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Ozymandias

Spirit Encounters

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I swear on my life before God that what I am about to tell you is the simple, plain truth, and nothing but ...

My father was the Superintendant of one of the largest cemeteries in Ireland, a country renowned for its spirituality and tales of the otherworld. We lived as a family in a house in the cemetery with direct access both to the public road and into the cemetery itself. Together with my brothers and sisters I grew up in that house from the age of 4 until I left it aged 19. The house was 120 years old. 

The graveyard was even older and was my playground as a child. I played cowboys-and-indians and hide-and-seek amongst its tombstones and over its graves, and I knew every inch of it. I climbed all its trees, knew every bush and frolicked in its long grass and ivy-covered mounds and hollows.

Many's the time I found myself for one reason or another alone in its vastness, even on occasion at night-time in the dark. There are hundreds of thousands of people buried within its walls and I have witnessed dozens and dozens of funerals there. Having lived there for so long I have many memories from it, both good and bad.

My most beautiful memory comes from a time when I was 13 and it was winter. The cemetery had been closed to the public since 4pm. By 5pm it was dark and  soon afterwards it stared snowing heavily. By late evening everything lay buried under a deep white duvet of snow and then the skies cleared to reveal a full moon in all its brilliant glory. I walked out into the cemetery alone, enchanted by the silvery scene that lay before me, clear as day, leaving a trail of footprints behind me in the virgin snow. Here and there on the ground I saw little bird tracks and the prints of one of our resident foxes. That magical experience has never ever left me.

Another time I remember standing under a 200 year old oak tree in a violent early summer thunderstorm counting the seconds between the lightening flash and the rumbling growl of the thunder. That was supposed to tell us how far away in miles the thunder clouds were. As children we delighted in the spectacle around us which was accompanied by drenching rains that in the sunshine afterwards made the air smell earthily rich and pungent.

And what about spiritual encounters? Well, they were my spiritual encounters! Every day in that graveyard, without ever being conscious of it, I learned profound things about life and death, about renewal and decay, about me and my place in God's creation. My spirit communed with it all, good and bad.

I experienced members of my own extended family being interred there and on one occasion my grandfather moved from our house into our family grave. I learned about the cycle of life, the importance of the now, and of seeing that now in a broader context that gave it meaning.

In my entire 15 years growing up in that house and in that place I never once encountered anything remotely ghostly or disturbing, and neither did any of my family or anyone else connected with that cemetery. Nothing. There isn't even one ghost story that we know of associated with the cemetery that I can relate to you. All those hundreds of thousands of souls peacefully at rest there ...

... and my memories.

 

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What part of Ireland?

For whatever reason, I too have a specific vivid memory of being a young boy and walking out of my house late at night to traipse through a fresh, virgin snow. I remember the whiteness of the ground made the evening seem otherworldly, despite it being nearly midnight. Always stayed with me as one of the most peaceful moments of my childhood.

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19 minutes ago, Ozymandias said:

I played cowboys-and-Indians 

Kids in Ireland play cowboys-and-Indians?

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I recall a day shortly past Mid-Winter, just after an ice storm in my homeland of Minnesota.

I grabbed my skis and headed out to the forests of Afton nearby.

 

As I set out on the trail, the sun broke through the clouds and the entire forest, covered in a fresh layer of ice, began to shimmer and shine... A crystal forest alive with light and every breath of the wind was a sighing forest of icy wind chimes singing me on my way.

 

Magic.

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2 hours ago, papageorge1 said:

Kids in Ireland play cowboys-and-Indians?

If you grow up watching westerns you play cowboys and indians.

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1 hour ago, Eldorado said:

If you grow up watching westerns you play cowboys and indians.

Are you from Ireland?

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Posted (edited)

3 minutes ago, papageorge1 said:

Are you from Ireland?

As good as.

We're all related through drink.

Edited by Eldorado
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9 hours ago, Invisig0th said:

What part of Ireland?

For whatever reason, I too have a specific vivid memory of being a young boy and walking out of my house late at night to traipse through a fresh, virgin snow. I remember the whiteness of the ground made the evening seem otherworldly, despite it being nearly midnight. Always stayed with me as one of the most peaceful moments of my childhood.

Because I want my anonymity to remain intact I would rather not say, but it was a large city.

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9 hours ago, papageorge1 said:

Kids in Ireland play cowboys-and-Indians?

Sure did. I'm 64 now and was reared on a TV diet of American westerns; The Lone Ranger, The Cisco Kid, The Virginian, The High Chapparal, Boots and Saddles, ...etc. As an adult with a great interest in history I have learned that many of these programs were TV pastiches of the reality and fantasy creations of the broadcasting companies. I welcomed and appreciated the revisionist history of the Old West that emerged in the late sixties. 

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6 hours ago, Eldorado said:

As good as.

We're all related through drink.

Hi, Eldorado, if you go back far enough there's none need the drink! And didn't Gaelic culture invent whiskey (from uisce, the Irish word for water). 

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