My Angel in the Woods


Our Featured Topic: Experiences from the Beyond

I just don’t know if it was an unexplained event in my life. It could simply be that I met a man in the woods. You know, he drove a car and parked somewhere and went on a hike. Just like me. And we met on a path, had a conversation, and went our separate ways.

For me, though, I experienced it as unexplainable. And then chose the word Angel to describe it.

I was walking down a path a few miles from my home along Lake Superior, with green grass beneath my feet, and birch and pine surrounding me. My dogs, still puppies, were romping and bounding and tearing through the woods. They were shy with people then. We didn’t have a lot of company, so they weren’t exposed to many people. They hadn’t been around men at all; they were extra nervous and cautious with them.

A man literally appeared on the path in front of us — not there on the perfectly visible path one moment, and then right there the next. I felt no startle, no alarm, no fear whatsoever. He knelt down, opening his arms wide, and my dogs came plowing out of the woods, racing to get into his arms, to squirm and wriggle and wag and kiss. They melted under his fantastic smile. They turned into putty at his feet.

I walked up to him and we began to speak. His gray hair and beard were luminescent, his eyes immeasurably kind. I spoke vulnerable and revealing truths to him from the moment I opened my mouth. There was no preamble, no awkward greeting, or casual hi between strangers before we began. We just began, as if in the middle of a lifelong friendship, simply sounding out the next heartbeat of our love.

I told him about my struggle with not working, the feelings of guilt and stress and sorrow I felt, the confusion I had because it was such a gift to not work, while at the same time it was such a loss and I felt deep grief. I couldn’t take a job because my own healing required my full-time attention. This was a clamoring pain for me, and I was in near constant inner turmoil because of it.

He made a simple reply. I can’t even remember the words now, even though they were so few. His response was more sensation than words. Feelings that flooded into my heart created an effortless flow of compassion and freedom. He said something about allowing my self the gifts of not working, and something else about how my energy has other paths, other priorities now, and it is okay. His simple words — that it is okay — felt like a sacred blessing. They melted the stress from my muscles, loosened my joints, quieted my mind.

Then he spoke about sailing. Lake Superior is one of the most difficult, dangerous bodies of water to sail; he told me about sailing it alone. He said he had died many times that way, but that he is not afraid to sail; he loves it. He said there is no need to fear anything. Nothing. All that can happen is that you can die, and that is just like waking up from a dream. Death is just waking up from a dream.

Our conversation lasted a while. We may have hugged goodbye. I can’t remember, because the whole encounter felt like a warm embrace. My mellow, melty pups and I continued on our path, he in the opposite direction. I turned to watch him go, but he was already gone. The path was straight for a distance there, and he couldn’t have walked that far in that moment.

It seemed he had disappeared…melted into the cosmos from whence he came, I suppose my Angel in the Woods.

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