Waking Up In Strange Places
Where will I be when I wake up? I never know. Will it be Paris, New York , my own bedroom or a place I’ve never been? Aside from my own bedroom, it is most often a place I’ve never been. I am a traveler. Join me as I recount a few stories from places I’ve visited, places I venture to say you’ll never find on any map.
These days I’m a light sleeper. But that wasn’t always the case.
When I was younger, I could sleep through almost anything. As a kid, I slept next to my open bedroom window. I could sleep through violent thunderstorms that woke up everyone else in my house. The next morning my mother would ask me if I had heard the thunderstorm. My usual reply, “What thunderstorm?” always irritated Mom.
Sometimes I awoke from a deep sleep in the middle of the night with no clue about where I might be, even if I was in my own bedroom. Occasionally this also happened when I was sleeping at a friend’s house. I didn’t know where I was or how I got there.
My story begins in the middle of a field of corn on a bright, warm day with not a cloud in the sky, and I was no longer a kid.
As I slowly awoke, I found myself lying in soft, warm, freshly turned, rich brown dirt, surrounded by rows of tall, green corn.
What Am I Doing in the Middle of a Cornfield?
Where am I? What am I doing in the middle of a cornfield?
I slowly stood up and began walking. I love walking between rows of corn that is higher than my head. The world is simple – just corn, dirt and sky.
The mid-afternoon heat gave the corn that musty smell I remember it having on summer afternoons when I was a kid. The silks on the ears of corn had already turned brown, just like they did every August.
Brushing against the corn leaves made my arms itch. But the itching was a small price to pay to be alive on God’s green earth on such a beautiful day. The cornfield, however, seemed to go on forever.
Wait a minute! It looks like the edge of the field is just ahead.
Yes, yes. There’s grass and a road. That’s the road that leads home. I think I’ll go home. A tall glass of lemonade sounds good about now. I didn’t realize how thirsty I am.
The road, paved with crumbled red rock, wound between two fields of corn. Between the road and the corn were swaths of short, unmown green grass.
Birds sang and insects chirped as I walked – a typical August day.
As I rounded a bend in the road, my house came into view.
I love that house. I love how it sits nestled under all those maple trees. In the summer they shade the house. In the fall, they turn just about the prettiest shades of red, yellow and orange that you’d ever hope to see. Then in the winter their bare branches let the sunshine through to warm the house.
Even though it was a warm summer’s day, smoke curled lazily out of the chimney.
Mom must be firing up the old cookstove a little early for supper. I hope it’s blackberry cobbler tonight!
A Stream in a Wood
Please allow me to digress. Later in the story we will return to that wonderful, warm little house, who was there, and what happened. But all that will make so much more sense if I first tell what happened alongside the stream that runs behind the house.
The house lies on the edge of a wood. A stream meanders through that wood, a stream bordered by tall trees, flowering bushes, and thousands of rounded smooth rocks, rocks that make an excellent place to sit and listen to the stream flow and the birds chirp.
I walked into the wood, used several large rocks to cross the stream, and worked my way along the far side of the stream, following it deeper into the wood.
As I rounded a bend, I saw a man just ahead of me sitting on a large rock at the water’s edge.
“Welcome Tammy. Sit down and join me.”
This was a bit awkward. I was sure I knew him, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember his name.
I hesitantly sat down next to him and wondered how long it would take him to figure out that I couldn’t remember who he was.
“Do you like this place?” he asked.
“Oh yes, very much.”
“I suppose you’ll be wanting to stay?”
Special Effects! I Have More Questions!
“That will be up to you. However, first you will make six visits. Five will be in the future of the life you’ve been living. The last will be in your own past, the past you do not remember. After each visit, you will return to this very spot and we will talk. You may ask me questions. After the sixth visit you may decide if you want to stay here.
“Some of your visits will last days, some will last weeks or even months, and some will last years. However, each time you return here will seem like the moment just after you left here. Do you have any questions?”
“This kind of sounds like ‘and all of this will be accomplished in one night.’”
“It seems you understand very well! Actually it will be accomplished in less than a moment, in no time at all.”
“Tell me, sir, do you know of Charles Dickens and C.S. Lewis?
My host began laughing.
“Of course! I know them and they know me.”
He laughed deeply, loud and hard. I could still hear him laughing as I started to spin. Specks of light whirled around me. I hurtled through space. The last thing I heard him say was “I hope you enjoy the special effects. They’re just for you.”
“Wait a minute! I have some more questions….”
The laughing and spinning faded. The next thing I remember was waking up at the first light of dawn, lying on a patch of dead grass on some very dry dirt. The air was very hot and dry.