Friday, April 12, 2013 | By: Lynny Prince

Back to the Light

This is an ongoing short story of spiritual visits from my ancestors.

It was dark when I awoke. Beads of sweat sat upon my furrowed brow. What was my dream? A dark room and shadow people. Something about a message from Mom. I could not recall, but this incessant feeling that something was amiss nagged at my heart.

I climbed out of bed and stretched the kinks from my back.That old mattress has got to go, I thought. That thing has been around for 10years now, and it's high time to retire it, no doubt about that. I opened the bedroom door and could see the faint light of dawn through I crack in the curtains.

I walked to the front door and opened it, immediately inspired by the warmth that greeted me. The sun nudged its head above the horizon, and brilliant reds and golds flared out like magic fingers; wispy clouds floated carelessly by, intertwining with the colors and blue of the sky.

Birds sang their songs in unison, without worrying if one was out singing the other.  None off key, no two
alike. Two cardinals landed on a woodpile on the porch near the doorway. They flittered and frolicked around, dancing their spring mating dance. They had not a care in the world, and didn't even mind me standing there watching them. A cool breeze fluttered through the screen door. I felt it brush my hair and kiss my skin.

I opened the door and stepped onto the porch, and the little cardinals flew away, continuing their banter and mating ritual on a honeysuckle bush nearby. Something pulled at my nightgown and I looked down to see our cat twining his way around my legs, begging for breakfast. "In a minute"I told the calico.

The feeling here was a magical one. Marveling at God's perfection, I knew it. It was a familiar feeling, something that I felt I had recently experienced. I closed my eyes and tried to recall the dream. Nothing.I prayed silently that I would remember, because I knew it was something profoundly important. Suddenly, a crow cawed loudly, making me jump. It landed on the lower limb of the mighty maple tree that hung just above the porch. Caw,caw, caw! He was unfettered by my presence, and in fact, seemed to be urgently speaking just to me, "Remember, remember, remember!" I sat spellbound by this oddly familiar scenario. What was a crow doing sitting here speaking to me, and why did it seem so familiar? It was then I recalled the dream...

I sat among my elders, my grandparents on my Mom’s side, along with a few other grandmothers I did not recognize. “Are you ready?” My mother asked. I nodded my head, not being able to speak for some reason. We were all sitting in a room with no floor, just dirt; hard, cool and slick from years of living, walking, and laying on it. “It’s made with wood ash.” I heard someone say. “You mix wood ash and dirt together with water. Comes out like concrete.” I nodded, I had heard of that before.

“Caw, caw, caw!” A big black crow sat on an old, wooden chair. He was perched there, intent on the goings on.

“You know allot of things, you just don’t remember.” This from one of the grandmothers. “We’re here to remind ya. That’s all ya need is remindin’,”  said another.

“No gossipin’ while you make food!” One exclaimed. She had jet black hair parted in the middle and knotted at the nape of her neck. She was heavy, wore a blue calico print dress with a high lace collar, but her face reminded me of a picture of Martha Montgomery, my 4thgreat grandmother that I had seen once. She was Irish and Cherokee, born in 1868 in southeastern Kentucky.

“Caw, caaaaaaaawwww!”

“If women are talkin’ in the kitchen while ya’s cookin’ 'an the hot grease or stew or whatever you’re cookin’ pops out on ya, you best stop talkin’ about whatever it is, cause the spirits are trying to shut you up!” She said with a grin. She watched me, her black eyes steady and unblinking. She had eyes like my mom and my mom's father, I could see the resemblance clear as day. I stared back into the depths and felt the bond I had with her. “Mattie,”she told me, “Name’s Mattie.”

A slow smile spread across my face. I knew her. I collected my family’s stories for fifteen years before writing novels took all my time away from genealogy. She’d had a rough life. My grandpa’s grandpa was not a nice person. His eyes were crystal blue, a very unusual color, but they did not adorn a nice face. Mean. Of course, no one smiled in those photos from back in the day, but this was different.  He was just mean looking. She wore a look of pain and unhappiness that was obvious in those black eyes in the portrait, but that look was gone now, replaced with glints of peace and contentment. This was the girl she had been when she was younger; she had gone back to the light. I thought of the song "This Little Light of Mine," and knew instantly that was the light we go back to when we die. The young, fresh-faced people we were, before life had its way with us. Mattie had that light now. I often wished I had known her.  I thought this might be my chance.

“We’ll be back to remind ya of some more soon.”

So now, I wait. be continued.

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 ©2013 Lynny Prince


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