I looked, and behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as ... a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show you the things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven.... and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment.... And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away....
I walked out to the edge of the granite overhang and looked northward at the scene below. Stretching across my view was a large Appalachian valley of striking beauty, perhaps six or seven miles long and five miles wide. Along the length of the valley ran a winding stream that coursed through stretches of open meadowland and thick, colorful forests---old forests, with trees standing hundreds of feet high.
I glanced down at the crude map in my hand. Everything in the valley coincided with the drawing exactly: the steep ridge on which I was standing, the road leading down, the description of the landscape and the stream, the rolling foothills beyond. This had to be the place Charlene had sketched on the note found in her office. Why had she done that? And why had she disappeared?
Over a month had now passed since Charlene had last contacted her associates at the research firm where she worked, and by the time Frank Sims, her officemate, had thought to call me, he had become clearly alarmed.
"She often goes off on her own tangents," he had said. "But she's never disappeared for this long before, and never when she had meetings already set with long-term clients. Something's not right."
"How did you know to call me?" I asked.
He responded by describing part of a letter, found in Charlene's office, that I had written to her months earlier chronicling my experiences in Peru. With it, he told me, was a scribbled note that contained my name and telephone number.
"I'm calling everyone I know who is associated with her," he added. "So far, no one seems to know a thing. judging from the letter, you're a friend of Charlene's. I was hoping you had heard from her."
"Sorry," I told him. "I haven't talked to her in four months."
Even as I had said the words, I couldn't believe it had been that long. Soon after receiving my letter, Charlene had telephoned and left a long message on my answering machine, voicing her excitement about the Insights and commenting on the speed with which knowledge of them seemed to be spreading. I remembered listening to Charlene's message several times, but I had put off calling her back-telling myself that I would call later, maybe tomorrow or the day after, when I felt ready to talk.
I knew at the time that speaking with her would put me in the position of having to recall and explain the details of the Manuscript, and I told myself I needed more time to think, to digest what had occurred.
The truth, of course, was that parts of the prophecy still eluded me. Certainly I had retained the ability to connect with a spiritual energy within, a great comfort to me considering that everything had fallen through with Majorie, and I was now spending large amounts of time alone. And I was more aware than ever of intuitive thoughts and dreams and the luminosity of a room or landscape. Yet, at the same time, the sporadic nature of the coincidences had become a problem.
I would fill up with energy, for instance, discerning the question foremost in my life, and would usually perceive a clear hunch about what to do or where to go to pursue the answer yet, after acting accordingly, too often nothing of importance . would occur. I would find no message, no coincidence.
This was especially true when the intuition was to seek out someone I already knew to some extent, an old acquaintance perhaps, or someone with whom I worked routinely. Occasionally this person and I would find some new point of interest, but just as frequently, my initiative, in spite of my best efforts to send energy, would be completely rebuked, or worse, would begin with excitement only to warp out of control and finally die in a flurry of unexpected irritations and emotions.
Such failure had not soured me on the process, but I had realized something was missing when it came to living the Insights long-term. In Peru, I had been proceeding on momentum, often acting spontaneously with a kind of faith born out of desperation. When I arrived back home, though, dealing again with my normal environment, often surrounded by outright skeptics, I seemed to lose the keen expectation, or firm belief, that my hunches were really going to lead somewhere. Apparently there was some vital part of the knowledge I had forgotten . . . or perhaps not yet discovered.
I'm just not sure what to do next," Charlene's associate had pressed. "She has a sister, I think, somewhere in New York. You don't know how to contact her, do you? Or anyone else who might know where she is?"
"I'm sorry," I said, "I don't. Charlene and I are actually rekindling an old friendship. I don't remember any relatives and I don't know who her friends are now."
"Well, I think I'm going to file a police report, unless you have a better idea."
"No, I think that would be wise. Are there any other leads?"
"Only a drawing of some kind could be the description of a place. It's hard to tell."
Later he had faxed me the entire note he had found in Charlene's office, including the crude sketch of intersecting lines and numbers with vague marks in the margins. And as I had sat in my study, comparing the drawing to the road numbers in an
Atlas of the South, I had found what I suspected to be the actual r. location. Afterward I had experienced a vivid image of Charlene in my mind, the same image I had perceived in Peru when told of the existence of a Tenth Insight. Was her disappearance somehow connected to the Manuscript?
A wisp of wind touched my face and I again studied the view below. Far to the left, at the western edge of the valley, I could make out a row of rooftops. That had to be the town Charlene had indicated on the map. Stuffing the paper into my vest pocket, I made my way back to the road and climbed into the Pathfinder.
The town itself was small-population two thousand, according to the sign beside the first and only stoplight. Most of the commercial buildings lined just one street running along the edge of the stream. I drove through the light, spotted a motel near the entrance to the National Forest, and pulled into a parking space facing an adjacent restaurant and pub. Several people were entering the restaurant, including a tall man with a dark complexion and jet-black hair, carrying a large pack. He glanced back at me and we momentarily made eye contact.
I got out and locked the car, then decided, on a hunch, to walk through the restaurant before checking into the motel. Inside, the tables were near empty-just a few hikers at the bar and some of the people who had entered ahead of me. Most were oblivious to my gaze, but as I continued to survey the room, I again met eyes with the tall man I had seen before; he was walking toward the rear of the room. He smiled faintly, held the eye contact another second, then walked out a back exit.
I followed him through the exit. He was standing twenty feet away, bending over his pack. He was dressed in jeans, a western
J shirt and boots, and appeared to be about fifty years old. Behind him, the late afternoon sun cast long shadows among the tall trees and grass, and, fifty yards away, the stream flowed by, beginning its journey into the valley.
He smiled halfheartedly and looked up at me. "Another pilgrim?" he asked.
"I'm looking for a friend," I said. "I had a hunch that you could help me."
He nodded, studying the outlines of my body very carefully.
Walking closer, he introduced himself as David Lone Eagle, explaining, as though it was something I might need to know, that he was a direct descendant of the Native Americans who originally inhabited this valley. I noticed for the first time a thin scar on his face that ran from the edge of his left eyebrow all the way to his chin, just missing his eye.
"You want some coffee?" he asked. "They're good at Perrier in the saloon there, but lousy at coffee." He nodded toward an area near the stream where a small tent stood among three large poplars. Dozens of people were walking in the area, some of them along a path that crossed a bridge and led into the National Forest. Everything appeared safe.
He paused and looked at me, and as we gazed at each other, I saw a clear image in my mind's eye of him in another time. He was younger and dressed in buckskins, sitting in front of a large fire. Streaks of War paint adorned his face. Around him was a circle of people, mostly Native Americans, but including two whites, a woman and a very large man. The discussion was heated. Some in the group wanted war; others desired reconciliation. He broke in, ridiculing the ones considering peace. How could they be so naive, he told them, after so much treachery?
The white woman seemed to understand but pleaded with him to hear her cut. War could be avoided, she maintained, and the valley protected fairly, if the spiritual medicine was great enough. He rebuked her argument totally, then, chiding the group, he mounted his horse and rode away. Most of the others followed.
"Your instincts are good," David said, snapping me from my vision. He was Spreading a homespun blanket between us, offering me a seat. "I ]know of her." He looked at me questioningly.
"I'm concerned" I said. "No one has heard from her and I just want to make sure she's okay And we need to talk."
"About the TEnth Insight?" he asked, smiling.
"How did you know that?"
"Just a guess. Many of the people coming to this valley aren't just here because of the beauty of the National Forest. They're here to talk about the Insights. They think the Tenth is somewhere out there. A few even claim to know what it says."
He turned away and put a tea ball filled with coffee into the steAming water. Something about his tone of voice made me think he was testing me, trying to check out whether I was who I claimed.
"Where is Charlene?" I asked.
He pointed a finger toward the east. "In the Forest. I've never meet your friend, but I overheard her being introduced in the restaurant one m and I've seen her a few times since. Several days ago I saw her again; she was hiking into the valley alone, an4 judging from the way she was packed, I'd say she's probably still out there."
I looked in that direction. From this perspective, the valley was enormous, stretching forever into the distance.
"Where do you think she was going?" I asked.
He stared at me for a moment. "Probably toward the Sipsey Canyon. That's where one of the openings is found." He was studying my reaction.
He smiled cryptically. "That's right, the dimensional openings."
I leaned over toward him, remembering my experience at the Celestine Ruins. "Who knows about all this?"
"Very few people. So far it's all rumor, bits and pieces of information, intuition. Not a soul has seen a manuscript. Most of the people who come here looking for the Tenth feel they're being synergistically led, and they're genuinely trying to live the
Nine Insights, even though they complain that the coincidences guide them along for a while and then just stop." He chuckled lightly. "But that's where we all are, right? The Tenth Insight is about understanding this whole awareness-the perception of mysterious coincidences, the growing spiritual consciousness on Earth, the Ninth Insight disappearances-all from the higher perspective of the other dimension, so that we can understand why this transformation is happening and participate more fully"
"How do you know that?" I asked.
He looked at me with piercing eyes, suddenly angry. "I know!"
For another moment his face remained serious, then his expression warmed again. He reached over and poured the coffee into two cups and handed one to me.
"My ancestors have lived near this valley for thousands of years," he continued. "They believed this forest was a sacred site midway between the upper world and the middle world here on Earth. My people would fast and enter the valley on their vision quests, looking for their specific gifts, their medicine, the path they should walk in this life.
"My grandfather told me about a shaman who came from a faraway tribe and taught our people to search for what he called a state of purification. The shaman taught them to leave from this very spot, bearing only a knife, and to walk until the animals provided a sign, and then to follow until they reached what they called the sacred opening into the upper world. If they were worthy, if they had cleared the lower emotions, he told them, they might even be allowed to enter the opening, and to meet directly with the ancestors, where they could remember not just their own vision but the vision of the whole world.
"Of course, all that ended when the white man came. My grandfather couldn't remember how to do it, and neither can 1.
We're having to figure it out, like everyone else."
"You're here looking for the Tenth, aren't you?" I asked.
"Of course ... of course! But all I seem to be doing is this penance of forgiveness." His voice became sharp again, and he suddenly seemed to be talking more to himself than to me.
"Every time I try to move forward, a part of me can't get past the resentment, the rage, at what happened to my people. And it's not getting any better. How could it happen that our land was stolen, our way of life overrun, destroyed? Why would that be allowed?"
"I wish it hadn't happened," I said.
He looked at the ground and chuckled lowly again. "I believe that. But still, there is a rage that comes when I think of this valley being misused.
"You see this scar," he added, pointing to his face. "I could have avoided the fight where this happened. Texas cowboys with too much to drink. I could have walked away but for this anger burning within me."
"Isn't most of this valley now protected in the National Forest?" I asked.
"Only about half of it, north of the stream, but the politicians always threaten to sell it or allow development."
"What about the other half? Who owns that?"
"For a long time, this area was owned mostly by individuals, but now there's a foreign-registered corporation trying to buy it up. We don't know who is behind it, but some of the owners have been offered huge amounts to sell."
He looked away momentarily, then said, "My problem is that I want the past three centuries to have happened differently. I resent the fact that Europeans began to settle on this continent with no regard for the people who were already here. It was criminal. I want it to have happened differently, as though I could somehow change the past. Our way of life was important. We were learning the value of remembering. This was the great message the Europeans could have received from my people if they had stopped to listen."
As he talked, my mind drifted into another daydream. Two people-another Native American and the same white woman were talking on the banks of a small stream. Behind them was a thick forest. After a while, other Native Americans crowded around to hear their conversation.
"We can heal this!" the woman was saying.
"I'm afraid we don't know enough yet," the Native American replied, his face expressing great regard for the woman. "Most of the other chiefs have already left."
"Why not? Think of the discussions we've had. You yourself said if there was enough faith, we could heal this."
"Yes," he replied. "But faith is a certainty that comes from knowing how things should be. The ancestors know, but not enough of us here have reached that knowing."
"But maybe we can reach this knowledge now," the woman pleaded. "We have to try!"
My thoughts were interrupted by the sight of several young Forest Service officers, who were approaching an older man on the bridge. He had neatly cut gray hair and wore dress slacks and a starched shirt. As he moved, he seemed to limp slightly.
"Do you see the man with the officers?" David asked.
"Yeah," I replied. "What about him?"
"I've seen him around here for the past two weeks. His first name is
Feyman, I think. I don't know his last name." David leaned toward me, sounding for the first time as if he trusted me completely "Listen, something very strange is going on. For several weeks the Forest Service seems to have been counting the hikers who go into the forest. They've never done that before, and yesterday someone told me they have completely closed off the far eastern end of the wilderness. There are places in that area that are ten miles from the nearest highway. Do you know how few people ever venture out that far? Some of us have begun to hear strange noises in that direction."
"What kind of noises?"
"A dissonance of some kind. Most people can't hear it."
Suddenly he was up on his feet, quickly taking down his tent.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"I can't stay here," he replied. "I've got to get into the valley."
After a moment he interrupted his work and looked at me again. "Listen," he said. "There's something you have to know.
That man Feyman. I saw your friend with him several times."
"What were they doing?"
"Just talking, but I'm telling you there's something wrong here." He began packing again.
I watched him in silence for a moment. I had no idea what to think about this situation, but I sensed that he was right about Charlene being somewhere out in the valley. "Let me get my equipment," I said.
"I'd like to go with you."
"No," he said quickly. "Each person must experience the valley alone. I can't help you now. It's my own vision I must find."
His face looked pained.
"Can you tell me exactly where this canyon is?"
"Just follow the stream for about two miles. You'll come to another small creek that enters the stream from the north. Follow this creek for another mile. It will lead you right through the mouth of the Sipsey Canyon."
I nodded and turned to walk away, but he grabbed my arm.
"Look," he said. "You can find your friend if you raise your energy to another level. There are specific locations in the valley that can help you."
"The dimensional openings?" I asked.
"Yes. There you can discover the perspective of the Tenth Insight, but to find these places you must understand the true nature of your intuitions, and how to maintain these mental images. Also watch the animals and you'll begin to remember what you are doing here in this valley ... why we're all here together.
But be very careful. Don't let them see you enter the forest." He thought for a moment. "There's someone else out there, a friend of mine, Curtis Webber. If you see Curtis, tell him that you've talked to me and that I will find him."
He smiled faintly and returned to folding his tent.
I wanted to ask what he meant about intuition and watching the animals, but he avoided eye contact and stayed focused on his work.
"Thanks," I said.
He waved slightly with one hand. quietly shut the motel door and eased out into the moonlight.
The cool air and the tension sent a shiver through my body. Why, I thought, was I doing this? There was no proof that Charlene was still out in this valley or that David's suspicions were correct.
Yet my gut told me that indeed something was wrong. For several hours I had mulled over calling the local sheriff. But what would I have said? That my friend was missing and she had been seen entering the forest of her own free will, but was perhaps in trouble, all based on a vague note found hundreds of miles away?
Searching this wilderness would take hundreds of people, and I knew they would never mount such an effort without something more substantial.
I paused and looked at the three-quarters moon rising above the trees. My plan was to cross the stream well east of the rangers' station and then to proceed along the main path into the valley I was counting on the moon to light my way, but not to be this bright. Visibility was at least a hundred yards.
I made my way past the edge of the pub to the area where David had camped. The site was completely clean. He had even spread leaves and pine straw to remove any sign of his presence.
To cross where I had planned, I would have to walk about forty yards in plain sight of the rangers' station, which I could now see clearly. Through the station's side window, two officers were busy in conversation. one rose from his seat and picked up a telephone.
Crouching low, I pulled my pack up on my shoulders and walked out onto the sandy flood wash that bordered the stream, and finally into the water itself, sloshing through mounds of smooth river stone and stepping over several decayed logs. A symphony of tree frog--, and crickets erupted around me. I glanced at the rangers again: both were still talking, oblivious to my stealth. At its deepest point, the moderately swift water reached my upper thigh, but in seconds I had moved across the thirty feet of current and into a stand of small pines,
I carefully moved forward until I found the hiking path leading into the valley. Toward the east, the path disappeared into the darkness, and as I stared in that direction, more doubts entered my mind. What was this mysterious noise that so worried David? What might I stumble upon in the darkness out there?
I shook off the fear. I knew I had to go on, but as a compromise, I walked only a half mile into the forest before making my way well off the path into a heavily wooded area to raise the tent and spend the rest of the night, glad to take off my wet boots and let them dry. It would be smarter to proceed in the daylight.
The next morning I awoke at dawn thinking about David's cryptic remark about maintaining my intuitions, and as I lay in my sleeping bag, I reviewed my own understanding of the Seventh Insight, particularly the awareness that the experience of synchronicity follows a certain structure. According to this Insight, each of us, once we work to clear our past dramas, can identify certain questions that define our particular life situation, questions related to our careers, relationships, where we should live, how we should proceed on our path. Then, if we remain aware, gut feelings, hunches, and intuitions will provide impressions of where to go, what to do, with whom we should speak, in order to pursue an answer.
After that, of course, a coincidence was supposed to occur, revealing the reason we were urged to follow such a course and providing new information that pertained in some way to our question, leading us forward in our lives. How would maintaining the intuition help?
Easing out of my sleeping bag, I pulled the tent flaps apart and checked outside. Sensing nothing unusual, I climbed out into the crisp fall air and walked back to the stream, where I washed my face in the cool water. Afterward I packed up and headed east again, nibbling on a granola bar and keeping myself hidden as much as possible in the tall trees that bordered the stream. After traveling perhaps three miles, a perceptible wave of fear and nervousness passed through my body and I immediately felt fatigued, so I sat down and leaned against a tree, attempting to focus on my surroundings and gain inner energy. The sky was cloudless and the morning sun danced through the trees and along the ground around me. I noticed a small green plant with yellow blossoms about ten feet away and focused on its beauty.