Mark O’Brien read The Paraclete, found meaning in it, and asked me to share more. I shared DeathSong and both Mark and Dr. Jo Anne White asked for more. Like The Paraclete and DeathSong, The following, LifePath Work, ends with another example of DeathSongs and is also from my forthcoming The Shaman (due out September 2023).
“Edward, isn’t it?”
A tall man, middle-aged handsome, well-groomed, health-club aerobic thin, sits in the blue lounger, dressed for this warm summer day in a pink IZOD and blue, lightweight slacks, no socks and white deckshoes. His skin shows a healthy tan. He has clear eyes that see much. Crows feet show he laughs much but is cautious with his laughter. He has a small diamond stud in his left ear.
“Raye recommended you. You helped her a while back.”
“What did you do for her?”
I repeat Grandpa’s teaching. “I will tell you your story and as much of my story as you care to hear, but I will never tell you anyone else’s story nor will I tell anyone else your story.”
He shakes his head and looks down. He shuffles. “She said she could tell something’s bothering me but didn’t know what it is. You teach her to do that?”
“Some people get a taste and it stays with them.”
He nods. “What do I do?”
“Do you understand what we’re going to do?”
“No, not really. Does it matter?”
“Specifics, no. I need to be sure you want to go through with this. Once you become aware, you can’t become unaware. Once you know, you know.”
“Yeah, Raye told me that part.”
“It might be better if you went to a psychiatrist. Or a therapist, maybe.”
“And take years and years and still not be done. Raye said you work in hours or days what it takes others…”
He waves it away.
Again I remember Grandpa’s teaching; ask three times. “Are you sure?”
“Are you sure?”
I feel his energy dropping. He stares at me, wondering. “Yes.”
One more time, and slower. “Are you sure?”
He faces me and his eyes dart down and left. He considers. He takes a deep breath and his eyes meet mine. “Yes, I’m sure.”
I hand him a red and auburn blanket with phases of the moon and stars on it. “Wrap yourself in this.”
He takes it from me and frowns. “It’s the middle of summer.”
“You can shrug it off if you don’t need it.”
He stands, wraps it around his shoulders, sits again, crosses his left leg over his right. His right foot taps the air like a metronome.
“When do we begin?”
“We already have.”
Edward and I walk back, back, back.
“Where is this place?”
I sense. “We are twenty-three? Twenty-four? Not quite twenty-five years ago. In your past.”
We walk through a woods on a well-graded dirt road. Snow clings to the trees, not melting.
“Do you know this place?”
Edward pulls the blanket tighter around his shoulders. “No clue.”
I breathe deeply. “It smells like north.”
“North has a smell?”
“North of Ottawa maybe, but somewhere right along the Quebec border.”
Edward stops and points with his chin. “There’s a cabin there.”
“There’s only one road in and one road out but it seems to me there’s another road and it’s not taken.”
“What are you, Robert Frost? There aren’t any other roads around the place.”
“Something happened there that changed your life. There was a road you wanted to follow and refused.”
Edward looks around. He blinks. He sees. He remembers.
“No, nothing happened here. I want to go back now.”
“As you wish.”