“I sustain myself with the love of family.”
~ Maya Angelou
One late afternoon in April this year, the dusky sunset was shimmery and luminous. A light rain fell, misting the cold air and making us hurry to light a fire and get inside where it was warm.
That evening the moon rose brightly amid patchy clouds, but the light stayed this eery silvery-blue colour. All night I was covered in goosebumps, and the dogs were watchful and alert. The owls came and sat in the trees and on the fences around our little farmhouse, and I wondered what might be afoot.
Whenever owls arrive, things seem to happen. And our farm seems densely habited by owls. I’ve been being visited by owls since I was a girl. Significant things have happened when owls have turned up in my life. Owls heralded a massive leap in my psychic abilities when I was living in the Kimberley. The night after my grandmother (my mother’s mother) died, an owl arrived in the tree outside my window and stayed there watching me for three days.
A year ago I found an owl feather and wove it into a Dream Catcher to place above my bed. And shortly after that the Orchard Man showed up.
At first I saw him from a distance, in broad daylight, standing on a ladder trimming the fruit trees in our orchard. When I went to investigate there was no-one there.
Another time he walked past me holding a galvanised bucket and heading in the direction of our old dairy bales. The dogs saw him too. But by now I had realised that he wasn’t ‘real’. I wondered if he was a ghost, or a soul caught between dimensions. I wasn’t really sure, and I never seemed to be able to get close enough to ask him.
Then, on this April night the Orchard Man was back, swinging his lantern around in the cold. Once again he headed up to the Orchard, and I lost sight of him amidst the trees.
I found it hard to sleep that night. I was herxing badly from my lyme drugs – all achy and itchy and out of sorts. I lay in bed, tossing and turning, long after my husband had surrendered to sleep. At some stage I must have dozed off and when I woke again the bedroom was filled with a strange silvery-blue light. A lady stood at the foot of my bed. I instantly recognised her. She was the spirit lady who’d visited and comforted my little sister when Simone was so ill as a child.
Her name is Alice, and she’s from my ancestral line on my mother’s side. She’s come into my life because it’s time. Time for me to keep a promise I made many lifetimes ago. A promise tied up with owls and fairies and family. A promise that has run through generation after generation of bloodlines.
So who is the Orchard Man? He isn’t here for me. He’s here for Alice. He loved her once, and lost her, before they could be married. Ever since that life he’s been looking for her, waiting to meet up with her again.
He found her through the owls. He found her through me. He knew she’d come to find me, and so he waited for her in the orchard. He’s looked for her, waited for her, through time and space. Now, after patient toiling, that April night he found her, as he knew he would. He saw her. She felt him. But she came for me.
I know that they will meet again. I know that while I am here at this farm I have given them a window where they can be together.
Me? I feel the energy of my family stretching out across the generations and wrapping me in its love. I feel the weight of a great responsibility. I feel the sparkle of a profound magic.
I see the owls.
There are so many stories in me. And now is the time for them to be told…