Spring Fever

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Apr 1st, 2013
Mel
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WelcomeSpring Fever

I live in a very friendly town called Glen Rock, New Jersey. It is much like many small towns in America, with tree lined streets, manicured lawns, and plenty of parks. One of my favorite places is the Glen Rock Arboretum, a sanctuary of trees and plants, and a frequent stopping place for me during my long fitness walks.

 

Today was warm and sunny, so I put on my sweats and walkers, and hauled myself out the door to get back in shape after a very long winter of inactivity. It took a while for my muscles to warm up, but once I approached the park, seeing this flag near the entrance made me pick up my pace and rush to see how things looked since the big clean-up from Superstorm Sandy took place.

 

Since I had walked two miles to get to the Arboretum (I took an extended trip in the opposite direction to get there), I decided to take a rest on one of the wooden park benches at the southwestern end of the lake.

Strange Ripples

Strange Ripples

As I was enjoying the view, an odd variation in the water began, and sent waves of small ripples in my direction. I watched the phenomenon in amazement, and thought it was just the wind playing tricks on me.

 

Suddenly, the sky changed color! I sat back on the bench and looked up at the yellow vision above my head. What was going on? The sky was just blue, with a few billowy clouds floating by every now and then. I got up to get a better view, but felt heavy and dizzy. What was going on here? Was I about to die? I hadn’t even enjoyed any Easter leftovers yet. That was just unfair!

Yellow Vortex

Yellow Vortex

 

What happened next was just plain crazy, and I couldn’t believe that nobody else was witnessing this. Where did the man walking his dog disappear to? I could have sworn he was just over on the other end of the lake waiting for his dog to do its “business.” I shook my head and stood up again, but found myself falling down onto the gravel path and must have lost consciousness. When I awake, I felt very light and a bit confused.

Heaven?

Heaven?

Why was everything SO big? I brushed myself off and walked towards the lake, which now resembled a rocky ocean coast. How had I gotten here? Was this heaven?  I’m not sure why I decided to take off my sneakers and socks, and walk into the water, but before I knew it, I was under the sea, swimming through the clear water towards a beautiful area of green, blue, and yellow vegetation. I happened upon a hidden underwater forest, and a garden of the most beautiful white and pale blue lichen I had ever seen. I couldn’t help but wonder how I was breathing under the water, but then again, I wasn’t sure if I was still of the planet Earth. I pushed this out of my mind and swam on. Who cared that I was not a “Water Person?” Yes, I was born under the sign of Aquarius, but all I ever really got out of Astrology was my weak ankles and my vivid imagination. So, I swam on.

Under The Sea

Under The Sea

 

Lichen

Lichen

HIdden Forest

HIdden Forest

 

As I swam on, the colors changed to reds and purples, and I swam past what resembled a coral reef. I reached out to touch it, but heard a voice say, “You must not touch me. Move on. You must go to see the Madonna in the cave and receive directions from her.”

Coral Reef?

Coral Reef?

When I went to say something, I got a mouth full of water, and a reminder to, “Move on!” How was I going to find the Madonna in “the” cave? There were caves all over the place down here. The water began to fade a bit, and one area appeared to have a white halo around it. This must be where one would find a “Madonna.” The thought that Heaven may be under the sea flashed through my head, along with an old Disney song that my daughter Nola loved as a young child. I approached the area and saw a deep cave. Far in the distance, the Madonna materialized. She looked busy preparing a meal as her child looked on in anticipation.

 

Madonna & Child

Madonna & Child

They both turned , looked at me, and smiled. “We’ve been expecting you. You’re late and must hurry to catch the next vine to the Lost City,” she said to me in a odd Irish Brogue. “Swim towards the orange waters and grab onto the first vine you see. Now, go!”

 

I took off as fast as I could, perfecting my dolphin kick as I looked for the orange-hued waters to appear. As I swam, I thought back to the year that I decided to re-teach myself all of the swimming strokes. I bought a book on stroke technique, and a membership to my local Illinois YMCA. They had late evening adult lap swim most nights, which fit in with my crazy work schedule. For one full year, I practiced all of the strokes, and got pretty good at all but the Butterfly, which my back doctor suggested I forgo learning. I moved from the slow lanes, shared with other slow-pokes, and progressed into the center lanes, where I eventually swam my first continuous mile. It was also my last, as I ended up having back surgery shortly after my big accomplishment.

Next Vine Out

Next Vine Out

This trip down Memory Lane was interrupted by a significant change in the water temperature. Thoughts of Hell entered my mind and I swam into the murkiness of the world of vines. I grabbed onto this huge slimy vine and was pulled out of the depths of the colorful ocean. The phrase “Tattoos on My soul.” ran through my head. Wasn’t writing about that topic the my reason for starting My Ink Project with Sj back in 2011? Wow, I hadn’t written anything for our blog in ages. Why was that? I had forgotten.

City in Ruins

City in Ruins

 

I gasped as oxygen entered my lungs again. But, something was very wrong. Nothing had any color, and it appeared that I had come up out of Paradise and landed in the waters of a Lost City. Was I in Atlantis? No, that was under water now. Where had I emerged to? I was tired of this adventure and just wanted to go home again.

 

I dragged myself out of the water and walked through the decaying streets. The monotone of the landscape was bleak, and I felt very alone and sad. I walked and walked, but the maze of pillars seemed to go on forever.

Maze of Grey

Maze of Grey

Maybe I was in Purgatory?

 

Eventually, I saw light shining through the darkness, and came upon the outside. It was no better than the tunnels. Everything was in shades of grey, and the further I walked, the more depressed I became. I must have gone on for several miles until I found a huge fence. As I peered through the chain-link, I noticed a splotch of color on the other side. It looked like a freshly cut

No Escape

No Escape

tree stump, and offered a touch of texture and brown and tan hues to my field of vision. Things looked a bit brighter on the other side. I needed to escape. I followed the fence until it ended. There was nothing blocking my path, and up ahead, I thought I noticed a glimmer of gold shining off the asphalt. I continued to walk, albeit a bit tentatively, and couldn’t help but feel watched, even though I had not seen another human being, or animal for that matter, for several hours now. Even under the waters of the Tattoo Sea, I had seen no fish or other ocean life. Before fear could creep in, I sat down and prayed for a bit. I asked God for guidance and help, and found myself in tears. Was I really dead? Is this what the after-life was like?

 

I decided to move on, and found myself faced with a very large directive, and a very different sort of “watch dog.” This is what I saw.

STOP!

STOP!

 

Petrified Gator

Petrified Gator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Gator” was sitting on a pile of leaves, just past the “STOP” sign. I wasn’t sure if he still had any teeth, but didn’t want to find out either. I asked him if I could pass and try to find my way back home. He smiled and said, “Sure! You’ve come this far. I haven’t seen a soul get this far in centuries. If you can find your way back home, remember me in your writings.” Of course, I quickly agreed and stepped across the white line.

 

At first, things were muted in tone and difficult to understand, but gradually, color returned to the landscape, and along with it, my hope.

Glimmer of Hope

Glimmer of Hope

I saw several signs along the way, which made me realize I was heading in the right direction.

Iron Horse

Iron Horse

Alien Sign?

Alien Sign?

 

I stopped and asked the stoic Iron Horse which way I should go. I had come to a “Y” in the road, and there were no signs directing me on where they led to. He was stubborn at first, and a bit rusty from years of being tied up and not speaking to anyone, but he eventually managed to squeak out, “Why, you must follow the yellow brick road.” I started to laugh, and asked, “Who are you, the Horse of a Different Color from the Wizard of Oz?” He grew very terse and snorted his nose towards the right. When I looked in that direction, this appeared before me.

Follow Me

Follow Me

 

I must admit that I was skeptical, but went ahead and did as he said. I followed the VERY yellow brick road, and of course, it led me directly into a creepy forest. I did not complain, as this forest was green and lush, and the delicate smell of some unknown flowers tickled my nose with splendor. I realized I had not smelled anything since I first entered the Arboretum. I strolled down the golden path without looking around much. After all, Dorothy met up with a lot of weird creatures on her trip down LSD Lane, and I was getting hungry. As I walked past a small structure, I heard a woman crying.

Friend or Foe?

Friend or Foe?

I followed the sound and met up with what I thought was a witch. She had a really big nose and very rosy cheeks. Her makeup reminded me of a woman who once stayed at my mom’s house and used my new “blush” in a similar fashion. In fact, her Mona Lisa smile and fluffy white hair reminded me of Aunt Fran. I shuddered at the memory, but asked her why she was weeping. She looked up at me and said, “I’ve lost my husband and don’t know where he is.”

 

Her voice was hoarse from calling out for him. When I asked how long she had been looking for him, she replied, “Oh, it’s been at least five or ten years now.” I gave her my finest Mona Lisa smile back and nodded my head. “That’s a long time. Shall I help you find him?” She thought about it for a while, then said, “He was to meet me at our special place, but I forgot where it was. We hadn’t been there in many years. It was a pretty place, with lovely purple light and many trees and flowers.”

Full Circle

Full Circle

She described her husband to me, and a light suddenly went off in my brain. I knew just where to find her long lost spouse!

 

An odd feeling came over me, and my body started to change! Things began to grow smaller and my new friend no longer looked like a witch. I picked her up and walked out of the woods. Imagine my surprise when I found myself back right where I had started my adventure. I was back in the Arboretum! I took Mona Lisa, as I had started calling her, and showed her the rock that was near the supply cottage. She just continued to grin. That’s when I realized that she was really a ceramic doll, who was missing her body! I had been talking to an elf head!  I took a deep breath and marched over to the lost and found “mailbox.”  Just as I was about to put her into the metal abyss of forgotten items, I noticed a sparkle coming from the glass encased information center. I walked over and saw “who” we had been searching for. Her husband! He was very happy to see her. I placed her in the cabinet and snapped this photo. I closed the glass lid, certain that the folks at the Arboretum would be thrilled to have Santa and Mrs. Claus back together again.

Reunited

Reunited

 

I looked around the Arboretum and saw the colors of Spring attempting to show themselves. Trees budding, tiny flowers blooming, and tall chives poking through the pale grass, made me feel a bit better about my journey into The Twilight Zone. The sound of someone walking on gravel caught my ear, and as I turned to walk down the road and out of the park, an old woman came towards me, walking her little dog. I smiled at her as we passed one another, and she nodded at me in response. The dog barked and looked at me with impatience. He did not want his normally chatty mama to stop and chew my ear off. There were trees to pee on and plants to sniff.

 

I walked back home and realized that I had locked myself out of the house. The spare key was not in its usual spot, and I went around back to see if the patio door was unlocked. That turned out to be a bust, and nobody was in the kitchen or TV room. I was tired, sore, and thirsty, and about to sit and wait for someone to turn down the music and hear me knocking and calling out, when I heard someone humming. I thought my daughter was in the upstairs bathroom, but when I listened carefully, realized that the sound was coming from the basement.

I peered over the deck railing and checked. Yes, she was in the basement. Hooray! I ran down the stairs to the yard, and knocked on the door. “Hey Nola! Let me in. I’m locked out.” She unlocked the metal door and opened it slowly. As I walked down the three wooden steps, I noticed that she was wearing an orange-checked bandana and looked out of sorts. I turned and locked the door and turned back to see this dangling in my face!

Seeing Blue

Seeing Blue

 

I let out a gasp and she just laughed. “Haha! I ran out of vinyl gloves and dyed some things without them! Pretty creepy, right?”  I laughed back and made some comment about needing to eat something as I dashed up the stairs and into the kitchen. Everything appeared normal. The dishes were still in the sink and my cat Oliver was asleep on the sofa. He looked up at me and meowed, then went back to sleep.

As I walked towards the refrigerator, I noticed the date on the calendar was wrong. I flipped over the month and stared. Maybe my adventure was just Spring Fever or an April Fool’s Day spoof…or maybe not. You tell me.

The Basement Door

The Basement Door

 

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