The Path of the Pen: #100 Days of Moments The Magic at the Black Barn

Reaching to turn on the lamp by my bedside this morning, my eyes rested on this delightful stuffed sheep that was purchased the day before. I’d forgotten that I placed her there before crawling into bed. A warm smile she gave to me as a first taste of this new day. 

“Why, good morning, Dear Friend!” I greeted her. And, some giggles followed as the 6 year old girl in me emerged.

Let me tell you how she came to be. It’s a sweet story.

In the middle of a long Saturday afternoon at home, there was a need to get out, to somewhere, anywhere, to be awed and delighted in seeing something new. My eyes were bored of all the sameness around here. I messaged my daughter and asked her if she wanted to take a ride out to The Black Barn. Facebook announced, they were open this weekend with fresh inventory. Spring Stock. This might be the medicine to revive me.

The Black Barn is such a pleasure to visit. It is truly a Black Barn, and a beautiful one at that, nestled in the woods next to a winding river and filled with enchantments to delight all of your senses and the creative maker in you. 

Upon entering, we were struck by the greenery, signs of spring – this gave me hope, coffee mugs, blackberry jams and delectables (toffee). Moving inward, the kitchenary will attract the baker in you, and around the corner, there are books of best selling authors to cozy up by the fire with. And, then, there is the children’s corner. . .

Shelves and nooks and crannies filled with stuffed animals and books and childish things that grandmothers desire for their grandchildren. My daughter and I took turns holding, squeezing and sharing each stuffed animal with each other – I think believing that we were actually one-upping one another with every new discovery. 

“I really like the avocado doll . . . and the carrot,” she said.

“Oh, it’s the sheep for me,” I replied.

I carried the sheep with me throughout the store, not knowing why I had to have her or for whom she would even belong. Two children’s’ books found their way into my arms as well – titles I hadn’t heard. How could that be? Any day with a new book discovery is heaven indeed.

Nearing the check-out counter, my decision to purchase my goods was stronger than the one that usually taunts me that it’s time to put things back. It’s the Mother Voice nagging “Do you really need this?” 

 I decided that yes, I did need everything, and I set it all on the counter.

“Oh, you found the sheep!” I heard Brenda say from behind the till. Brenda owns this charming Black Barn. “Did you see her name?”

“No, I didn’t, she has a name?” I responded.

“Oh, yes,” she smiled, and she reached for the tag on the sheep and opened it for me to read. Our eyes met in the mystery of the moment.

Sherri Sheep it read.

Good heavens. We all laughed in surprise and it was decided by us all that the sheep was there for me and was just awaiting my arrival.

I left with my heart full and my little-girl soul happy at the magic of the moment. 

Thank you, Brenda, for your attention yesterday. So easy it would have been to just collect the money for the items I purchased, say thank you and send us on our way. You did more. You have created a dream space in this barn and filled it with items that remind us of who we can be and the possibilities of what we can do.

But more than this – you remembered my own name and made me feel seen, and created a somehow magical moment, in which this gift attracted me. You did not know that an old lady dream of mine is to raise alpaca sheep one day, and spin wool, and knit hats and small things for children to wear, but somehow, the universe has a way of using people to remind us of who we are and what our dreams are.

It’s a fairy tale dream that may never happen, but it’s fun to dream none-the-less. 

Until then, I’ll just keep visiting Brenda at the Black Barn. 

There’s magic in there.

How Dreams Speak To Us

I had the most bizarre dream last night.

Actually, it was this morning, as I woke up at 5 a.m. and told myself to go back to sleep.  It’s those morning dreams that really shake you up.

Sporty (my hubby) and our dog, Sandy were in a duck hunting/retrieving contest.  Somehow, I became apart of this endeavor by being the one to remain on shore in order to canoe out into the water to fetch Sandy if she was in trouble and bring her to land.  Now, mind you, I don’t hunt or do these outdoorsman-ish things.  So, why I was a part of this whole scheme, I have no idea.  Just the fact that I agreed to it affirms that it was a dream.

Well, the blessed hunters and dogs took off in their duck boats.  Us “dog-savers” patiently awaited by the edge of the shore.  For some odd reason, we were all to stay lined up facing the water with one knee kneeling.  I don’t know. . . maybe so no one got a head start?  Fer dum.  My knee was getting wet.

As I eye-balled the twenty or so other participants to see what I was up against, I noticed that they were all men.  Young men.  Fit.  With muscles.  Well, there was one other woman way down the line yonder, but she was also army-fit.  And, she was decked out in the proper attire.  I’m sure she had the latest most updated Eddie Bauer or Filson hunting gear and it adorned her sculpted physique.  Me?  I had on jeans, my mud boots and this oversized jacket that I was being swallowed in.

What the hell was I doing here?

We sat there for what seems like hours.  All of us quiet and intent on being focused for this task.  My knee was getting sore.

Eventually, one lone dog came in sight of us all.  Binoculars thrust to our eyes.  As this dog paddled and gulped water attempting to drag a well fed duck (it WAS a big duck), it’s owner harnessed his canoe and oared out to greet and guide his faithful dog into the shore safely.  Once on shore and the duck dropped, he ordered the dog to hop back into the canoe and the “dog-saver” ferociously oared back out to the open water to join the dog back to the hunter.  Oars were moving at a vicious pace, strong and steady.  The muscles in his arms and shoulders tense enough to see through his jacket.  The dog rested in the boat awaiting his next fetching.

“WHAT????” I fareaked. “Sporty never told me that I was going to need to paddle BACK out into the water with the dog!!!  I can’t do that!!  I’ll be lucky if I can lift that damn oar, let alone paddle way out yonder!  Dang it!  Double Dang it!”

Again. .  . what the hell am I doing here?????  I don’t belong with these people.

More dogs appear.  All colors.  I  frantically scramble for my foggy binoculars and search for Sandy. I have to wipe off my binoculars as I can’t see through them, the piece of crap it is.  I notice what others are using and again, reassurance of my knowing I am outta my league.

As I scan from shore to shore, I notice a light-colored lab.  I gather my stuff and hop into my canoe, making sure no one is watching me for fear they will judge my ineptness and this business.  I try to look unnoticeable as I creep in between a few other canoers.

I reach Sandy and find her to be repeatedly diving down deep into the water as if she released the duck from her jaw and it sank to the bottom of the lake floor.  (Do ducks sink?  I don’t know. . . it’s a stupid dream.)  Regardless, she painstakingly dives down deep for this dead creature.  I’m thinking she is going to drown herself attempting to retrieve something her instinct tells her she must have.  Animals are like that.

No Fear.  Not.  A.  Bit.

Unlike Me.

I call to her and she ignores me.  As I yell louder for her to obey, she finally paddles over to me and I grab her and yank her into the canoe.  She falls limp to the canoe floor and pants relentlessly.  I have never seen her so exhausted.  Like her heart might jump out of her skin.  I’m kinda scared.

I oar to shore and pull her out of the canoe, easing her up high on the shore.  I wipe her off and wrap her with a towel and we just rest.  She needs rest.  This poor dog.  I’ll be darned if I’m taking her back out there to that, that, whatever they do out there.  There, there, poor Sandy.

Then, I see the collar.  It’s a thin yellow collar.

This is not Sandy.

Sandy has a wide camo collar.

Oh my God.  Where is Sandy?  Where is she then?????  Almost all of the other dogs have arrived by now.  Dog-savers have rushed them back out to the waters and here I sit with some strange dog.  I think I am sick.

Had I been so side tracked paying all my attention to THIS dog that I missed my own when she came near?  Did I miss her struggling and diving underwater and neglect the signs to get out there and save her?

Whose dog is this?  And, why isn’t anyone looking for her?

I fail.

Yes.  I fail.

Then, I woke up.

I shake my head and think, “Geez, what the heck was THAT all about?”

As I’m drinking my coffee, I share my dream with Gracie, my 19-year-old daughter.  “What is the significance of this dream, do you think?”  I ask her.

“It’s telling you that you really love Sandy!”  she beams.  She goes to let Sandy in, her tail wagging and she licks Gracie’s face giving her dog kisses.

“Don’t we Sandy!” she says, “we just LOVE you, hunny bun!” in her cutie pie voice.

But, that’s not it.  I know I love Sandy.  I don’t need a dream to tell me that.

I have a dream journal of which I attempt to record my dreams.  It’s necessary for me to look for the patterns in my subconscious mind in order to unlock these blocks and to hear the messages from God that he wants me to know.

I’ve learned to look for the symbolic meanings in dreams and think about where I am in my own personal growth process.  I first always look for the main emotion and actions I take in dreams.

In this dream, I feel one dominant emotion throughout the entire dream.

Fear.

Fear that the others in this contest all deserve to be there.  They are better than me.  They’ve had training and practice.  They all probably have even won contests and have award-winning dogs.  I’m not up to their standard.  By far.

Fear that I have lost Sandy forever and let her die.  Because of my negligence and attention to other things I did not focus on what identified her as Sandy.  I did not pay attention.  This dog of whom my family adores is gone.  I must face this now.

Fear of my husband.  How will I tell him?  Again, I attempted something and could not do it.  Could not complete the task.  Disappointment will cover his face.  His eyes will be disgusted and he won’t say a word.  But, there will be a veil of resentment that will tarnish his actions and words.  All of this will be piled up on the already smoldering mountain of resentments.  Add another log to the fire.

This dream signifies my fears.  Fear of writing.  Fear of creating.  Fear of reaching out to others who are like me in order to find connections and like-minded souls.  Fear that I don’t deserve to be there.  Fear of failing.  Fear of professing who I think I really am.  Fear of doing what I really want to do.

Fear is resistance.  Resistance is evil.

Steven Pressfield tells us this in his book The War of Art.  “Resistance prevents us from achieving the life God intended when he endowed each of us with our own unique genius.”  We are all a genius at something.  God made sure of this.  He blessed us with this.  It is our gift back to him to use this gift and to share it with the world.

The kicker is this pesky and sometimes debilitating fear.  This resistance.  I must recognize the resistance first as fear.  This is tricky because resistance can be disguised as many other things:  alcoholism, drug abuse, over eating, internet compulsiveness, ummm. . . too much Facebook, too much Pinterest, gossip, shopping and even excessive reading to find answers to your resistance and fears.

Yikes.  (I’m looking away here.  You can’t see me.)

I am Sandy in this dream.

My job is to keep this adored being, this creative and spirited soul alive.

If I neglect her and get sidetracked with those other resistance tricks, she may die.

I just can’t let that happen.

Shari 🙂