The Pub Shaman

This is a story I have wanted to tell, but I’ve never known quite how. There is an element to it that makes me, pause. I keep coming back to something one of my favourite authors, Charles Delint, talks a lot in his books about their being a collective sense of what we’ve chosen to make our reality. Anything that deviates from that and we eventually forget.

Here are another couple of things he said, or I guess wrote:

~~While you live … you have a duty to life. …
The fey wonders of the world only
exist while there are those with the sight
to see them. … Otherwise they fade away.

Greenmantle

~~Remember the quiet wonders. The world has more need of them than it has for warriors.”

Moonheart

Charles de Lint

So here goes… one afternoon the summer before I met Tim, I had this strange encounter. I decided one Saturday to venture down to my neighborhood pub for a couple pints and to get away from my fricken lonely apartment. So I’m sitting there on a stool at the bar, all on my own, Guinness in hand enjoying some telly, and this dude walks in with like a staff and feathers, and crazy as the sunshine. Started jambering to me about I have no idea what, and I’m getting a wee bit uncomfortable. I mean I can handle folks who are a little odd, I can handle alot, I’m very patient and quiet. However, this dude was crossing that invisible line and … well all of a sudden one of the waitresses working that afternoon comes over and says “well, there you are, we’re all down here, come on”. Sweet thing with a beautiful Australian accent.

Well, thank you thank you… I say. God, don’t you gotta love a local pub…perfectly safe the moment you walk in the door. Least some are, the good ones.

So your probably asking yourself, why is this significant. Ok…it’s significant because when in 2010 I came back to cottage, when I decided to go back to Tim…on the porch was this staff, with a feather attached. It was plastic. All of asudden that day flashed…that weird guy…from my old pub, with the feathers.

I asked Tim about it…it was strangely vague, he said “oh, Dennis brought that down one night”. Thing is, the guy at the time didn’t look like Dennis, he looked EXACTLY like Tim.

I to this day still don’t exactly know what that means. Was Tim at some point…crazy…or, was it something else?! I always meant to go back and ask those girls at the bar if they remembered that day. See…Charles says that magic works that way…that eventually we decide to forget. It just doesn’t fit with the world as we’ve all chosen to see it.

I don’t think the world is the way we like to think it is. I don’t think it’s one solid world, but many, thousands upon thousands of them–as many as there are people–because each person perceives the world in his or her own way; each lives in his or her own world. Sometimes they connect, for a moment, or more rarely, for a lifetime, but mostly we are alone, each living in our own world, suffering our small deaths.”
― Charles de Lint, Dreams Underfoot

When I saw that staff with the plastic feather, something jolted inside me. It moved me. I just had no idea what it meant. Who WAS the weird, feathered guy that day at the pub? I saw him you know, later in the day. On the other side of the street, as I was walking back from a friends. Again, strange. I had never seen him before, and believe me weird guys with feather staffs don’t tend to hang out in this village by the lake. Oh, we had our characters, but they were not quite that …em, strange.

But I had seen that guy back in 2008, and this was along ways away, I met Tim fall of 2008. This was 2010

And then this whole crazy journey began. Like this odyssey, I went off and lived this completely abstract life. By lake, with a dying cat at first, than a dying lover. In between came the fluffy, golden canine. Like some spirit herself, she has helped me in so many ways.

I now maybe see the guy back then with the feathers maybe as a messenger, a guide, a guardian and perhaps alot more. When I really am honest, who he reminds me of is Kokopelli

And Tim you know had a hunch his back…it broke my heart when the doctor told him he had Osteoporosis…but I sort of suspected that. It was really the cancer that surprised me…but I should have known.

So I just can’t help thinking back to the figure in the pub…and now I’ve told that story…and you may think “wow…she’s a wingnut”….I am fine with that. Thing is, why that image? Kokopelli is a fertility diety “usually depicted as a humpbacked flute player (often with feathers or antenna-like protrusions on his head), who has been venerated by some Native American cultures in the Southwestern United States. Like most fertility deities, Kokopelli presides over both childbirth and agriculture. He is also a trickster god and represents the spirit of music.”

“I don’t think the world is the way we like to think it is. I don’t think it’s one solid world, but many, thousands upon thousands of them–as many as there are people–because each person perceives the world in his or her own way; each lives in his or her own world. Sometimes they connect, for a moment, or more rarely, for a lifetime, but mostly we are alone, each living in our own world, suffering our small deaths.”
― Charles de Lint, Dreams Underfoot

and here is what the wikipedia article has to say

Many believe that Kokopelli was more than a trader, and more significantly, an important conveyor of information and trinkets from afar. As a Story Teller, par excellence, Kokopelli had the gift of languages with a formidable repertoire of body language storytelling skills to compliment his many talents. Kokopelli’s usual noisy announcement upon arrival secured both the identity, and therefore the safety, of his unique presence into a community. Often accompanied by an apprentice in his travels and trade, Kokopelli was important in linking distant and diverse communities together. In the South American Andes, the ‘Ekeko’ character functioned in much the same way. Upon arrival, his banging and clanging of his wares dangling all about his person signaled to all that a night of entertainment and trade of his goods and talismans was at hand.

Now, doesn’t that give me pause. Telling stories about my township, here in Dodge, as I am. I’m just sort of working myself through this tonight you know. Just untangling this ball of string that has been nagging me. Like I said, a story I’ve wanted to tell.

What do you think?

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