The click of the left blinker broke the short-lived spell. Then she spoke again. Steve and I’ll have you over for dinner day after tomorrow. We’ll give you a day to acclimate. Call if you need anything, o.k. As she said o.k., she turned to look at him for the first time. Lil Gillian had not ended her sentence as a question, giving him the ability to respond. She had stated an agreement, something beyond him for the moment. The pickup pulled to a stop at the edge of a brief driveway that looked to lead directly into the sea. I’ll let you walk it in from here; hard to explain, but you’ll have to trust me. He thanked her for the ride and dinner invitation and then opened the door to the next thirty days of his life. He grabbed his luggage from the bed, took a deep breath, and stepped around the front of the truck. The sound of an electric window descending caught his attention. Look straight ahead. Master of the sky. An eagle cut the mid-afternoon blue in half, right before his eyes. He stood transfixed as Lil Gillian drove away.
The eagle. Messenger to God, given the honor of carrying prayers from this world to the next. Prayer. One of the things he’d considered a loss over the last few years. He had about concluded that there were really only two prayers: thank you and help me. He whispered both. It was all he had, but such as he had, he gave. He began walking down the hill. Descending. The imagery was not lost on him.
He had figured Jake’s cabin to be a, well, cabin. Sure, it would have a certain flair reflective of his friend, but a cabin is a cabin, right? Wrong. What greeted his eyes totally surprised him. He wasn’t sure where the ground stopped and the dwelling began. It was as if the ground was giving up something, reluctantly, the inhabitants of which might be terra cotta soldiers or hobbits. The path led him beside an emerging rock wall to a stone archway that appeared to be the only real entrance. A bronze plaque was affixed to the arch:
Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit
Jake had long been interested in Jung: “Bidden or not bidden, God is present.” He realized why Lil had encouraged walking in.
The dramatic feature of the front of Jake’s place was a row of windows from floor to roof that framed a heavy wooden door. As he glanced back over his shoulder, the view of the sea and the peaks of British Columbia were more than enough justification for this much glass. A slightly raised porch the length of the place held three Adirondack chairs and an outdoor fire pit. The key turned easily enough in the lock and he stepped inside. He found a wood stove, a small chef’s kitchen, a bathroom with a shower, a bed, a table for one, and a writing desk. The two side stone walls were full of ledges and impressions, all of which were populated by what appeared to be icons and sacred objects. There were pieces of driftwood, cobalt blue bottles, several small cairns, and candles. The floor was deftly appointed with beautiful Indian rugs. Two pine bookcases rested against the far earthen wall. He immediately noticed Jake’s first edition Steinbecks, for years a source of pride. The rest of the shelves were full of everything from Abbey to Yeats. This was a place for a menage a moi - a love affair with yourself.