table with a bunch of people. “Hey, welcome to the party,” Eric leans back
on his chair. “Goodies are on the counter over there.” He points to a table
filled with rows of decanters and dishes.
Kewe nods. The table is on the side of the lounge that, thanks to glass
doors and two full-sized picture windows, has a panoramic view. A veranda
runs the length of the building, and the view beyond fills the room with
trees and fields and mountains.
“We’ve been praising the water,” Eric calls over to him. “We have our
own supply from the well. The taste is great but we’re not sure if we’ve
decided what it gives you.” He lets out a long belly laugh.
Kewe smiles, not knowing what to say. Fortunately, the veranda door
opens and a woman enters. She takes one look at Eric and at Kewe’s
bemused face, and almost as if she’d been listening, says, “Eric will tell you
anything. Don’t listen to him.”
Eric straightens in his chair. “Oh, hello,” he responds, staring at the
woman in surprise. “I didn’t expect you see you here today.”
Before coming out onto the veranda he’d stared at the portrait for the
longest time. The portrait kept staring back. It was a memory only the
memory seemed to be from some other part of him, some other reality not
accessible. It was as if he didn’t have the information this other part knew.
“Beautiful evening.” Eric, unnoticed, has walked up to him on the
veranda. “I love the mountains how they reach across to you, especially at
sunset. Don’t you think?”
Kewe gazing up at the high ridges, and the odd, wispy cloud formations
that rise over them, searches for an answer. “They do seem to be included
in all this,” he says. The undisguised yet beclouded mystery they had, did
seem to become a component of the place.
“Eric, I know you’re going to think me stupid, but I came here because
I thought I would meet the man I’d heard on the radio program. I had no
idea until today that it was a repeat. It’s especially confusing because I
know his face. Don’t ask me where or when, but I’ve met him.”
Eric seems to be examining a particular rise near the woodlands. “He
was like a dad to me, in many ways.” Still scrutinizing the mountains, he
smiles. “I’ve always thought myself fortunate, meeting him the way I did. ”He continues to stare at a sweep of space just above the open fields.
. . .
Not everyone listed for the retreat had arrived in the afternoon, and so
during a ‘getting to know you’ dinner there are more introductions. Eric
goes around the room announcing people’s names, doing it with a host of
jokes. With his quips he manages to turn the perhaps unduly formal
atmosphere into a riotous social occasion. His great one-liners coming one
on top of the other people couldn’t help laughing. Everyone relaxes.
After dinner, Kewe exhausted with the traveling returns to his room.
He expected to be asleep by now but all he’s been doing is toss and turn.
His watch is telling him it’s two in the morning and he’s still awake.
He hears people climbing the stairs, hears doors open and close. He
waits, counts the minutes. All falls silent again.
They must be the last from downstairs, he thinks. They must be people
like me, still on West Coast time. Perhaps he shouldn’t be that sleepy.
People came from all over the country to be here. They came from
Europe, from Mexico. He had talked to people at his table and, listening
to them, they all seemed eager for the sessions in the morning to begin.
Most volunteered they were here on a special, personal mission. It was as
if they thought of themselves as explorers, and they had come here on a
search. A search for themselvesand for everything else they might find
out there in the universe.
Kewe thrashes back and forth, unable to sleep.
He thinks again about the portrait on the chair, the sense of memories
that he cannot remember, it was so peculiar. It felt as if his brain wasn’t
connecting to the memories. Only his feelings were.
Energy is flowing over his body. He hadn’t noticed at first, but now he
does. He can feel the surge as he lies there. It’s the same energy he’d felt
poking his head into the cubicle this afternoon.
If he had to make a picture in his mind, he would see little light streams
swirling around him. He swears it feels as if he is being charged.
He lies in this strange cocoon for hours. Then music begins. Softly,
from the speaker at the side of his bed, a melody begins to play. He listens,
lies there while the music gradually gets louder. It is already morning. It’s
the wake up music. He has to get up.
Stumbling out the door, he heads towards one of the showers. After
dressing in his day clothes, at the coffee stand in the lounge he asks a couple
if they slept well. They answer they had a good night. Everyone looks rested.
Walking across to the photograph propped on the chair, Kewe reviews
again the smiling face. Someone approaches him, tries to make a brief
conversation. Half asleep, Kewe answers in monosyllables. The bell rings
and he strolls with the rest along the veranda to the breakfast room.
After the meal, for the first session they are shown into a thickly carpeted
sunken room off the lounge. People prop themselves on padded cushions,
some against small foam chairs. Eric and Charl give guidelines on the best
way to listen to the tapes.
They say the idea is to mind wander, to do free-style imaging. Kewe
figures he won’t do much imaging. When the tapes begin he’ll surely fall
asleep. He’s exhausted from having no sleep.
The retreat guests settle in their rooms. Kewe lies back in his cubicle,
listens through the headphones as the tape begins. The strange force is
there again. Energy is definitely present and now it seems more like a
charging wind. The wind seems to be concentrating just in the cubicle space
because when the tape ends, and he gets up, the charging wind doesn’t
follow. Before returning to the sunken lounge, in one of the bathrooms he
splashes water on his face, to try to release some of the pent-up energy.
There’s a discussion about inner experiences people have seen or felt or
heard during the tape. No one talks about a charging wind. Kewe thinks
he’ll wait, say nothing.
They listen to another tape before lunch. Then there’s a break to mid-afternoon.
Kewe uses the time to take a walk across the fields.
After dinner, the group meet at an auditorium next to the retreat
lodge. Here they listen to a guest speaker. Questions follow. When the
group return to the main lodge, Eric and Charl bring out the popcorn
Kewe lies on a couch at the far end of the lounge, on a corner section
of sofas. He is so tired, only he cannot sleep. He listens to the others
talking as if in a dream. He hears somebody say, “We receive and send
messages via the brain. It’s about being connected on the same channel,
like a radio channel.”
At the evening meeting, the speaker had been talking about the ability
to send thoughts across long distances. Kewe, half asleep, hears the words,
“Our thoughts merge with others.”
“Sending messages, or receiving messages,” the voice is saying, “can be
learnt. If we’re seeking answers, often our thoughts are merging with some
other being’s thoughts. We hear the thoughts, and most times we think the
thoughts are ours, that we’ve suddenly become inspired. That’s because
the brain interprets the thoughts as ours. All it means is that for a moment
we’re on the same channel as some other being who has the answer.”
Kewe, back in his room, is no longer half-asleep. It’s late, it’s been
hours since he came to bed and he’s wide-awake. He keeps thinking about
falling asleep but never does.
The energy is here. Pulses keep sweeping over him. The energy seems
much stronger, much more powerful. He’s in some strange windstorm
where the wind spreads around him, so much that he cannot tell any longer
that he’s in the bed. He’s flying and the wind force increasing in velocity is
charging him, changing him, transforming him in some way.
Turning and twisting, he has to get up. There’s too much energy, too
Kewe heads down to the lounge, grateful that a lamp remains lighted
on one of the tables. The room without any people looks so still. He glances
at the portrait on the chair. The man smiles. Why the picture is on a chair
and not on a wall, he hasn’t a clue, but the more he stares at the portrait the
more he knows the man is staring at him.
He opens the veranda door, walks into the fields. The further he walks
the darker it gets. When he can’t see where he’s placing his feet, he decides
not to continue. He returns to the path that takes him around the lodge.
In the parking lot his car is waiting. Not having the keys, not really
wanting to drive, he walks past the car, treks down the narrow, curving lane
where he drove a couple of days ago. In the middle of the night, with the
hedgerows looming, all kinds of shadows seem to emerge. Kewe keeps
Full of energy, at the marker pointing back to the lodge he continues
onto the farm road. Dawn light is beginning to break and a cock crows from
a nearby house. In the first light of morning, he hikes all the way to the
main highway before he turns back.
On the return journey there’s increasingly a sense of him doing this
before. It feels like some strange no-time where he has been here but not
he, himselfa sort of déjà vu, but where he’s meeting himself for the first
time. As if these thoughts floating across his mind are not of him, walking
as he’s doing along the road, but another him, an unknown version of him
who’s visiting somehow, and he had been in a dream.
Back at the lodge people are milling around the coffee table. Kewe
pouring himself a cup asks if anyone else has experienced energy before
sleeping last night. He gets only puzzled shakes of the head in reply.
Out onto the veranda he takes the coffee mug, stands looking up at the
distant hills as the morning sun covers them. George, an elderly man whom
he’s spoken with a few times, walks up to him. “Your name is the same as
‘Q’ in Star Trek,” George says cheerfully, too cheerfully for early morning.
“I can’t remember hearing of anyone else addressed that way before.”
“It’s unusual,” Kewe replies briefly. “I do get a lot of comments.” Then
with the caffeine waking him up, tells George it’s not spelt the same way.
He remembers the man mentioning to him previously about his work
as a child psychiatrist. Kewe asks about the job, about the challenges faced
working with children. The man tells him he’s been playing sound pulses
recorded on tape to the more disturbed children. There was a change of
behavior. It did seem to benefit them. The sounds seemed to pacify as
well as energize the children.
Kewe grills him with questions about that, and this keeps them both
busy until the bell rings, until they go together to breakfast.
During the midday break a few people take off for a swim. There’s a
lake a mile or so through the fields and Kewe would go except he’s thinking a
drive might be better. He hasn’t used the car since he came and this would
be a great opportunity.
Minutes into the drive, passing one small hamlet then another, he
knows he did the right thing. Somehow just getting into the car seems to be
releasing a little of the pent-up energy.
At a bridge, the start of what looks to be a moderately sized city, he
drives across then turns into some side streets. Not knowing where he’s
going, a sign for a museum is ahead. He parks, gets out, sees a building that
looks just like an old southern courthouse.
A woman in her forties is standing waiting inside the entrance, which
surprises him because for some reason he didn’t think the place would be
open. She greets him, hands him a brochure.
“Welcome to our courthouse museum,” she remarks smiling broadly.
Kewe looks somewhat bewildered and the lady, the only person who
seems to be in the building, offers to show him around. Kewe thanks her
and she begins to guide him through the various displays. She talks about
the Quakers who settled, about the Civil War. Showing him displays of the
battle flags, the uniforms, the medical supplies dispensed in the war, there is
always an interesting story.
By a photograph of a group of young soldiers, he’s told, “Local boys who
fought in the war. The people around here still refer to the war as the ‘War
of Northern Aggression.’”
Kewe has not really been noticing, but each time he’s passed one of the
larger artifacts, those not protected by glass, instinctively he has placed his
finger or his palm over the object. Lightly touching the ceramic pot or the
metal piece, a ton of energy seems to have been drawn away from him, into
the objects he’s been touching.
He begins to feel clear-headed, as though all the pent-up energy he’s
been absorbing the past few daysthe energy that has been making him
crazyhas gone, has been drained. The strange force somehow has been
released into these artifacts.
When they return to the main room, a room with a domed ceiling, the
woman points up at the metal staircasing. “That’s where people would stand
when they watched their loved ones being sentenced.” Kewe, scanning the
gallery, can only imagine all the life dramas that must have taken place here.
It’s the end of the tour and they walk towards the door. Kewe comments
that he’s really enjoyed the visit. “I’m at a seminar and I’m sort of playing
hooky,” he says, “but this adventure has been a charm. Your stories have
made the people come alive. Thank you so much.”
The lady smiles graciously. “I’m an afternoon volunteer,” she tells him.
“I love coming here, talking to people about the war, about the sacrifice of the
men. These items hold such dear memories. I don’t want any of the men
to be forgotten. Talking about them always takes me back into their world.”
Back in his car, Kewe feels almost normal. He’s late for the afternoon
session, but after some discussion with Eric about the advisability of driving
in an altered state, Eric arranges for him to listen to the tape he missed.
That night in his room the energy cocoon returns. The ethereal wind is
energizing him again. He tries the other cubicle, to see if it is the one bed,
but the wind follows. He sits upright, crosses his legs and sits yoga style with
his back propped against the pillow. The strange current of air doesn’t abate.
Now in the dancing wind he begins to see strange images. Colors flood
his vision. Vivid crimsons, deep purples, dark, deep colors saturate all
around him. At times they become sudden intense flashes.
Kewe tries to be calm, relaxed. He swears the wind is curling, curving
around him. He swears he is hovering.
He opens his eyes. Someone is rapping on the door. He must have
fallen asleep because as he fumbles his way more than half asleep across the
room he notices it’s morning. It’s light.
Charl is standing at the door. “I just wanted to let you know the Director
is ready for the interview you requested with her. She is waiting for you in
the breakfast room.”
Downstairs, walking past the coffee drinkers, he knows he looks a
wreck. In the breakfast room the Director is asking him why he cannot
sleep. He tells her he did, last night for the first time. He asks if the Center
might be on a laid-line, if it is built on an energy vortex. “Not as far as I
know,” she says. Kewe gathers from her comments that his experience of
not sleeping for three nights is not ordinary.
Through the day, listening to the tapes in his cubicle, Kewe expects the
wind to return. It doesn’t. He retires early after the evening’s presentation.
He still expects the strange current to reverberate around him but, truth be
told, he falls asleep almost immediately.
Hours later he wakes. His arms outstretched in front of him, he knows
He is hovering in some box-like structure. It is completely dark.
The only light he can see is emanating from his body. A silvery light is
shining from him, from all around his body.
There is wood in front of him. When he reaches to touch the wood, it
feels solid. He cannot move through the wood.