Reverend Betsy Stang

In the Company of Wizards

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A novel by Betsy Stang

In the Company of Wizards

Chapter One

There are times, when the summer nights lay long and the crickets raise songs in the deep grasses, when time hangs heavily upon our bodies. Like weights we have affixed and forgotten to remove. The swell of the moon measures the days, and low clouds shroud the mountains. Between the planting and the harvesting, the land belongs to the winged ones and the creepie-crawlies. We are as intruders in our own realities and our brains fill with songs drifting in from other summers, other days.

We believe that we live in a world where the gods have died and magic has faded away. We look at the earth in terms of amino acids and mineral structures and believe that Gaia sleeps in the primordial memory. Science has devoured the Olympians as the ancient gods once devoured the Titans. We are taught to relish reason and discard the perceptions of imagination. We forget that our brains and nervous system are probably more developed than our logical faculties. And then there is the gate.

Star gate it has been called. The Door Between the Worlds.

For untold centuries Shamans and magicians have been using this portal to take them outside the parameters of the time space continuum and for centuries we have been chalking it up to imagination or psychedelic drugs.

Tales are spun of many lands of sailing ships and thunderous seas. Our lives are comprised of many voyages, intimate and personal. Some stories we tell, some we don’t. Some have to wait until the days roll by long enough for a tale to be understood. Sometimes the span is short, sometimes very long indeed, for stories emerge in their own time, when we are ready to hear and consider the meanings within the words.

So, Sara didn’t arrive on my doorstep until the first Spring of the New Millennium. The winter had been dark and scary, and the old stories no longer seemed particularly relevant. We were looking for new tales, ones that made some sense of the astounding roller coaster we had endured.

Sara arrived when the green returned to the Catskills. She was pausing from an arduous book tour, promoting her now classic book " Listen to the Wind", which surely all my readers will know.

For those whose memories needs to be jogged, The New York Times called it " A poetic gem ....imagine Georgia O’Keefe using words as her palette!" A few years before. I had purchased the property where she had once lived . In my excavations and renovations I had managed to bring her perennial gardens back to life. A mutual friend, had suggested that Sara come see what I had done over the past decade. I love novelists. To me the great ones are dream weavers. Sara had a unique ability to share an almost visceral insight into other worlds, and shine unique beams on ours.

Quite frankly, I was also intrigued to meet the famous onetime hometown girl made good. My friend Cindy had told me that Sara’s story was much more intense than any novel could convey, and that she had gotten into writing to deal with her personal story, but couldn’t sell it to any publisher. Ah. The late twentieth century when all books were carefully arranged by formula so they could be catalogued for proper display by Barnes and Nobles, a time when books were part of package deals, hoping to be movies, mini-series or appearances on Oprah!. Poets starved or went into rock or performance art, troubadours begged for work at Starbuck’s so somebody cool might meet them, and the internet was a marketing opportunity. Vision had taken a back seat to pragmatism as the children of the sixties yearned for a safe fifties that only really happened on network TV.

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Chapter Two