yet to meet the man who is as fond of virtue as he is of beauty in women." -
night I have a dream that Remy walked up to me and grasped the amethyst crystal
that hangs around my neck. With the amethyst in his hand he said: "Get rid of
this!" He enunciated the words so clearly that it sent a chill through me and
then I wake up. Without a doubt, it was the most vivid image of my twin brother
I have ever experienced in a dream. It's the simplicity and finality of it that
makes me to remember it. In fact it's so vivid that I'm not sure if it's a
dream or if it really happened.
I awake to
the whining of Inge. She's not used to strangers in my camper. Rubbing my face
as I lay in my loft, my head is in pain. Damn draught beer, will I ever learn?
Paula is still asleep so I grab my jacket and shoes take my dog outside where I
splash my face with the ice-cold water of Atlin Lake. Glacial water is better
than coffee - wakes me up instantly. Soon Paula emerges from the camper with
her hair dishevelled. In the morning sun her pupils are a powdery pale blue
that startle me, her skin shining in the sun. How often do you wake up with
someone prettier in the morning? I give her a morning kiss but she doesn't
respond as warmly as I'd like, which tells me that today is a different day
"Is your dog
all right?" She covers her eyes from the sun with her hand so I can't feast on
her beauty in the Atlin sun.
what it is but I suppose it's only a perturbed doggy."
doggy." Her expression doesn't change but her grin widens.
used to others staying in my camper I guess."
should get back to my friend's. My car may be ready so I can return to
Whitehorse today. And I didn't call last night so my friend may be worried."
The words hit me like a cold shower. We leave the campground, driving out of
Atlin and away from the lake toward one of the subdivisions with homes on
two-acre wooded lots. Down a road past a school and across a river and then
into a cul-de-sac nestled in a poplar grove.
good," she says. When I park I'm surprised she invites me into the house.
old parts of machines and old tools and slabs of wood all over the front yard.
Wooden sheds that house even more clutter like old music equipment and
broken-down electronic items. A scrap yard for anything that makes noise.
Paula's friend isn't there so we relax in the kitchen. Old wooden drums and native
masks and antiques of all kinds on the walls. A hidden museum of Anishinabec
collector," she says. "He's really serious about it. He was a musician for
years, toured all over Canada and the States, but when he came here he couldn't
leave because it's so nice. He's been in Atlin for ten years now." I ask her
how they know each other.
"I met him in
the early nineties when he played in a band at the Belvedere Tavern in
Whitehorse." There are four tobacco pouches on the kitchen table and an ashtray
a foot wide overflowing with ashes, roaches and cigarette butts. There is a
book about the history of rock music with dog-eared pages and unopened bills
scattered on the shelf beside the table. Like many bachelor pads, dishes are
piled high in the sink. I count four coffee machines on the counter. Everything
seems to be made of wood except the kitchen and the old Mountie hat perched on
top of a wooden beam in the living room. Instruments range from record players
to drums and guitars and violins hanging from the cedar walls.
I can see he's a musician."
drums and fixes violins for an income. He should be coming back from visiting a
friend about my car. Nice guy." I pick up some rolling papers off the table.
"Mind if I
roll one up?" She thinks it's good idea so I commence with the engineering just
as Paula's friend shows up. I am expecting a hefty rocker with a ponytail and
beard but instead walks-in this clean shaven, chisel-featured guy who looks
like Kierkegaard at 50 with silvery Einstein hair.
part," he says, putting a bag of groceries on the crowded counter and looking
at us both sitting at the kitchen table.
Miller," he says extending his hand to me.
McFlynn," I reply, introducing myself into a pair of eyes that at a glimpse
reveal to me an encyclopaedic knowledge of life.
you have here. I hope you don't mind I'm here." He waves his hand.
"A friend of
Paula's is a friend of mine. Coffee? I'm putting some on." He works a
cappuccino machine like he built it himself. I hold up the joint still unlit.
timing," I say.
means. This is a smoke-free house except for this room." That explains the
ashtray. They talk about the car as I'm busy smoking the joint. When I pass it
to David Miller, he takes it and attacks it in three short puffs, and then
hands it to Paula as if it's a hot potato. She smokes it leisurely and hands to
me. I quicken my puffs in accordance with the technique of the man of the house
to show respect. He takes the joint and again hammers out three efficient
puffs, holding the smoke in his lungs as he turns back to the coffee. I tell
him I drink black coffee so he serves me a sublime cup that comes from
somewhere other than earth. Ambrosian.
He sits down
in the free chair with his coffee and his eyes now all ablaze and asks me how I
ended up in Atlin. I tell him I'm looking for property and about how my brother
and I are trying to find the right geomancy in the land. He nods and is very
interested in the word ‘geomancy.' He finds a dictionary, looks it up and reads
"Geomancy is ‘the divination of the
symmetrical parallels inherent in the layout of the landscape.' OK, what does
‘divination' mean exactly?" He flips to another page, finds the word and then
pensively summarizes the meaning as "the ability to read the future."
"So if you
can find the right geomancy then you should be able to see into the future a
There's something noticeably symmetrical about David Miller. He looks like a
man in perfect balance, as if he's a mirror of the land in which he lives.
"So how did
you end up here?" I ask him.
with my band for years - almost twenty years of playing. I loved it but it gets
to you after a while. I was living out of a suitcase and rambling from stage to
stage all over Canada, but I knew it wasn't going to last forever. I knew that
one day I would need to find my own spot of land where I could keep all my
things and never have to worry about being a wanderer again. So as I toured I
always kept my eyes open for a place that had this sort of geomancy you speak of. I dug Whitehorse when I played there. It's a
rocking town all right. In Whitehorse I wrote music and lived life like I never
had before. There's some magic in this land up here, but when I came to Atlin I
knew as soon as I arrived that this was the home I had been looking for my
whole life. This was where some of my dreams had taken place. Those three peaks
over the lake: I had seen them a hundred times in my dreams. I knew this was
where I could live in peace." With tobacco from one of the Player's Light
pouches on the table, he rolls a cigarette. Steady hands.
"How did you know?"
"The land made
me feel calm. I didn't feel as if I was only passing through like a guest on
someone's ranch staying on borrowed time. I felt like I owned this land; that I
had been here before in a previous life. It sounds corny but all I saw were my
spiritual cousins who shared an unnamed secret with me by living here.
Strangely, the madness of the world made sense from here where I can watch it
from above and laugh at the senseless melee with everyone killing each other
for a moment in the spotlight or for a bulky bank account."
on that," says Paula with a snort. David Miller ignores her, butts out his
cigarette and immediately begins to roll another one.
right land is like slipping on an old shoe you thought you had lost years ago.
The fit, the colour, the smell, the creases in the leather and the size all work
together that tell you your search has culminated to this point in time. All
subsequent travel is merely a case of leaving home for a while. Happiness
becomes truly possible. And once you find your foundation and home base, then
you can begin to fortify. And that's a great feeling." He lights another
cigarette and starts to make more coffee. I lean over and kiss Paula because
I'm digging the vibe, but she backs away.
"I had fun
last night," she says quietly but there is something missing, that vital ingredient
that shows me that the play is still on and the game is still alive. I am a
shooting star to her with a lifespan of one night.
more coffee and I cannot help but become detached. Sensing my detachment, David
switches gears with grace and social ease.
"There is a
place on the next road over here for sale. You should check it out but there's
no house - just the lot. What makes it special is that it has an old Indian
trail that goes up to the original Yellowhead Mountain Trail that connects to
Edmonton. In fact it connects to old Indian trails that one could walk all the
way to the Atlantic Ocean if you want." We finish the coffee and I mutter that
I should get back to find my brother at the campground, but before I take my
leave I ask him if he has any advice for me in finding the right spot.
"Ah, I'm not
good at giving advice Trapp, but I can tell you the words I live by. The man of half truth lives a half life. The
man of lies lives a false life. The man of truth lives a full life. You must
be true to yourself in order to find what you are looking for. Don't cut
corners. Remain true to your gut." When I shake his hand and say good-bye, I'm
comforted that I'm not the only person who has sought their own piece of sanity
in a world hell-bent on killing.
At my rig I
give Paula a peck on the cheek, knowing it will be the last time.
she says. The words hang there, purposeful, heavy with meaning, her baritone
resonating in my knees. I curse myself for not using a prophylactic. In my gut
I think she's thanking me for the offspring now taking root inside her. Perhaps
she's used me for my genes. After all she's about my age and her biological
clock is running out. Then my dream comes back to me and I frantically remove
my amethyst on the leather string from around my neck.
something to remember me by." I give her my amethyst crystal. "Who knows, I may
see you in Whitehorse one day." She touches my cheek and smiles warmly. Then
she is gone. She doesn't look back. The tone and sincerity of her words hover,
pregnant with meaning, a farewell to a footnote that she will see for the rest
of her days.
I pull away
and pass some lots for sale but they aren't what I'm looking for. The
properties I see on the way back to the lake make me depressed. Paula's chilly
body language echo through the hallway of my mind, making me think the worst.
The words "single mother" buzz around in that hallway like a hornet that won't
at the lake, Remy's camper is there and the door is open. After I park outside
the campground where I spent the night with Paula, I go over to the door when
Remy steps out with his omnipresent mug of coffee.
"I had a
dream last night that you should get rid of that amethyst around your neck," he
says. I can tell immediately that he's not happy today.
"You know I
take my dreams seriously so I thought I should tell you." An eerie tingling
goes up my spine.
"I had a
dream last night that you told me to get rid of my amethyst. Coincidence. It
was as vivid as any dream I've ever had."
"Do you still
have it on?"
"I gave it
away this morning," I reply, unwilling to say who I gave it to.
evil woman stay over?" His tone is constricted.
"Yes, I had
company. But she was far from evil."
"She did?" Remy
is genuinely shocked. I assumed he had heard us this morning. "I told you she
had some bad spirits in her. Now I just hope she didn't hand off any evil
spirits to you." I serve myself some coffee from Remy's mini coffee filter. The
water is still hot but as I turn to take my first sip the mug slips out of my
hand onto the small rocks at my feet. The metal mug makes a loud clanking sound
when it lands.
"See what I
mean?" he says, as I lean down and pick up the mug.
"What am I
supposed to say to that? You think Paula has some bad spirits and now I have
them because she slept over, and that's the cause of me dropping the mug? C'mon
Remy. Give me a break!" I'm dehydrated and suffering from the pasties, which is
causing me to overheat.
"It's not my
fault she's evil."
"It's not my
fault she's evil," he says.
that have to do with anything?"
you sound pretty crazy man. I'm serious."
"I know it
must sound pretty crazy but my teacher believes I'm the guy."
Messiah?" The pause between the question and the answer is a long second.
and Muhammad. I've had dreams of them both." There is a finality in his tone
that I find provocative. Conflict, the bane between twins. Nothing is worse.
Dander rising like a rogue wave usurping sand castles on the beach erasing the
frozen beauty of the architecture.
you had a dream about them you think-"
more than that. I know it sounds insane but the prophecies say that the Pahana will be a hippy with a bad eye
and will like his medicines. That what it says." I throw up my hands. The
irrationality of his Messiah Complex is pissing me off and my tolerance is
wearing thin. I need to get away before I say something mean because I can feel
myself returning to that familiar place of anger, a place where I have spent so
much time during the last few years of my life overseas.
When I find
Inge she can sense I'm angry. As I lift her up she squirms a bit and slips out
of my hands. I grab her as she falls to the ground but as I do I wrench my
shoulder, feeling a sharp pain where the pin the surgeons had put in my
shoulder connects to the tendons. It feels like the pin has ripped out. I'm too
mad to yell.
"I need some
time alone," I shout at Remy. He ignores me for a moment.
you here Friday at four," he says. As I slip my truck into gear, a sharp pain
pierces my shoulder joint and I know for sure I have torn something, but in my
red-hot anger, I revel in the pain.