The Cave By The Sea Mar25


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The Cave By The Sea

The path one travels everyday grows to be so routine that it begins to seem monotonous, so even though the walk from my house to the beach was a tiny journey and I enjoyed it very much, I soon neglected to take it unless I had other reasons to do so.

Time passed and I looked out the window daily until once it came to me that I had no idea how long it had been since I walked down the fifty stair-steps and small leap to the sand at the stairs end to stroll on the lovely little cove beach I looked down at from my sun-room window for hours every single day.

Suddenly I was driven by a need to go down there myself and put my feet into that probably cold ocean, but my ocean, just as my way of claiming it,  Simply loving it from the top view and enjoying the changes it made every hour around the clock was not enough to own it.  I must step in the salty water in person.  Fifty steps should not prevent me from doing so.

I left my shoes in the house and faced the steps for the first time in a very long while.  Oh I had some very good excuses but they didn’t matter now.  Now I must step carefully down them and even climb back up… today and hopefully more often from now on.  

I had not yet reached the sand when I spotted a rock I must take back up with me.  It was small, but unusual, so I reached for it lifting it from the sand first thing, thinking that next time, hopefully tomorrow I would bring my magnet so as to test for possible meteorites. I set the little black rock on the grass next to the steps so as not to forget it.  I looked up as the sun came from behind a last bit of morning mist.  It was straight up 

On my left was the cliff that contained the cove’s fairly large rock cave and I automatically went toward it.  How might it have changed in the time that had slipped by since I last entered it?  

Sometimes it was absolutely impossible to go into as the tide, if it was high, regularly sent waves crashing in with a loud boom as the trapped air complained.  A person caught in one of those could be smashed against the rocky cliff or caught and carried into the cave itself for a terrible thrashing.    

So far no people, but an occasional stray boat or surf board has been swept in and out again reduced into much smaller pieces.  

All of that continual pounding by water and debris does change the interior of the cave but slowly.  As it had been so long since I made the trek down I was curious.  Today the tide was low and the sand was piled high so the entrance of the cave was almost welcoming.  Often the entrance was piled with large slippery with green algae boulders and knee deep ponds of still sea water containing a hermit crab or two  But only on the days when the sand was somehow collected at the other end of the cove’s shore by the tricky tides.

I strolled easily into the open cave on soft sand unaware of the odd change which had occurred.  The first thing I noticed was that the ceiling was lower due to the amount of sand and I could touch the mixture of black and gray speckled  rocks that were sometimes far too high so I could only stare up at them and wonder about  the few scattered green boulders that I had been told were actually jade.  A seven foot tall pillar of green rock stood in a nearby park that was said to be a reproduction of a genuine huge jade found nearby many years ago.

Like that one, those slightly exposed in the cave were polished to a lovely sheen by the constant water flow, but are wedged well into the wall so as to be unknown in size.  It would take time beyond my life time for any of those to be exposed enough to remove.  Thus pleasantly, they were still fun to look at and today touch.

As I stood in the darkest and highest end of the cave, I could run my fingers over the smooth green face of the largest.  The granites were rough with a mixture of composed ingredients, the black were semi-smooth but bumpy with holes made as they were formed of red hot, flowing lava. No one knew of a volcano in the area so they must have worked their way up from deep below.

I was standing there with my fingers softly testing them all when I heard a gentle voice.  Still I jumped, startled, I thought I was alone in the cave.

He said, “You haven’t been here for 39 months.  Welcome back.”

I looked into the darkest corner and saw no one. 

“Where are you?”  I asked.

“Put your hand back on the jade and step around the corner.”  He said

“What corner…”  I was in the middle of saying when a hand covered mine on the jade and I jumped back.  The hand slid away.

“Don’t be afraid.”  The voice was assuring. “Just give me your hand and I will lead you around the corner.”  

I still didn’t see a corner but it was fairly dark this deep into the cave and I strained to see what I could not.  Then even though I am not a brave or daring person I found myself reaching for that green jade stone which I have never been able to reach before the sand had lifted the floor so high and I carefully placed my hand flat against its cool surface.

A warm hand took mine and I automatically stepped around the new corner where I found it to be bright and sunny.  I squinted into the light at the person who had my hand still in his.  

He had red hair that curled at his neck and green eyes the same as the  jade green jogging suit he wore, as if he was out for his daily exercise.  

I had so many questions that I didn’t ask any of them as I had not decided which was the most important.  In other words I was tongue tied and awe struck as I looked around at the wonders around me.  It was not the beach any longer, but greener than a golf course and as sunny as a dessert. Flowered shrubs bloomed beneath the trees.  I thought I knew what some of them were, others were different from any I have seen before.

“I finally asked, “What? Who?”

“You’ll see.”  the fellow said, as he led me to a path that crossed a bubbling brook over a tiny bridge and deeper into the woods.  I followed. 

As I looked back, so as to know my way home, I saw nothing of the cave or the jade rock that had sent me here.  Where would I run if I wanted to?

“How do I get back home?”  I asked.

The young man stopped and pointed back to the bridge we had just crossed..

“Over the bridge and to the jade.”  He said.  “I will try to get you back when the tide is low again, even though you may have a drop to the floor of your cave if the sand is lower.”

“Oh,” I said, “Is that why I am here?  Because I could reach the jade and touched it?”

“Usually in the past I have only seen you from above.  The jade is the only way in and out of the City of Jade.  

As we came to a small wooden sign, I stopped to read it.  It said Jade City limits  Population uncountable.”

“Why can’t you count your population?”I inquired as if he must know if he lived here.  But he only shrugged and walked on. I still followed.

“Where are we going?”  I stood my ground ready to go back if I chose to.  What could he do if I ran for the bridge and looked for the jade by myself?

“We’re here.”  He smiled.

We were certainly someplace else.  We were surrounded by green dressed people with little green houses scattered upon the hillsides and gaily painted shops all around a red brick square. I looked down at my bare feet and was surprised to see green leather slippers and my hands smoothed the full skirt of soft, green, wool, trimmed around the hem with embroidered flowers and my white lace trimmed blouse. I must look much like the others even though all were different.

“Are you hungry?”  He asked.

I hadn’t thought about it.  My head was so full of questions about everything around me that what I felt was not yet a concern. 

“Are you?”  I asked back.

“Always.”  He said, with his hand against his flat tummy and a charming smile.

“What is your name?”  I asked him, “And why did you bring me here?”

He sat on a bench facing the square and I took a seat beside him.  I felt as though we had walked for miles as I sat glad to rest on his bench.  Maybe we had. Things were certainly different here… the way they just appeared from thin air, almost as if we wished them there.

“My name is Foley,“  he suddenly answered as if I had just ask him. I am named for that tree with those bright red flowers,”  He pointed to the flame doted tree across the open lawn.  “But I have always been called red because of my hair.”

“Am I to call you Red?”  I asked, which was strange because I was often called Red myself for my hair is also red.

“Yes, I know.” he told me, as if I had told him that thought out loud.  “Then I will call you ‘Little Red.’   It was your red hair that kept me watching for you.  I heard someone call you by your name once, but I always thought of you as Little Red.  So Little Red what would you like to eat?”

“Well, Big Red, do you have ice cream?”

“Oh yes we do.  We have almost everything.  We don’t need to get it from anyplace.  We only just think it, so be careful to think of the flavor you want or you will get something dreadful if you accidently think mud or spinach at the same time.”

“Oh my goodness!” I told him, “Please don’t tell me what not to think as that will be first in my mind.   Hasn’t anyone ever told you to not think of Elephants and then elephants were everywhere you looked?”

He laughed, as he sat looking at me.  “I never thought of that.  How do you control your mind out there?”

“That is not a problem because we don’t get whatever we want by imagining it.  The question is, how do you control your mind here?”

“Training.  I guess.” he said, “Getting something bad instead of what you really want will cure you in a hurry, because you don’t get to make another choice for  several hours. So you look at the empty sky and zero in on your choice… then you think of it for a second.  Try it.” 

I looked up at the sky and was about to think strawberry, but  as I didn’t know if they even had any or if they were sweet or sour I blankedthat thought out and turned back to him and asked,  “What is good in Jade?”

“My favorite is Gallberry, but I don’t know what you might like.  Wait a minute.  “He looked up and then closed his eyes and said in a whisper, “Gallberry Ice cream cone.”  Then he turned to me and held it out.  “Here taste mine.  If you like it you may have it.”

“Wouldn’t it be better if I ordered my own so you don’t have to wait for four hours to get another?”

“You’re right, but taste mine so you’ll  know if you like Gallberry.”

I did and it tasted just like pineapple, so I ordered me one and we sat there eating them until they were both gone, all but the big blob that dripped on top of my foot and luckily just barely missing my new fine green leather slipper.  We ate the last pieces of cone at the same time, then Big Red got up and we continued our walk full and satisfied.

“Is the weather always balmy like this…you know, just right?”

“I’m afraid so, because if it gets gusty and grey like you sometimes do, someone in the City will not like it and think it sunny again.”

“You mean one person can control the weather for everyone?”

“Almost.  But if a majority want something different it will happen that way.  Sometimes they hold a meeting and have everyone think snow so we can ski on our hillside.  There is a committee that meets each night to think rain on the growing things like grass, trees and flowers.  That way they grow nicely without inconvenience to the population.”

“That sounds like our mythical Camelot of song and story, where it only rains at night.”

“Maybe it is really our Jade, you sing about if your Camelot is just a myth.”

“Maybe you are a myth.”  I laughed. 

‘No way!”  he reached over and pinched my arm quite hard.

“Ouch! That hurt!”  I rubbed my arm, and looked at the red spot his pinch left on top of my skin halfway to my elbow.

“So is that a myth?”  He said, “A myth can’t do that!”

With my other hand still soothing the pinch, I had to agree.  Especially after Big Red patted my arm and apologized for the still visible red spot as he explained. 

“I once thought you were a myth until I found the Jade stone that let me see you for myself,  even though you were just a little child when I discovered you.  You were a little girl with very long red hair flowing in the ocean breeze.”  He looked me over.  “It’s shorter now.”   

I had to laugh at that.  “ I sometimes I think my hair is the same length, but my body is just much taller.    Anyway… You cannot be old enough to have seen me as a child, unless you were a child also.”

“No. we are in a different time cycle from yours.”  I looked confused, so he continued.   “Time and gravity are the same thing so as our gravity is lighter we float slower.  So when you were six I was sixteen.  Now you have caught up and we are both eighteen at the same time in our own spaces.  As you are here now, and moving at our gravity-time, when you return it will seem like no time passed at all.”

“If that is true I feel better already as I was beginning to worry that someone at home had seen me go into the cave and think I died in there or something. “

“Which of course you have not, but you are momentarily trapped there by the high tide.”

“When may I return?  I don’t want to cause a panic at home.”  He thought a second or two then changed the subject abruptly.

“Oh, look the bandstand is beginning to draw a crowd.  Soon they will be playing music.  We have time for a couple of dances.  Let’s go closer.”

Big Red no sooner said it than it was done.  We were standing side by side at the band gazebo as the instruments began to tune up.  How can he say they move slower here when everything happens at once on a cue from anyone.  I tried to think of something I could say that would show me I had the ability to make an event occur also.  Why not? I know I can’t at home.  It might be fun to try it while I am here.        

I looked everywhere for something to suggest.  What… what… what?  If it happened I didn’t want to regret it.  But I did.

There was a pretty hill just beyond the park. I wondered,  What would happen if I wanted to be up there looking down on the public square? 

It was no sooner considered than there I was standing on the grass of the hillside at the top of that very hill, with the band now playing and Big Red far below in front of me still located by the tiny green gazebo.  I could barely hear the music from my view point, but the dancers were keeping time with the sweet melody.  

“Oops!”  I guess wasn’t careful enough and now what?  I could see Big Red beginning to look around for me.  He was asking others if they knew which way I went.  I wanted to try to call out, “I’m just up here!”  when I was startled by an ear shattering loud roar.  I looked in that direction and spotted    a great pride of lions, who sat sprawled under a tree close by and my sudden appearance had drawn the attention of a very large male.  He stepped closer, shaking his great mane as he moved in front as if to hide the rest of the females and cubs from my sight.  He certainly succeeded as I had my eyes glued to him.  I froze, wondering if there was something I could think that would take one of us away from this spot, but nothing happened, perhaps there was a wait-time line I was unaware of that kept me from being able to think away so soon.   The lion stood his ground and I stood mine.  Did either of us have a choice?

However one arrived with a loud angry growl behind me.  I turned my head to face a huge black bear standing tall on hind legs with front claws and great teeth in terrifying view with his mouth open wide. 

 I was exactly in the middle between the two challenging animals as if it was my decision which to let have me.  I might drown in the ocean at home but dying by lion or bear had never been an option.  

I watched as the bear stood patiently his eyes never leaving me.  I watched him when he suddenly leaned back to look up at the sky.  Quickly I peeked back at the lion.  He too was looking straight up, so of course, so did I.

Circling above us like a giant with wide spread wings was a great eagle flying with claws out stretched.   His circling was hypnotizing  me so that I almost forgot the two mammals…almost.  Things like those two are actually quite unforgettable.  When I looked back from one to the other I lost sight of the eagle for a second or two and was suddenly picked up from behind and lifted from the hill with his huge claws clinging to my shirt back and I was dangling below him as he flew away taking us higher from the other two dangerous animals .  I did now hope my shirt was strong enough to take my weight.

Was the Eagle the frying pan I had escaped into from the fire of the wild creatures down below?  The standing bear took a couple of swipes at the air to try to bring me back but we rose too high amazingly fast.  Where was he taking me as he circled even higher?

A short time later just as I was beginning to almost enjoy the flight, he settled on the ledge of a cliff that was made of granite and black lava boulders with some smooth green jade here and there.  A nest of sticks was on a low perch near where I was now ungracefully dumped.  I stood and dusted myself off and noticed that I had been carried by my own old clothes and that I had bare feet again.  Too bad, I really liked those beautiful little slippers. 

 Behind me I could see the open beaks of two hungry birds above the nests.  The huge babies  cried out to be fed and I shuddered at that thought.  

On the other side I saw a familiar looking large smooth jade rock and quickly bent to reach and  cover it with my hands and pull myself toward it.  Just as I hoped,  I was soon around a corner until there, even as quickly as a Jade City Thought, I was almost magically back in the cave at home… right where I had started. 

The tide was just leaving, so I needed only to take a short jump to the sand left on the bottom of the cave… my cave… and run out to the sun of my beach.    I looked up at my house and suddenly wanted to be back up there, but wishing or thinking didn’t do it in this City,  so I headed for the fifty steps up and began to climb to get myself up there the old way… one foot at a time by myself.  I had paused at the bottom for the odd little rock I had picked up as I came down.  

I put it in my pocket and looked up at the sun.  How long had I been gone into the cave and spent walking in the City of Jade?  The sun seemed to be close to where I left it… straight up.  Big Red was right.  Time was different here.  I stopped and looked back at the entrance to the cave.  

I wondered.  Was Big Red still looking for me?  I hadn’t said goodbye or thanked him for the Gallberry, or whatever different good flavor he said it was, ice cream.  The one pink dry spot of it had stayed on top of my foot.  I smiled down at that. 

 As for the lion and the bear they must have settled back in comfort now that I was gone.  If I could have thanked the eagle, I would have, but at the time I was too happy to see that precious jade rock.

I went into the house but no one was home to wonder why I wasn’t.  I took a shower and washed off the dried Gallberry ice cream and later put an ointment on the red spot on my arm where Big Red had pinched me to prove something..  I decided that if anyone asks what happened, I would say I got scraped on a rock in the cave.  The truth is too…  well,  you know… who would believe it anyway? 

It might have been different if I had taken my cell phone and gotten a couple of pictures.  Although, maybe not, because as I think about it, in that entire square I never saw a single person walking and talking to himself with a hand to his ear or anyone sitting and staring at their hands in their lap as if texting with someone.  They probably haven’t reached that cell stage yet. Or perhaps they are further ahead with some sort of telepathy… anyone who could think an ice cream cone into existence could…well… just imagine.