Archive for cabin

Touchy-Feely

Posted in Lucerne Village, Mystical Experience with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2012 by javedbabar

Shama was very fond of Zadam, the strange man with an upside-down head and senses reversed. Since he had met him last week, crossing the railway tracks, they had visited the coffee shop and community centre together, and met up in other places too. It was difficult to know where to go with Zadam. Wherever they went, people stared.

It was the first time that most people had seen someone with mouth and eyes reversed on his head. They didn’t even know about his ability to smell what things would become, his ability to see all sides of a situation, and his ability to hear answers rather than questions. He was an odd-bod indeed.

How about visiting the museum together; was that a good idea? Shama’s ex-wife, Dimpy, was director there, but it was a part-time position, only one or two days a week. He could go on a day when she wasn’t working.

After the split he had followed her to Lucerne in the misguided hope of reconciliation. They had never made up, and she wouldn’t let him see their daughter either. He didn’t have money to hire a lawyer right now, so would fight when he could afford to. He didn’t want to think about it; it hurt too much.

They entered the museum grounds, a few small buildings scattered around a courtyard. There wasn’t a “main museum”, but rather a collection of historic cabins filled with antiques. The cabins had been donated to, or purchased by, the museum, dismantled, transported and rebuilt.

When they entered the Roseman Cabin, Shama said to Zadam, “Please don’t touch anything. It is not allowed.”

“No touching, no touching,” said Zadam. “I don’t need to do touching. I can feel what things are like already.”

So this is another one of his qualities, thought Shama. Great! But he kept an eye on Zadam as they wandered around the cabins, looking at hand-tinted photographs, tin chamber pots, bunk-beds, and horsehair-stuffed sofas.

One cabin had been set up as a village classroom, with a large slate board and a dozen small desks. On the board was written: “Greek philosophers: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle.”

“I know about him,” said Zadam, suddenly excited. He danced the beginning of a jig. His large green coat crumpled and filled like a hot air balloon being prepared for launch. I had better get him out of the museum, thought Shama, before he breaks something, but Zadam was bursting to say something, which would only be possible once he stopped moving. “He was the stupidest man ever!”

“Who?”

“Aristotle! He said we have five senses. He said we have sight, and hearing, and taste, and smell, and touch.” He restarted the jig, and couldn’t speak for a while. “What about balance, and temperature, and posture, and pain, and time? He only knew about half of them! What about the rest? I studied them all in the hospital. I have them all! You have them all! We have them all!”

They continued looking around the cabins. They saw a baby’s crib, a tin bath, a tea urn, and then a rosewood pipe. Zadam began dancing again, and chanting, and crying. “They are all dead!” he said. “The people are dead. The things are dead. We will be dead.”

“Not for a long time,” said Shama.

“But I can feel it already.”

Future Church

Posted in Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2012 by javedbabar

Shama had performed casual labour over the years, but was not a trained builder, never mind a member of the International Code Council. He was totally unqualified for the job of Building Control Officer. The situation in Lucerne was dire though; they needed a BCO immediately, and he was offered the job without him asking.

The previous BCO had disappeared, and so had his diary. Shama had no idea of his schedule. The best thing was to just sit and wait. At ten past ten a call came through on the main switchboard. “Good morning!” said a cheery male voice. “I’ve been trying to get hold of a BCO for a month now, but without success. I hear you’ve taken the position. How’s your day looking?”

Shama said, “Erm, I have some windows available.” He had heard project managers use this term on site. Windows. It seemed appropriate for construction projects.

“That’s great! You guys are usually so busy that we wait for weeks. There must be a dip in the building trade. My name’s Simon. What time shall I come over?”

Shama didn’t want him to come over. There was a huge stack of papers, a wall of manuals, a pile of lego bricks, and a playground of executive toys in his office. They gave the impression that he sat around amusing himself and rarely bothered with work. It would be better to meet the applicant at his place. It would provide a better idea of the project too. Shama said, “I’ll come to you at two.”

“You’re coming here? Really? Uh-oh! What have I done? You guys never come here otherwise…”

“That’s not the case,” said Shama, fiddling with lego bricks on his desk. He built a red squat structure. He also set chrome balls swinging to knock it down. “It makes more sense for me to see what you’re doing there. I will understand the big picture. Drawings and forms are only indications. I’d rather see what is going on.”

“That’s a healthy attitude you’ve got there, son.”

Shama wondered how the man knew his age. He must have a young voice. The man gave him the address and told him to “keep his eyes peeled” for the driveway, which was “your usual two tire tracks in the bush”.

Shama drove twenty kilometres out of town in the BCO’s truck – a silver Nissan Frontier. It was too clean and shiny for a work truck. Did the previous guy ever do any work? Shama found the driveway and drove right in.

In the centre of a cleared half-acre was a strange metal structure. It was like a small space ship that had landed there, with a blast radius around it. Had the guy burnt out the clearing? Maybe the structure had been dropped in by helicopter.

An alien appeared. It turned out to be Simon, wearing green overalls and goggles. He said, “It was already here when I bought the land. I want to extend it. It reminds me of a small chapel and I want to build a three-storey tower next to it, so it looks like a futuristic church – you know one of those English medieval ones, but in metal.”

This was unconventional, thought Shama, but imagine the sweeping views from the tower, and echoing river sounds in the chapel. Most seekers find solace alone. This would be a great spot. You could aspire to the heavens, then be baptized in the river, and walk within the Garden of Eden. Imagine how much professional people would pay to rent this. A thousand a week? It could kick-start spiritual tourism in the area.

He said to Simon, “Okay, go ahead.”

Re-Search

Posted in Global Travel, Mystical Experience, Unknown with tags , , , , , on March 31, 2012 by javedbabar

In Varanasi Robby had met an old man with waist-length dreadlocks wearing saffron robes. He was sitting on the banks of the Ganges with a mass of jumbled jewellery, and marigolds in his hair being nibbled by the occasional cow. He said to Robby, “There is no search; there is only re-search.”

Saffron-shirted Robby was fully immersed in India, and had even taken a Vedic name, Karma. He said, “What do you mean by that?”

The old man said, “Do you think that this is the first time we have lived? We have existed countless times in an endless universe! Everything is known already! It has been done already! You have no power. You cannot do anything. So re-search for true knowledge. Otherwise you are just wasting time.”

“But if time repeats itself, then why does that matter?” He was all for Indian holy talk but also needed logical veracity. Why would it matter? Why would anything matter?

The old man said, “This you must discover for yourself.”

“Can’t you tell me?” said Robby, annoyed. Why was he talking to this guy anyway? He wasn’t telling him anything new. Just another holy man wanting cash probably. But he hadn’t yet asked Robby to make a “donation to God”. The old man instructed him to bathe in the Ganga River, to chant great mantras, to pray to the home of the Gods, Mt. Kalash, and to make holy designs with coloured powders. “Do re-search,” he said and turned away.

Robby had pretty much forgotten the old man, but every now and then his silly phrase came to mind. “There is no search; there is only re-search.”

After many years of travelling, Robby washed up in Lucerne. It was a beautiful Valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains, cedar, fir, and pine forests, and glacial rivers. He spent most of his time in a cabin on the riverbank, and worked occasionally stacking shelves or pumping gas. It was an easy life but he felt that something was missing. The old man’s words came back to him, and also his epilogue, “Otherwise you are just wasting time.”

What did he mean by re-search? Did that just mean finding again something that was lost or forgotten? This sounded like a regressive activity. Maybe that thing had been forgotten for a reason. The vegan yogini he was dating in India told him of horrors such as witch-burning and widow-burning. Why would you want to re-search for these? Best to forget them.

Could he have meant research, meaning looking into things further. This sounded more progressive. You could look at old newspapers, magazines, and books, or search online. There was plenty of information on everything, you just needed the skills to delve and sift. Decide whether to trust Wikipedia’s 4 million amateur articles, or stick with the 100,000 professional ones on Encyclopaedia Britannica. Grass roots versus experts.

But surely even better than research was search – actively finding things, real things, rather than their records? Real people and places during real adventures! The Knights of King Arthur’s Round Table didn’t sit in Camelot doing research; they went on a Quest for the Holy Grail. Robby had heard that there was a difference between looking and seeing. Everybody looks – for example at a blank canvas, or empty steppe desert – but few people see – like Picasso saw Guernica, or Genghis Khan saw Mongolia. Underlying any search lay the ability to see. It was all about awareness.

But was not seeing also a secondary act, witnessing what existed already? Prior to seeing must come creation. Was this notion contained in the S of see, a fluid symbol of being like the Taijitu –Yin-Yang – symbol. SSSsss… like a snake. The serpent that lay coiled at the base of your spine, awaiting stimulation. Ready to arise, energizing your chakras one by one – your base, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye, and crown. Like the serpent at the base of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, that tempted Eve to offer Adam the evil apple. A being of power but also of danger. The serpent lives in both worlds – both upon the earth in light, and beneath it in darkness. By coiling a snake around Mt. Meru and churning the milky ocean, gods and demons created the world.

The old man had said, “There is no search; there is only re-search.” Was this his ultimate meaning? The S curving like the shape of the lingam – egg shaped symbol of Siva, the world’s destroyer and regenerator, which curved like Einstein’s notion of space-time. A completed curve made a circle, a circus, a circuit, a cycle. A beginning and returning.

Robby sat beside the river and repeated the old man’s rituals as best he could there. He bathed in the River Lilly, chanted forgotten mantras, prayed to Mt. Negra, and made holy designs in sand with his fingers. He recalled his Vedic name, Karma, meaning action.

Then he thought to himself, what on earth am I doing sitting on my ass here in the forest – a grown man with no job, house, money, or purpose – when I have the whole world and my whole life before me. Robby’s ten years of re-search were complete. He arose, got dressed and walked down the road.

All White

Posted in Lucerne Village, Sacred Geometry with tags , , , , , on March 23, 2012 by javedbabar

There was a knock on Shane’s door. At first he thought it was a fallen bird, or a branch hitting the roof, but then there was another knock, and then a third. He checked his watch – it was 9.15. They were way too early; Martin had said that they’d come at 10.

He shouted, “Just coming!” slipped out of bed, and pulled on his dressing gown. He turned down the music – a tune produced just for him by multi-instrumentalist Seth. He didn’t have time to listen to it now though. The “motivated buyers” were here. He had to show them the main house.

Shane was greeted by two enthusiastic faces, both brown. “Hi, we’re Dev and Priya,” said the man. “And you must be Shane.”

Shane said, “Yes, welcome to Lucerne.”

“I’m sorry we’re so early,” said Dev. “We set off on time, but the journey was much quicker than expected. Have they upgraded the road from the City? It’s better than the last time we came, isn’t it honey?” She nodded, and he continued. “Well, we’ve come all this way to see the house, so may as well take a good look. I hope you don’t mind.” He started to laugh, like a donkey braying, but cut it short.

“No, that’s ok. I was up anyway,” said Shane. “But you’ve got me in my pyjamas rather than my business suit.”

“Were you going to wear a business suit?” said Priya. “It wasn’t necessary.”

“I was just joking,” said Shane. Priya cackled like a hyena, but cut it short. After Seth’s soothing music – gentle layers of wind, rivers, and waterfalls, added strings and hand drums, with flowing chants which appeared and eased – their laughs were fierce assaults. Their braying and cackling had chased away his peace of mind. He said, “Come in. Would you like some tea?”

Over tea, Dev said, “I’m a doctor and Priya is a lawyer. We’re thinking of getting away from the City. Somewhere more natural and beautiful, with a better sense of community. Of course we’ll keep our place in the City. Keep our options open.”

Shane asked them to wait five minutes and changed into yesterday’s clothes. He could shower later. His rented cabin was near the road. The main house was a hundred metres into the forest, along a gravel driveway. He said to them, “Please follow me.”

The property for sale was a boxy 3-storey house with red bat’n’board siding. It covered 4,000 SF officially, but almost 6,000 SF if you included the basement. It was an abode of ample proportions.

“Wow!” said Dev. “Much bigger than expected!”

“Great value for $500,000,” said Priya. “Three big floors – just imagine what we could do with them.”

“What were you thinking of doing?” said Shane.

“We thought of making the inside entirely white,” she said. “Plain white, endless white, white as far as the eye can see. Walls, carpets, sofas, bookshelves, everything white.”

“Why so much white?”

“It’s a colour that appeals to everyone. I began my career working at an insurance company. Vehicles came in and out. The white ones sold most quickly. No one hates white.”

“But do people like white?” said Shane.

“That’s not what counts. What matters is that they don’t hate white.”

“That’s right,” said Dev. “We repainted our rental apartment white and doubled the rent. That’s what we might do here if we decide not to stay. Repaint and sell it.”

Shane was intrigued by their philosophy. It was opposite to that of the current owners. His landlords loved colour. You could compile a whole Pantone book by taking swatches from their home. Red leather sofas sat on green wool carpets, blue metal vases balanced on yellow plaster pillars, carved silver doorframes were set with embossed golden doors. Lilac acrylic cabinets contained fancy teal china. Tangerine wood kitchen counters had an antique peach kettle and modern mango pots. A square navy table was set with tiny crimson teacups. Small monochrome etchings faced huge fluorescent digital prints. They were both artists and collectors. Makers and patrons. The being and the becoming. Their home was a living record of their fabulous lives.

Their happiness was here. Their inspiration and illumination was here. Their wounds and healing. Their grieving. Their celebrations. And most recently – lovely photos of their first grandchild – their completion. They were a wonderful couple who had built a true home, and also provided one for people in need, like minimum-wage Shane.

He showed Dev and Priya around the main floor. The lounge where the current owners watched Casablanca for the fortieth time, and said to each other, “Here’s looking at you, kid.” The kitchen where they’d roasted the fattest turkeys in the Valley, stuffed with cranberries, sage, oranges, and that special ingredient: Old Speckled Hen beer. The garden where a marquee had been raised, filled with golden planets and silver stars, and their happy, handsome son had been married. Shane showed them upstairs.  The bedrooms where dreams had filled their imaginations, and where they had loved each other fully. The bathroom where they had cleansed their bodies, and washed their worries away. The balcony from which they’d watched sunrises and sunsets together. Shane showed them downstairs. The guts of the house – the boilers, tanks, pipes, and cables – that fed and nourished this haven. The storage areas filled with past and future lives.

Shane had nothing against this young professional couple. They seemed like nice people. Next-generation immigrants with endless ambition. But they were not the right people to own this house. They understood nothing about it.

“Look,” he said. “I shouldn’t really tell you this. But did you know that the previous owners were murdered here? That’s why it’s so cheap.”

The motivated buyers seemed less motivated now. “Who by?” they asked.

“No one knows,” said Shane. “But they shouldn’t have tried to sell this house.”

The Bear Truth

Posted in Lucerne Village, Unknown with tags , , , on January 6, 2012 by javedbabar

[The following is a transcript taken at the village circuit court.]

“There were mud flecks and wet smudges around my cabin. No respect for private property, bloody brats. The builder was on a two-week holiday: skiing-snowboarding-snowmobiling, and paragliding-canoeing-mountainbiking, all readily available in ‘Super, Natural’ British Columbia. I was annoyed with him for not finishing the job before taking off, but recreation comes before creation here. Bastard builder.

“During construction often there were things out of place, but nothing untoward. Things blown about – could be wind. Things distressed – could be sun. Things softened – could be rain. But the day the builder left there was evidence of tampering, someone trying the door. The handle was jarred from being forced too far, and hinges loosened by a jolt. Someone was trying to get into the cabin!

“The next day all the flyscreens were torn. Their slides were jammed and runners twisted – dried insects revealed, their corpses falling apart. And upon the glass were wet nose probing and stiff hairs. So not a brat after all, it seems, but a beast. Now to figure out the nature of this furry felon.

“The third day, the walls were battered. Something had to be done. A monkey I realized would not have behaved in this way. A famous experiment at Berlin Zoo had shown that they were methodical. They would have picked off the batts, one by one, and stacked them up nicely. And a dog would have just humped the walls or pissed on them, not tried to destroy them. So it was certainly a bear.

“The fourth day’s target was the floor. The usual entry points had proved invulnerable. Now, like great generals before him: Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Saddam – the bear was trying flanking manoeuvres. He was broadening the battlefield and busting boards. Dunes had appeared across this beige expanse of tongue-in-groove desert, but the invader had been repulsed.

“The fifth day was another day of vertical thinking, but this time, higher up. A torn-off maple branch had been used as a lever, prying off a roof panel. But the position of the snowstop had limited leverage. There may have been further jumping on the roof to mimic the effect of an avalanche, but the roof was built for a Coastal Range snow load, and didn’t buckle.

“The sixth day, the bear tried to trick its way right under my nose. My firewood is cut and bagged for the year in 100 lbs bundles. The bag I chose seemed heavier than usual, and there were no hard edges or clacking sounds. Something’s up, I thought, and left the bag right there. Later I heard canvas tearing, a burst of sneezing, and something padding through the dust.

“On the seventh day, I was relaxing in front of the fireplace, sipping Hoffmeister beer, when I sensed something was awry. Smoke was swirling in the firebox where there’d been none before. And it wasn’t just swirling, it was forming. Flames were stretched out, concentrating into sharp points, and clawing. There were sudden sparks, and the glass door flew open, raked marks on the soot inside. A plume paw reached out of the firebox towards me. I slammed shut the glass door, damped down the flue, and watched the claw rake ashes in anger and disappear.

“This was clearly a declaration of war. I realized I must be on the battlefield now, always bear aware. So at the beginning of the builder’s second week of holiday, I decided to initiate a programme of ‘Super Cultural’ lifestyle additions. First up was a camping stove. My pot of local veggies was soon ready, but something didn’t smell right. Gas was escaping unburned. It held a sweet, sweat stench – that of a dirty jungle animal. I quickly turned off this smell of bear. I would rather go hungry.

“My eco-friend from the City came up on the ninth day, and helped to install a 200 watt polycrystalline solar panel on the roof. However, even when the sun was shining all day, quite enough to run a bush hot tub, no power was generated. No photons could reach the carbon, for it was blocked by an earthly constellation, the blackness of the Great Bear.

“The most basic need of the human body is water. So on day ten, I banged a drain onto the edge of the roof, set a pipe off it into a barrel, and laid down layers of grass, charcoal and gravel. A simple filter to remove traces of bird and bat shit. After a hot day’s work I took a long, cool mouthful of the blessed holy water. But its gamey undertaste of fur-dripped liquid made me retch.

“Day eleven I called BC Hydro. They came and hooked me up that day. With the latest technology, I would surely be invincible. I put sensors all around the cabin. That first night I sat back smugly, only to have one sensor trip off, then another, then them all. How could that be? The transformer was humming strangely. I laid my hand upon it, and a shot of juice tore up through my arm – sharp tingles like stiff hairs were pushed through my veins.

“I’d been struggling to survive for twelve days now, and realized I needed access to emergency response. Telus sent an engineer immediately to fit hard-wired certainty. No more shifting signals. I saved the numbers of RCMP, Dow Security, and Pony Espresso. I was ready for anything. The phone rang – my first caller. ‘Hello,’ I said. There was a moment of silence and shuffling. Maybe it was a test call or wrong number. Then came a pop, scrape, grunt, and growl.

“There must be others like me, harassed by bears. But where could I find them? Thirteen days alone, I said to Shaw, who immediately sent someone to fix me up with broadband. He added wireless for free. Tucked up in my loft bed, I searched for bear tips. One website in particular – Unbearable Bear – gave advice on the local area. I emailed the webmaster, who responded immediately: ‘Why don’t you ask me yourself? I’m downstairs on your desktop.’ I was too scared to sleep, and frozen in a terrible trance. What happened after that I can’t remember.”

“Is that the end of your statement, Mr. Mehl?”

“Yes it is, sir.”

“You have nothing to add – or detract?”

“No, sir.”

“And you are saying this under oath, you recall?”

“Yes, sir.”

“This is your truthful explanation of why you were found by Mr. Collins – your as-yet-unpaid builder – within his house? Upon returning from his holiday, he saw that you had broken down the front door, ransacked his freezer, were naked and smeared in honey, eating Very Berry cereal straight from the box, listening to the Elvis Presley single ‘Teddy Bear’, watching Grizzly Adams on cable, viewing pornographic materials on barebear.com, having scat in his bath, eaten his goldfish, and were about to escape with a bagful of domestic goods – to get you through hibernation, you say?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And you seriously expect me to believe that?”

“Sir, you must know something. I was living in a delusion, always thinking that the bear was breaking in. Then I realized the truth of the matter, that the bear was breaking out. I could no longer hide from myself. For I am The Be..!”

[The transcript ends here. Neither the judge nor court recorder survived the incident. The guard is still in a coma. The suspect escaped, and Lucerne RCMP and Lilly Tribal Police have broadcast an All Points Bulletin for his capture. Also present in the courtroom – it is believed for behavioural analysis – was an adult brown bear, which was sedated and later released by rangers into the Upper Lilly area.]