Winter was phasing out and early summer was setting in. There was a chill in the early morning breeze that blew across the valley. The soft tintinnabulation of the bells from the temple and the red flags that danced to the music from the bells gave the place a divine aura. One could feel the presence of something so pure so pristine, that you wanted to lose yourself in it. She sat outside the temple, with her back to it. She sat on a raised platform, her hair blew in the wind, her black shawl fluttered, her eyes were closed in deep meditation.
She was all alone. There was no deity inside the temple, there was no priest. Just her and the nature. The snow-capped mountains loomed to her left. The snow was melting at the foothills and greenery was slowly beginning to show. Little yellow and pink flowers dotted the valley. To her right, far below was the river flowing rapidly, like it had some urgent business to attend to and couldn’t stop to say hello. Stretched before her were the green plains like a velvet carpet rolled out to welcome someone.
She was searching for something, she didn’t know what. She went deeper and deeper into herself when she heard someone call out to her sweetly, “Enola”.
I opened my eyes.
“I am a writer”, I told her. She sat on a chair in front of me with one leg folded under her and the other touching the floor. She wore blue jeans and a round collared red t shirt. Her hair was kept together with a rubber band, she wore no make-up, yet her skin was clear and even toned. Her lips were the perfect shape of a bow and when she smiled at me, her teeth shone like a string of pearls. She was in her forties.
“What do you write about?”, she asked. Her voice was like a spring gurgling in the midst of a forest.
“For now, I would like to write about you”, I told her.
She smiled. “What about me? I am a simple woman, I live a plain life. I am no celebrity. I don’t understand what you would want to write about me.”
“No”, I protested. “There is something about you, I cannot explain what exactly it is, but ever since I had that dream about you, I knew you were not – as plain as you claim to be.”
She laughed a clear laugh. “What did you dream?”, she asked, her eyes twinkling mischievously.
“Is your name Enola?”
“No, my name is Meda”
“But in the dream, someone called you Enola”
“Are you sure you saw me?”
“How can you be so sure?”
“I remember your face, I sketched it as soon as I woke up and I showed it to a friend of mine, she told me that it was you”
“And you wanted to write about me based on the dream?”
“As of now, I am not planning on a novel or an article, I want to write about you in my journal”
She continued smiling at me. There was something mystical about that smile, the gaze in her eyes that made me want to well up and hold her tight and break into tears.
“Close your eyes”, she told me.
“Take long deep breaths”. I did. “Exhale out completely, repeat this a few times”. I did.
“Empty your mind”. I tried but something or the other kept popping up.
“It’s ok, the thoughts will go”, she said reassuringly.
A few moments later I felt light, like I was floating. My mind was surprisingly calm. I thought I saw a light in front of me. It came from behind a door. I thought my mind was playing tricks on me. I imagined (or I thought I imagined) opening the door and I stepped on to the plains I had dreamt about. The snow was no longer there. It was bright and sunny. I looked for the temple, it was no longer there. I searched for Enola. I walked towards a pond that I don’t remember having seen in the dream and knelt beside it. I looked at my reflection. There she was – Enola, staring back at me through my own reflection. It was then that I realized, I was her. But then, who was Meda? Why was her face reflecting on mine?
An eagle soared above my head. I saw it’s reflection in the pond. It was a great Golden Eagle. It let out a cry. Was I imagining this? Or had I fallen asleep again and dreaming about this? The eagle then came and perched on a small rock in front of me and looked at me as if asking “Don’t you recognize me?”. I felt a strange connection with the eagle. I saw its eyes, the eyes were clear and it bore resemblance to someone I knew. I then realized that the eagle was Meda. I put my hand out to touch it, it pecked me and I opened my eyes with a start.
She sat in front of me, she was pinching my arm. “I called out to you, you wouldn’t wake up, so I had to pinch you. Sorry.” , she laughed.
“What was that?”, I asked her.
“Miss writer, why don’t you comprehend that?”, she asked mischievously.
“I beg of you, tell me what was that”
“What do you think?”
“You and I were, are the same?”
“Yes, the master and the disciple are but one. You were my disciple in another birth. I was your Dyami (Eagle). That is why, we have connected once again in this birth.”
“Was this deliberate? You connecting with me? Did you .. “, wait what was I asking? I didn’t even believe in all this. What another birth? What Dyami?
I think she sensed my confusion. She offered me a cup of tea. I was reluctant to take it, what if it was intoxicated? What if it caused more hallucinations? Yes this is what I was experiencing, hallucinations!
“Don’t worry, its safe. Drink up”, she said. How on earth was she reading my mind? I didn’t want to be rude, so I drank the tea, thanked her and left. I can say I almost ran out of there.
I had an early dinner and decided to hit the sack early. I lay down and closed my eyes. There was something in me that wanted to go back to that valley again. It felt peaceful there, I felt like I belonged there. I closed my eyes and let my mind take me back there. I still couldn’t understand if I was actually having visions or dreams or was my mind playing tricks on me.
I fell asleep almost instantly. The visions clouded my mind. The green meadow, the hills.. I couldn’t see the pond. I looked around for it. I heard bells tinkling, the kind of bells you hear from a cow’s neck. I looked around and saw an ox walking lazily. I followed the ox. It led me to the temple I had dreamt of a few days ago, it turned a corner, I followed it and Voila! There was the pond. The water was like a mirror, clear and the reflections steady. The blue sky with little clouds, the mountains, and me. I was wearing long braids decked with feathers and a brown and black stole kind of a thing wrapped around me. That wasn’t me. I had short hair in reality. But again, I knew it was me. The eagle soared above me letting out a shrill cry.
I opened my eyes. This was getting too complicated to write about. I looked at the time on my wrist watch. It was 4am. I couldn’t sleep. I switched on my laptop. There were no emails. I felt quite restless. I opened google and typed in “visions of eagles and oxen”, just for the heck of it you know. There was nothing that related to how I felt. I then typed “Dreams of eagles and oxen”. I found a dream interpretation link. Eagles it said meant a positive symbol, a guide perhaps. And oxen meant reaching your goal.
I wondered what that could mean. I remembered she said she was my , what was it again? Yes, Dyami. I googled the word. “Dyami is a Native American word for Eagle”. I googled Enola. “The Solitary One”. Out of curiosity, I googled her name, and it meant Prophetess. I dug deeper into my research. According to Native Indians, an Eagle represented a spiritual guide. What was going on? I debated if I ought to reach out to her and ask her. My rational brain refused to give in. I scratched my head feeling restless. There was something in my hair. I slowly pulled it out – and it was a feather. I threw it and jumped out of my chair. I was now beginning to get scared. This wasn’t a dream. This was the exact feather I saw in the dream, it was an Eagle feather. Where did it come from?
I threw on a jacket and ran to her house. I rang the bell. She opened it and smiled at me. She didn’t look like she had been sleeping.
“Won’t you come in?”, she asked in her musical voice. I was breathless from running. I went inside and sat on the couch. Words failed me. I couldn’t tell her why was I there. Something was stuck in my throat. She get me hot tea and stroked my head.
I was so overcome by emotions I wanted to hug her. There was something so irresistible about her, I found myself falling in love with her, the kind of love you would have towards your sister, or towards your mother – or towards God. I kept staring at her foolishly.
“Drink up”, she said. I nodded feebly and drank the tea.
“That wasn’t a dream”, she said. I sat up. I hadn’t spoken a word so far.
“That was you and me, back home.”
“Home?”, I asked.
“Yes Enola. Home.”, she asked.
“I want to go there then, for good. I want to go home”, I said. I knew I wanted to be with her in that valley. And thinking about the valley gave my restless mind immense peace. I have always been a solitary person, never had a boyfriend, never wanted to stay with my family, didn’t really have friends. But for some reason, I wanted to be with her forever.
She bent over and kissed my forehead. “All in good time. You need rest now”, she said and took me into a room with a bed. I took off my shoes and my jacket and slept like a baby. I had no more dreams.
I met her regularly after that. Nothing could keep me away from her. She taught me a lot about meditation and God. I loved her intensely. She was always full of positive energy.
Many years later, one evening, I went to see her. She was in the hospital counting her last breath. She was well into her sixties now. But she still held that beauty and radiance in her face.
“I am preparing to go home”, she said with a twinkle in her eye.
“Home? I thought this was your home”, I said sitting beside her.
“I am going back to our home Enola”, she always called me Enola.
“I am coming with you”, I told her.
“No, no it is not yet time. You have work to do”, she said.
“Don’t leave me”, I said my eyes welling up.
“Who said I was leaving you? My body may leave this earth but my spirit will always be with you.” With this she took a few rapid breaths and she was gone. Just like that! Leaving me all alone. I cried shamelessly. I hugged her body and wailed out loud. I don’t remember what happened after that, I must’ve fainted.
The next day after her funeral, I was walking back home. I passed by her house and decided to pay a last visit. I opened the door and walked in. It now felt so empty without her. I walked from one room to another. I saw her picture on the mantelpiece , the one with me and her in it. I let few tears roll down my cheek. I sighed, and was about to walk out when I heard a sound by the window. I peeped in and saw a great golden eagle sitting on the window. I smiled. The Eagle stared at me deep into my eyes and then flew away. I knew she was there to remind me that she was with me in spirit. I closed the door behind me and left with a heavy heart. The Eagle soared in the sky following me back to my house.