The Old Woman
How we came to love her…
Now I realize that where I last left off may leave one with a certain sort of skepticism regarding what took place in the aftermath of Elysia’s greeting. I am afraid such skepticism will only by intensified as I relate what followed my sudden change of perception as noted previously. I am certain that these experiences, as is the case with all such events which may be called miraculous, are the sort that unless one is present at their actual occurrence, any retelling of them is condemned to seem all at once trite, unbelievable, and hopelessly exaggerated. I’ll make no efforts to excuse the strangeness of it all, but rather will simply relate what my eyes, ears, and heart beheld.
The sudden role reversal gave my momentum pause, and I found myself standing flabbergasted on the landing of Elysia’s stairs leading up to her porch. She looked as old as ever I remembered her being, and the drab colored dress, which she wore, might as well have been worn by a despondent and ill-attired Vivian Leigh while watching Atlanta fall to General Sherman. A strange bouffant hat crowned he raggedy gray hair, and was just silly looking enough for me to not feel overwhelmed by her otherwise strange and suddenly regal presence.
She encouraged me to come on up, get out of the sun, and to sit for a spell (her words) with a glass of lemonade. Without much hesitation at all, I made my way carefully up the three stairs to the porch, and as I did, my perceptions seemed to betray me once again. With the first step I could hear in the distance a siren’s wail announcing the approach of a hasty fire engine, the almost subliminal soft roar of the nearby freeway, and a young boy offering taunts to the “crazy old lady…”, but by the time I reached the threshold of the porch, these sounds had faded to the quietude of birds singing, children playing joyfully, and a breeze gently tickling its way through tree tops. The moment I stepped onto the porch, the audio change caused me to nearly lose my balance and I grabbed hold of the rail and spun around – away from Elysia to see if my visual senses could discern what had happened.
The world had changed…and yet, it had not. It was the same, as I remembered it a moment before, but it was also the same as I remembered it some 15 years ago when we had first moved to the neighborhood. Trees that had long since been removed or collapsed in some winter storm were seemingly restored; houses, which had been replaced with modern apartment buildings, still remained…as did the apartments! (the impossibility of which I could not explain then, nor can I now.) Other things appeared new and foreign, having never been apart of the city I knew to be home. People, most of whom I did not recognize, strolled the streets wearing all manner of strange clothing and as they passed they would inevitably wave toward the porch calling out to “Mother Elysia.” The sight of a horse drawn carriage plodding down the street and being passed through by a ’69 Corvette was about all I could take.
“Strange…is it not?” Elysia said to me comfortingly.
I nodded as I turned around and was confronted with another Rod Serling style shocker. Elysia had changed uttrerly: no longer an old woman in late 19th century garb (as best as I could discern her prior attire), she was now a middle aged woman in a bright yellow sun dress, still smiling the same smile, while offering a plate topped with two perspiring glasses of lemonade. She was beautiful, in the motherly sense of the word, and despite my own internal fear filled struggles to comprehend what was going on around me, she seemed to inspire an instantaneous familiarity that calmed me. Referring to her as Mother, given her new appearance, seemed altogether natural to me at that moment.
Sensing my unease at all the metamorphosis around me, she invited me to sit down on her swing, and then offered some explanation. I have since committed her exact words to memory.
“From the outside, things are all simply as they appear, and the present commands the past along with the future. But from the inside,” She smiled broadly, “…from the inside, all things simply are. Past, present, and future are Triune.”
In such situations, of bewilderment, one is inclined to pay very close attention to what is being told to you, and though I am still not sure exactly what she meant, her words none-the-less rung true to me and for the time being helped me to understand what was happening. We talked for quite sometime as I tried to ignore the frequent interruptions of old train whistles from engines now apparently running on tracks I knew to be long since abandoned, the work horns blaring from the distant lumber mill which had not seen labor since 1920, or the occasional aircraft (if I can call them that) which would silently spin past overhead.
We would spend no time engaged in small talk, or the exchange of pleasant niceties. Any hope for remembrance of my original mission to deliver an apology had vanished, and instead I found myself exploring an entirely unknown realm guided by this old woman’s wise words. I was just along for the ride…willingly, but not decisively.
Really, the specifics of what Mother Elysia said to me are not important…at least not to you who are reading my account here. Though I cannot be wholly sure, I suspect that what she has to offer people who visit her porch may vary slightly for each individual…though always with the same goal in mind (patience…we shall come to this matter in proper order). Suffice to say that no truer words have been spoken (or written for that matter) than what this strange woman verbally handed over to me that day. As is often the case with real truth, it both hurts and heals and I walked away feeling as though I’d had old wounds opened, cleaned, dressed, and my mind’s pockets filled with prescriptive medicine. I would be back…there was little doubt of that.
As I left the porch the world returned to normal…but not so with me.
more to come
...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 8:29 AM [+]