Goose Heaven Tales

Where The Birds Go When It Rains  by: Jamie Paul Wesseler

Ingredients To The Novel

Thank you for reading Where The Birds Go When It Rains. In this section, as promised in the introduction of my novel, I have created a summary of the life events that gave life to this tale. I've done this because of the wonderful time I had as a child walking in the footsteps of James Whitcomb Riley -- visiting his childhood home along U.S. 40 in Greenfield, Indiana, imagining Little Orphant Annie... who "come" to his house to stay, walking into the rooms and up the steps where "Gobble-uns" roamed... ("two great big black things a standin' by her side") as they snatched the taunting girl, of Annie's tales, right out of her very house... and seeing the rolled down "kivvers" where they had searched for the troublesome boy of the house... "But all they ever found was thist his pants an' roundabout... and when they turn't the kivvers down, he wasn't there at all!" Alex Tells a Bear Story is a classic that mentions my favorite "sick-more" trees. Riley shares my heritage as a Hoosier. I am forever grateful of his influence on my life.

When I have grandchildren, I hope to pick up where his imagination left off, as I turn Goose Heaven Road into a fantasyland for children and adults: trolls will invade the Whitewater Valley, a wicked imp will take over the souls of the deceased, more time travelers, more spirits... a lot of wild imagination yet to come.
But before I get to that writing realm, I want to wrap up the most important message my life will ever have to share with the generations to come -- generations with whom I may never converse, but with whom I will share the most incredible of possibilities.

As I mentioned in the beginning of my book, I intend to put the faith you believe you possess, or denial of faith, to a test with the archaeological evidence I presented to you in the tale. It is in this writing that I, the ex-nonbeliever, explain why writing the novel changed my life. While putting the finishing touches to the story, my daughter, Anna, got me asking myself a few questions: What does anyone need to have enough proof of Christ's existence? How much do I need?

The scientific evidence:

I presented the following as facts in a condensed format in the introduction of Birds. I've included an expanded version here. Now that you've read the story and you're familiar with the theory, I believe the data will have greater meaning to you.
I've waited thirty-four years to share my theory about the design of the sacred circle mounds. Before I present the evidence, I want to clarify one point: I do not believe the peoples of the Adena and Hopewell cultures had any idea of Jesus or the significance of whatever it was that marked the sky and horizon upon his birth -- our Star of Bethlehem. Imagine for me a moment that you step outside of your home and see such an object in tonight's sky. Would you wonder as to what it may mean? Would it frighten you? Would you discuss the sighting with anyone? How would your reaction differ if you lived over two thousand years ago and witnessed the same object?
I believe the same degrees of curiosity, fear, wonder, and social expression that you would feel could have compelled the ancients to build the magnificent sacred circles. If only they could have known the incredible event underway in their lifetimes...

The journeys of writing this story and researching the mounds have changed my life; this is what I know of the facts relative to the construction and message of the sacred circles… facts that have changed my belief of Jesus:

-- Scientists are uncertain as to the date and year Jesus was born, but most agree the first Christmas occurred sometime between 12 B.C. and 2 B.C. Birth months and days range across every month and day of the calendar, or so it seems, from what I've read. I found two dates to be most notable -- May 14th and October 25th. The spread is interesting at the very least.
The theoretical dates are based on many occurrences. One is relative to the time frame of the 12 B.C. to 11 B.C. census that compelled Mary and Joseph to make their journey. This date reportedly matches the chronology of the Apostle Paul. Dates of 3 B.C. or 2 B.C. are given due to a proposed 1 B.C. death of Herod. Yet another group of scholars suggests a date of no earlier than 4 B.C., because of another proposed date of Herod's death in the same year. One other date of October 25, 6 B.C., is proposed due to a presentation of an infant named Jesus at the Jerusalem Temple.
So, we really don't know the year or day Jesus was born, but it was before 1 A.D. ... or so we think.

-- The sacred circles have produced radiocarbon dates (ranges of possible construction and use… ranges that vary within plus or minus 150 years) from 265 B.C. to 146 A.D. I am in no way an expert on the science of radiocarbon dating, but I'll give you my layman's attempt at it:
Radioactive carbon is formed in the atmosphere when radiation from space bombards nitrogen atoms. Carbon dioxide is absorbed by plants. When the plants die, they stop taking in radioactive carbon. Half of the absorbed radioactive carbon decays and returns to its original form after approximately 5,730 years. By measuring the ratio of the two carbon forms, natural and radioactive, in plant fibers, statistical calculations may be made. Typically, charcoal samples from prehistoric fires are used for testing. The dating method provides scientists with ranges of possible timeframes. The approximate dates are accompanied by plus-or-minus ranges in years -- (i.e. +/- 150 years).

Based on carbon samples from the sacred circles in Indiana, we're talking a possible construction period that includes, and may be exactly, the estimated dates of Christ's birth of somewhere between 12 B.C. to 2 B.C. The latest radiocarbon dates, issued in July of 2000 by Ball State University, for the circles north of Cambridge City range from 50 B.C. to A.D. 115. Now, how incredible is that?

-- If you believe that some astronomical occurrence marked the way to Bethlehem at Christ’s birth, what would you suppose it appeared as in the sky?

Drawings, especially those on Christmas cards, and lawn decorations often contain a shiny central object (our star, if not a star then some God-made celestial object to light the way), a halo of light around the star, and a beam of light cast from the star through the bottom of the halo onto the horizon. (Maybe you will want to take another look at the sacred circle design on the back of this book, or better yet, I have included additional drawings at the end of the “Ingredients” section.)
If you believe, as obviously many artists do, that this could have been how that star appeared, the sacred circles in east central Indiana are sculpted exactly as I've described them here. They are of the same exact design!

-- How could the Adena have witnessed this astronomical event?
The village of our Majenica is certainly not located on the highest hill in Indiana (although it really isn't all that far from the highest elevation), but from its summit, it appears to the observer that he is looking down on all horizons, particularly that to the east. It's an incredible vantage point... What if? I invite you to come and watch the sun or moon rise at the park... once we get it established.
In the valley located at the northwest base of the hill, no less than seven of the circles were built. Plowing and subsequent erosion may have destroyed additional mounds, but seven were recorded during the early geological surveys of Wayne County.

-- Since we do not have written records from the time of the ancients, archaeologists classify periods of habitation according to religious practices, tools used, mound building ... just as we identify the differences between cultures of the present day world.

Although it’s a simplistic explanation of the cultures, I need to give you a brief review of the cultural differences of the early North Americans to explain my next point.

The Paleo culture existed in Indiana from around 12,000 B.C. to 8,000 B.C. The Indians hunted mammoth, mastodon, bison, deer, and elk, to name a few large animal groups. The Paleo traveled in small bands, living off the land, so they didn't stay in one place for very long.

The Archaic culture occurred between 8,000 B.C. and 1,000 B.C. Nearly eighty-five percent of the sites in Wayne County are of Archaic origin. Ax heads and pestles were used during this period, marking a more centralized settlement arrangement instead of the wandering bands of hunters from the Paleo period. Heavy concentrations of spear heads and knives mark these sites. Agriculture may have been practiced during the late Archaic period.

The Adena era, of 1000 B.C. to 500 A.D., was overlapped by the Hopewell culture. Agriculture provided the opportunity for permanent settlements, which, in turn, supplied the Adena with the time to develop and maturate larger social structures. Conical burial mounds were constructed for the first time, indicating a new level of spiritualism.

And then, around 1 A.D. (a date not chosen by me, but printed in many articles related to the subject) religious practices and cultural enrichment flourished. The development was so explosive that the transition took on a new cultural affiliation -- that of the Hopewell. Sacred circles and other geometric forms took shape through mound building.

Although cremation was practiced by earlier cultures throughout the New World, crematoriums first appeared in the Whitewater River Valley during this period, according to what I have found through my studies -- i.e. the cremations discovered in the large circle in 1968.

Two possibilities reign relative to this transition. One suggests the Adena evolved into the Hopewell society. But what caused that transition at that time? The other claims the Adena were influenced, almost absorbed, by the higher cultural development possibly out of the Ohio region. Either way, significant change occurred in the Whitewater River Valley, of present day Cambridge City, about the time of the birth of Christ.
Could the impetus of that dramatic change have been the sighting of some incredible astronomical event? Could serving witness to an object in the sky with a halo of light... a river of light flowing toward the earth, make the ancients stop and take notice? Could such a sighting inspire them to duplicate the object’s design through the construction of earthen mounds larger than football fields -- mounds larger and of such a dramatic shape change as never before constructed? Could the occurrence have brought about heightened religious practices?

After the Hopewell, additional cultures followed (the Fort Ancient and historical tribes), but they are not of consequence for this story.

For these reasons, I no longer wonder about the connection. The evidence overwhelms my normal show-me-proof need. What more could there possibly be? What more should I hold out for in my search of proof?
And as I've stated elsewhere in this book, please do not discount the possibility until after you have traveled to Indiana and walked along the causeway and out onto the central mound, go back to the mouth of the causeway and turn to face the central mound, follow the outer ring... notice the deep interior trench; feel the moment... then, and only then, make your decision. Consider, please, the incredible evidence with the magnitude of hand digging a mound of such colossal size. What could have been the cause?
To have faith, absolute faith, I had to surrender my ego -- the demand that I could not be fooled. Many of you don't need such proof; maybe confirmation will serve you well.
When in doubt, I urge you to go and witness the circles.

About the chapter elements of Where The Birds Go When It Rains:

In this section I proudly share the background of the novel. The places are real and sacred ground to my soul; the characters are based on people who have touched my life; the events are of my childhood experiences and of my adult-childlike imagination... reflections of the soul produced by the magic of Goose Heaven Road.

Some topics may not be addressed in this section in the order as they appear in the book. You may have to wait until a little later, in one of the other chapter reviews, to find more information about a specific topic. I have arranged my explanations so that I don't give away part of the story until the "right time," in case you read "Ingredients" as you progress through the book, instead of reading it upon completion.
And if you don't find an explanation in this section of something that you're wondering about, write to me. But chances are, if I haven't addressed it here as an integral facet, the origin of the item or topic is likely to be of my soul's imagination.

Welcome to life, as I know of it, along Goose Heaven Road.

Chapter 1 -- A Time To Take Notice

Ellen -- In honor of Ellen Stepleton, the female half of the twosome from Earlham College who introduced me to archaeology at ten years of age.

When I began my archaeological journey in 1968, grave excavations did not draw the ire and receive the criticism of being disrespectful. I, and the archaeologists with whom I worked, felt a connection with the souls we introduced to the twentieth century, as if they seemed to have stories they wanted to tell us. From the positions in which we found them, to the artifacts that accompanied the dead on their burial dates, it's as if their souls were there, delighted with their discoveries. And if their souls felt my anticipation, the thrill of sharing our "lives" with one another, physical lives separated by hundreds to thousands of years, I believe they would have been excited about being discovered -- brought to earthly life again. Someday, I want my grave site and burial to be something of an archaeologist's dream. I want to surprise and enchant people from and at the grave. I certainly don't want my bones buried forever. While my soul will be out milling through the cosmos at light speed, the old bones will have some connection to what once was; I want them to see the light of day... to share in and give to another's life of another time. Talk to the bones.

Patrick -- My only son... a man who will make his mark in fine fashion someday... but probably not as an archaeologist.

Brian -- Brian Munchel, my nephew. Brian, as a young man, used to walk the fields with me looking for Indian artifacts. I enjoyed his company and enthusiasm. Still do.

Carey Paul Oldenkamp -
Carey -- In the first version, I made issue of the name Carey as "being a girl's name," because I was given a "girl's" name and wanted to tie the situation to some character building issue for our protagonist. I dropped that angle, but remained with the first name selection. As a grown man, I am proud of my first name... but it was a difficult one to accept prior to the age of thirteen. Mom tells me she selected the name when she heard it as the name of a Scottish king. Good save, Mom.

Paul -- I chose Paul in honor of my father, Paul William Wesseler. My dad is the strongest and softest man I know. His passion for the past and respect of others come in a six feet three inches mountain of a man. I find comfort to this day in knowing that if I
do not have the strength or knowledge to handle a situation, Dad, Paul William Wesseler, possesses both. He is the anchor that holds our family tight against the force of the wind.

Oldenkamp -- Only fifty Wesselers were found on a national sweep of directory listings when I began writing the story. I was looking for uniqueness.

Chapter 2 -- The Muse

At the conclusion of the 1968 dig, we had a huge bonfire at the river on the Bertsch farm. I was so excited to be surrounded by my dig friends and dignitaries from Earlham College – Lucky Ward and James Cope. Wow!!!

Chapter 3 -- Stalag Thirteen

I dreaded nursing homes as a child. While the caregivers possessed more compassion and courage than I will ever know, the inevitable outcomes for the occupants overwhelmed my senses. I am grateful of the souls who provide assistance to the elderly and to those in need. They are the most sacred of humans -- those of you who dedicate your lives to the well¬being of others. Thank you.

Susan Kay Oldenkamp -- Susan Kay Singer became my wife on April 28, 1979. She is everything and more than what I've written of her in this tale. "I need you like the flower needs the rain..," -- I love that song; it has to be in the movie version of this story...if there ever is one. I have four of Susan's 4-H queen contest pictures -- one in a collage over my writer's area, one on the night stand next to our bed, the other two were on my writer's desk as inspiration as I wrote this book of her.
More to be "said" about Susan Oldenkamp (Singer-Wesseler) later...

Patrick speaks openly to his deceased grandmother. I speak often to those who have gone before me, but I'm not the kind to have heard them talk back... although I am certain they watch after me and provide me with a sixth sense that has saved my life.

Roses -- If memory serves me right, my grandpa Stewart bought Grandma a dozen roses on her every birthday.

I have owned a hand-carved box for as long as I can remember... which is less long with each passing day. It serves as the model for Susan Oldenkamp's walnut keepsake box.

Megan Marie -- She is of my sisters Terri Lynn and Lisa Marie: a shared love of family, childhoods, laughs, and tears. They are my connections with what was and the warm comforts of what is to be.
Nihilistic -- I stumbled on this word while looking up "night light" and found it so appropriate for describing my old attitude of religion.

Lincoln High School is in Cambridge City, Indiana. Susan (1977) and I (1976) graduated from there -- high school sweethearts they say.

And as for the state basketball title and mortals becoming gods -- only in Indiana! If you've watched the film "Hoosiers," you know the truth in my words.

Chapter 4 -- The Diary

Dance Macabre -- I remember Mrs. Harmeyer introducing our elementary school music class to the music and tale of this awesome work. I found it fascinating, and I'll always have its presence as a remembrance of Mrs. Harmeyer and her daughter, Ann, who was tragically murdered while driving to Indiana University in the mid 70's. Ann was one of the most kind upperclassmen I had the pleasure of knowing.

I "hate" to dance... unless it's to slow music and up close to Susan... or dancing wildly with my daughters at Daddy Date Night for scouts. To have Jacquelyn and Anna dancing with me and their friends joining us for crazy dancing... well, I'll remember it always.

Chapter 5 -- Of Ghosts and Legends

The Addie and Bill story is as written. They are my grandparents. Grandpa swore the light was Grandma's spirit. Mom remembers hearing him describe the blue ball.

Grandpa knew he would be dead by morning according to my dad.

Grandpa Wesseler said Grandma would be back and that the light was her spirit. He saw the light many times. I wonder if they "spoke"? How did he know it was his time to die if they had not? The sitting up in bed and the bats... the bats were there... She came for him. It's all true.

Doris Wesseler-Miller is the youngest of my dad's two sisters. Mary Jo Wesseler-Franklin is the other. Both are awesome ladies. Doris married Verus Miller, and Mary Jo married Bill Franklin -- two wonderful men.

Rheumatoid arthritis had my six feet plus grandfather bent over looking me eye-to-eye when I was of elementary school age. I've been told he was a great storyteller. I don't remember a lot about him, but he reminded me of Abraham Lincoln -- the thick eyebrows, teasing, a symbol of good... a grandpa.

Chapter 6 -- The Tale of a Storyteller

Carey's show-me-proof logic of God and Jesus was my issue, also. Writing this book made me realize something: What more do I need to help me believe?

Were you allowed to say "Hell" as a child. We weren't... "aahhmm."

When I first dated Susan, I couldn't eat, my stomach felt uneasy and heavy, and I truly became weak-kneed in her presence. She was (still is) a goddess.

I loved to laugh uncontrollably with my sisters. Those were memorable moments.

The following was deleted from my edited version of Birds, but I've included a reference here in honor of Frank Volk and my father: The Bear Story -- How the bear lost his tale… I had assumed the story was one of those tales passed down through the ages from father to son, but on Father’s Day 2003, a trip to my dad’s hometown gave me yet another reason to appreciate the man I’ve been blessed to have as my father:

Across from the limestone Catholic Church in Enochsburg, Indiana, is a tombstone that marks the grave of Frank A. Volk -- born October 31, 1875 and died July 11, 1956 -- the husband of Rosa A. Volk. When my father was a boy he was at Frank’s one evening holding an oil lantern as Frank culled chickens -- the process of sorting male and female chicks. The chicks are held to a light and checked for the “tell-tail” (no pun intended) signs of sexual orientation: Hens lay eggs; roosters aren’t of much use except for eating, and hens are finer for that as well. So, keeping and feeding the hens -- sources of eggs and meat -- is most economical for the farmer.

Young Paul Wesseler was getting tired and letting his duty as lamp holder slip a bit, as sleepiness took its toll. Frank promised that if Dad could stay awake until they finished culling the chicks, he would tell Dad the story of how the bear lost his tail. Well, Dad could not pass up the chance of hearing the story -- to this day, if he isn’t telling a tale, he’s listening to one somewhere.
Dad told me of Frank A. Volk as we stood at his tombstone. I took note of Frank’s Halloween birthday and smiled… actually had goose bumps with the story connection in my book -- that of the bear story being written in as a tale told to Megan on Halloween night. Again, the story was edited out of the novel. And while Frank’s physical body will never know of the passing of the story to you and future generations, a piece of his soul will live on in each of you. Thank you, Mr. Frank Volk.
To this day, Dad owns the oil lamp whose light gave life to this tale.

While my grandfather never blamed the Ohio River for anything, I know a future grandpa who will...

Chapter 7 -- A Time to Die

Ecclesiastes 3:13 caught my eye on a testimonial I received in my office from a funeral of a coworker's relative -- the funeral of a young boy. I didn't know the young man before that moment, but I had to ask myself why and how: His death could not possibly have
purpose. His passage from this world to the next boiled down to these words. I tried to capture the essence of his senseless yet fateful passing in this chapter.

I hate spiders... and I really don't like fog. Bats and snakes are okay.

Riverside Cemetery, Cambridge Road, wrought iron gates, the gravel pit -- they're all there northeast of Cambridge City.

Gerald never existed, but he is representative of souls less fortunate than mine. You’ll find out more about him later.

Chapter 8 -- The Summer's Dig

Earlham College is in Richmond, Indiana. The story of acquiring the right to dig on Luther's farm is true. So, too, is the story of "Red"... as Dad sometimes calls Mom to this day. Mom was cleaning our above ground pool when the Volkswagon from Earlham pulled into our driveway. As I've mentioned many times, I believe in fate. In this case, I believe my life has had intervention for many reasons. I cannot ignore the ownership I have for bringing to you the possible message of the sacred circles.

Jay Heilman is my archaeological mentor. He taught me the fundamentals of artifact identification and the sacred handling technique for relics -- fingers on the edges. I owe him all that this hobby and fascination have afforded me.

On our first day at the dig, we stuck silver Fourth of July sparklers in the mound where we thought the true treasures would be found. The center mound looked like a huge earthen birthday cake with three sparkling candles. Being only ten years-old and not used to being with strangers, I quickly attached myself to Ellen as my security blanket. I placed my sparkler next to hers. And I did have visions of gold and silver altars.

I asked Don Cochran, Director of Archaeological Resources Management Services at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, to verify my statements relative to the cultural changes and differences of the Adena and Hopewell cultures. I have not made up any of the dig details and discoveries. We found all of it -- charcoal, cremations, snail shells. As Carey's mother suggested that he go artifact hunting on Megan's birthday, my mother suggested that I handle my boredom the same way, and on such a suggestion, I went on to find a major cornerstone of this book... you'll find out later.

Chapter 9 -- Hog Tag

Hog tag -- I remember working the dig and hearing the clangs of the feeder lids. And as I've described here, hogs would sometimes break from the gathering as billiard balls. A few hogs chased others; some took advantage of the vacated eating spots... fun in the sun.

I still scan the edge of the gravel pit for that one forgotten soul. The stories of the earlier finds have fascinated me since I first heard of them at the age of ten.

The glacial floodplain -- Northern Indiana was under the grip of a "mile-high" sheet of ice until around 12,000 B.C. As the ice melted, the rivers swelled creating wide flood plains. Many of the lakes in northern Indiana were created by large chunks of ice that melted in those locations. The weight of the ice pushed the massive blocks into the soft soils. Jay called the ice bowl depressions glacial pots. They appear as if someone pushed huge cereal bowls into the ground. The first glacial pot he pointed out to me is located north and on the same property as the Golay Center, in Cambridge City, at the intersection of State Road 1 and U.S. 40. Four depressions exist in a one mile stretch on and just off of these arteries leading to Cambridge -- one north of the center, one behind the gas station at the same intersection on the southeast corner, one three quarters of a mile north of the intersection where Road 1 turns northeast, and another located one hundred yards west of this last glacial pot and a quarter mile south of Goose Heaven Road... four of these depressions in such a short distance.

Often I speak to the deceased on my artifact hunting trips. I feel so connected to the universal power of all things when I'm alone in His/Her world of the fields, woods, and river... along Goose Heaven Road.

Goose Heaven Road is the center of my universe. If any one place, any one name could describe my heart and soul, it's the mention of Goose Heaven Road. Unique in its fairy tale-like name, so too was my childhood. A goose heaven... now where on Earth did that idea or name come from?
Two stories reign as possibilities:
At one time, a church stood at the southwest intersection of Goose Heaven and Symonds Creek roads. The intersection is two miles west of our fateful intersection in the story. Both of our possibilities are of this church.
Some say a woman raised orphaned geese and that, when she was attending church one Sunday morning, her feather-clad babies walked through the open rear door searching for their mama. If you've ever raised anything fowl or "animal-mammal” from birth, this attachment, that between mother and "offspring," is absolute -- it transcends the scientific definition of classification and the family unit.
The rowdy version involves a prank performed by the neighborhood boys. As one of the Sunday sessions was in full swing, the boys tossed geese, ducks, chickens, and turkeys through the open windows and ran.
Somehow, I believe both stories to have some truth to them.

I consider it my great fortune to be a son of Goose Heaven Road -- another one of those life events that came about through divine intervention.

The cement bridge was a favorite landmark of mine. Russel Sumwalt, my great uncle, helped build it in 1917, if I remember his story correctly. Russ is a legend of a man. I really got to know him over one night when he and I helped my grandpa Stewart install a boiler for an apartment complex in New Castle, Indiana -- tear out and install a boiler in one night! I was in high school, yet seventy something year-old Russ kept up with me. Actually, I had a hard time keeping up with him. I wish I had the love of life and appreciation of death then as I have now. But I still appreciated, respected, and admired Russ and Grandpa in my youth; it's just that my appreciation of life and my soul seem more mature now. The bridge was destroyed and replaced in 2006. Jacquelyn, my daughter, accompanied me to the site for many pictures of the old sacred bridge. A part of my childhood and soul died with its destruction.

I was fascinated by the snail shells -- two thousand year-old snail shells -- discovered in “trash pits” that had been dug inside the crematorium in the middle of the sacred circle.

Walking into the valley from the bluff is like walking onto Heaven's golf course -- prepared for a special purpose… where souls go to heal and to be with God.

I love washing the field mud from my new finds in the nearest river or stream.

To this day, thirty-four years later, the "same" heron owns that stretch and bend of the river. It looks like the same bird, anyway.

I'm alive today not because of my genius, but because of Mom's basic rules of survival: Don't run into an open field during a storm -- lightning will hit you; don't stand under a tree -- lightning will hit the tree and kill you. (But I did run through an open field once... the shortest distance between two points syndrome. She saw me; I heard about it.) When she wasn't watching over me, my guardian angels were present.

The cave tree was a place of intrigue for me as a kid. The trunk was the largest I had ever seen, besides the pictures of the redwoods. Its branches were as big as some tree trunks. The mighty sycamore drew its water from the river on its immediate west; the massive roots plunged across and into the ground like octopus tentacles into the depths of the ocean; the branches glistened in the sunlight as the leaves absorbed the rays. If any one tree could have existed to see the construction of the sacred circles, it was the cave tree. When I was a kid, I liked telling people that I could get inside of a tree, but it wasn't exactly the most comforting place to visit. Cobwebs covered the upper cavern and entrance; raccoon droppings were scattered on the dirt and stone floor. The tree was a mystical anomaly -- a being created by the gods of the woods for a special purpose.

Chapter 10 -- The Reunion

Before I could begin this book, I had to come to terms with the concept of God's existence. While I wanted to believe in Him, the show-me-proof logic of archaeology kept me at a great distance from truly believing. I heard of near death experiences and, for awhile, consumed as many written and verbal true-to-life tales of this incredible phenomenon that I could find. I plan to pursue studies of NDE's someday, but for now, the individuals with whom I've spoken and the tales I've read (not all of them, however) have convinced me that each of us possess a soul within our bodies. Someday my soul will move on to the next realm. I know this.

Now for the crazy man's story of Carey's NDE: I had written this chapter and felt a deficiency. As a writer, I know my best writing comes when I absolutely relate to the feelings and experiences of my characters. The difference between writing in this mode and writing out of it is just indescribable. So, I asked to experience an NDE... but I didn't really want to risk the life I so much loved. (I ask crazy things like this sometimes because I really do feel that my life is "directed" by another force, and that when I'm ready for some life events to happen, all I have to do is ask... and I have to say, things happen more often than not.) My kids weren't grown, the book wasn't done... so much yet to do. Well, I don't recall how much later, but one night I woke after going through an NDE in a dream... unless I really "died" in my sleep. But let me tell you that to this day, I recall the concern, fright, the freedom of flight, and the absolute weightlessness of that journey. And the most startling aspect of all, because I don't remember reading about it or ever being told of it, was the whooshing noise... the feeling of the cosmic roller coaster... the speed of the flight. If dying is anything like that dream, while I was frightened initially, I do not fear death.
I rewrote the original passage to what you see here, although I did not experience a light. What I experienced was my arrival at a large, bright staircase, of white tile or marble, with no rails. The floor was of the same material. I was to meet someone there, but I didn't know whom. Somehow I was informed -- gained knowledge of the fact -- that I was to meet my savior, my soul's guardian there... and she did appear, but I don't recall really seeing her as I know of her today, but Susan’s soul -- her presence -- was there as my caretaker. After that, I woke up in a sweat -- true story, and you need to know that I would be skeptical if someone told me this tale.

When I was a kid, I used to get Twain's and Einstein's images mixed up. I think I have them straight now... I've been working on it.

Chapter 11 -- Spirit of the Tama

Kilosoquah, the blind spirit woman, is Susan's idea. (Before I worked to develop my writing skills -- some of you may seem surprised that I've actually done any work on my writing skills -- I was void of intrigue with my core plots, characters, and themes.) When Susan suggested Kilosoquah's sensing of Carey's arrival, I realized the wrong person wanted to be a writer. (Don't we always want most what we can't have?) She would be so much better at writing than I, but the desire does not possess her yet. When it does, I'll be the first to buy her book.

Kilosoquah was the name of Chief Little Turtle's granddaughter -- "Sun Woman." The character's spiritual connection to everything around her, her motherly love, wisdom, courage, and determination are of my mother, Betty June Stewart-Wesseler, and my mother-in-law, Jacquelyn Rose Miller-Singer. The actual model for Kilosoquah’s physical appearance came from a picture of a wonderful grandmotherly lady on an advertisement for the state of Arizona. I'll find her someday.

A word about my mother: The greatest sacrifice a person can make for another is that of giving her life -- something I know my mother would do without hesitation for each of her children. She provided me with the soul that wrote this story. Her soulful views of life and the world made me the man I am today.
At twenty years of age, five feet two inches tall and probably no more than one hundred twenty pounds before she was pregnant, this lady was told her eight pound plus ounces of baby would be born breech. The physicians wanted her sedated; she knew she had to be fully conscious in case of complications. She refused the medications and chose to suffer the pain to ensure my safe delivery. From the moment I arrived to this very day, she gives her entire soul and love to her children... her family. Thanks, Mom.

Majenica is the fictional name of the Adena tribe. I may have seen the name somewhere prior to selecting it, but I can't recall ever doing so. However, I was shocked to travel through the town of Majenica on one of our trips back home through rural Indiana. It seems too surreal to believe this name came to me without some prior sighting... I'll never know for sure which came first, although I believe I chose the name before coming across the town. To me it sounds like a cross between magic and Inca. I love the name.

Maconaquah, Little Bear Woman... the name of the real life Frances Slocum, who was captured by the Indians, is a representation of Susan. Everything wonderfully beautiful and personally inspiring about her I've tried to capture in Maconaquah.

Von -- I've always been fascinated by the Nordic influence and just how soon they appeared on the scene... Just how far did they travel into the interior of North America before the time of Columbus?

Mishawaka -- I chose this name because it's the name of a town in northern Indiana. It means "country of dead trees" and was the name of a Shawnee princess.

The Tama represents one of the most exciting features of the book and of my childhood fantasies. I believe one reason the cave tree intimidated me was because, if there ever was to be a portal to other worlds, the cave tree, the Tama was it. To go inside that tree meant the risk of never returning to this world, or so I thought as a kid.
My daughter, Jacquelyn, and I visited the old tree in 2004. Ten years had passed since I last saw it. Although killed by lightning, the tree’s huge trunk and massive roots are still present. I will reconstruct the tree someday for all-time's sake. It has to be. I can't keep all of those time travelers stuck out there... somewhere. Someday, I would like for you to bring your kids and grandchildren to experience its awesome presence.

I was introduced to Three Snakes on a journey I made into Mexico with a co-worker, Joe Sanchez, who was kind enough to take me to Mexico to meet his grandparents in January of 1999. While we were there, a local rancher took us into the hills to see cliff paintings.
According to archaeologists who attended earlier "tours," the drawings were made by an artist by the name of Three Snakes. He left his signature at many of the sites -- three snakes, about three feet tall, drawn in upright positions, standing on their tails, side-by-side one another. I changed the name of our "bad guy" from Peshewa to Three Snakes upon my return from the trip. (I figured the kid had to be bad, since he drew on so many walls across northern Mexico -- one of the first American graffiti artists.)

Owasco means "Bear." He represents the leadership, strength, and compassion of my father, Paul William Wesseler -- Chief of the Wesselers. Dad has been strong when strength was needed, but what I admire most about Dad, besides his work ethic and drive to support his family, is his compassion. He is a kind and sensitive mentor.

Chapter 12 -- A Goddess and a Feathered Serpent God

Spiders... those darn spiders...

Quetzalcoatl and Cortes... the fall of the Aztecs... Could there be a greater meeting of fantasy and reality to have changed the course of the world? For those of you not familiar with this historical event, I want to share the incredible tale with you a bit here, although Carey has done so in the story. In my planned sequel of this book (my third book as I have another story to write before I begin the sequel), you will read a very extensive account of the conquest of Mexico.
In simple terms and as I understand the tale, Montezuma II, the ruler of the Aztecs, believed the arrival of Hernando Cortes, a conquistador, to be the return of the light-skinned god Quetzalcoatl.
Montezuma felt blessed by the return of the Aztec god during his reign, but he was also intimidated by what Quetzalcoatl's presence would mean to his continued rule of the Aztec empire. In hopes of turning the god away, yet showing respect and gratitude, Montezuma sent gifts of gold, silver, and jade to his god and the advancing army --exactly what the Spanish conquistador was seeking.
The gates of the Aztec capitol were opened to the invaders with little resistance. After all, they were believed to be gods. Montezuma was captured and killed by the Spaniards. Cortes and his troops barely made it out of the capitol alive, but they did make it out and began the final siege of the Aztec Empire. Again, this is a very simple description of that incredible tale of fate; I look forward to bringing it to life for you.
Oh, but to travel back to the time of the Majenica. The silence I experienced in the outback of Mexico -- no cars, no planes... just silence when I wanted it. Life was like this on the farm during my childhood, until I-70 was constructed about a mile north of our old two-story brick farmhouse. I love the silence -- the kind absent of manmade noise, the kind where you hear that high-pitched energy in your brain, the kind where you hear the leaves rustle, the water move over and around the rocks... silence that let's you remove yourself from the scene, as if you are God's guardian of that spot on Earth.

Chapter 13 -- Troy

Kumush is a cross between my uncles Verus Miller, Charlie Miller (of two separate Miller families), and Bob Stewart. He is the fun I had with each of them as a child and young man. From playing basketball, attending football games, fishing, to the telling of jokes, uncles are necessities and blessings of life. Thank you, guys.
Kumush as mentor is as my greatest business and adult life mentor, Tom Docherty -- a man of trust, faith, determination... a man of honor. Without the organizational skills and confidence instilled in me by Tom, this book would not have been written. A thank you to Tom and his lovely wife, Jayne, who serve as role models to Susan and me.

Yana represents my daughters, Jacquelyn and Anna. My soul will be forever attached to theirs. Jacquelyn's strength and determination guided by Anna's sharp wit and sense of humor make Yana my dearest character. When I first wrote her into the book, she was to play a minor part. But, I couldn't hold her back. She took over the scene. The pen couldn't keep up with my mind and writing of Yana. And as the years passed, Yana took on more and more of a pivotal role... kind of like the way my daughters have consumed more and more of my heart and soul... They and Patrick are my life... of the love I have for their mother and of hers for me.

The Majenica village... If only I could spend one hour in its presence during their time. I stand and sit on the hill to this day reaching out into time to Kilosoquah, Yana, Owasco, Kumush... and I go home after, believe it or not, a tear or two because of the emotions I have for the people behind the characters.

Chapter 14 -- Circle of Faith

I am not a religious person: I am very spiritual, if you call love of family and the need to coach or assist others spiritualism. But when I stepped onto the sacred circle and saw its causeway lead to the eastern horizon, I wondered, at the age of ten, if the Adena and Hopewell could have recorded the most fascinating astronomical phenomenon to grace the world -- the Star of Bethlehem... the sign of the birth of Christ.
I felt hypocritical, at first, to even suggest such a theory, since I did not believe Christ to be the Son of God. In fact, until not so many years ago, I was not convinced that there was a God.

As I mentioned in the opening message, I believe life events happen to us for reasons. One of those early life events that prepared me for putting the pieces together -- to possibly understand the meaning of the circles' design -- came to me while I was swinging, after dark, when I was maybe seven years old. It was a clear night with a full moon. As the night progressed, a huge ring formed around the moon -- a halo. I remember asking Mom about it; she said the ring had something to do with the dust and moisture in the air. The halo was so gigantic. It was an awesome ring that consumed the sky.
I don't think I've ever seen another sky like it to this day. However, a mile from my home near Columbia City (my motel room for the past seventeen years until I return to my sacred Whitewater Valley) is the old, white, picturesque church of Hope Lutheran. In the back room of that church is a picture of the pretty little chapel with a full moon in the background. The photographer caught the moon with a halo that is somewhat similar to what I saw that night on the swing -- proof that such happenings occur… a message to me to "write the book." And so writing the scene and imagining the view, from the hilltop, of the star filling the eastern horizon absolutely intrigued me.

The concept of Christ as the Son of God has been hard for me to accept; I am truly ashamed to admit this. And there are times when I feel I should back down from spreading the word of the sacred circles and the possibility. But then I think, which is the worse error: sharing the possibility and being wrong, or taking the message to my grave and never letting anyone know... never giving the possibility to the world, and never giving the possibility a chance to become a reality for mankind?
The choice to believe is yours, just as the choice of faith belongs to you. I am sharing the facts -- the existence of the circles, the dates from the radiocarbon testing, the archaeological evidence of the Adena and Hopewell. As I have found every reason in the past to personally deny the possibility, what more must I have laid before me to be absolutely sure? What more but a conversation with God or Christ could convince me? Well if it's all true, I just may have that chance someday. If there isn't any truth to it, while I'm alive my soul can take comfort in the hope of the possibility -- faith.
When I stand on that circle, I try to imagine the holiness of living at the time of His birth. The Indians would not have realized the significance, but I would have known if I had gone back in time. Wouldn't it be an awesome feeling to know that Christ walked the earth at the very same time? Now just how incredible would that be? Almost enough inspiration to cause you to write a book?
I presented my theory to Don Cochran and Beth McCord, of Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, on August 13, 2002. I am grateful to them for not laughing me out of their offices. In fact, we had a one and one-half hour discussion -- one of the most exciting moments of my life... to finally share the possibility and lay out my plans for the reconstruction of the sites with professionals of the field. They were kind and courteous hosts. I look forward to working with them in the years ahead.
I enjoy telling about my first phone contact with Beth. When I told her I wanted time to talk with her about a theory relative to the construction of the mounds, she asked, "This doesn't involve extraterrestrials, does it?" Well, I responded with a no, but I laughed after the call thinking, no, this just involves the daddy of the extraterrestrials.
She was kind: She did not laugh at me during the visit... although I bet there was a bit more smiling at the afternoon break than usual.
And I want to be clear that neither Don, Beth, nor Ball State endorse my theory. Don states the possibility exists (it can't be disproved yet) and that I must be prepared for the challenge from accomplished archaeologists... but to take my proposal forward.
Thanks, Don and Beth. Imagine where mankind would be if science did not embrace new ideas... Why, the world would still be flat!

Sister Katheryn -- I don't know if this is the correct spelling of her name, but I feel it is right. (Actually, I've spelled it the same as my youngest daughter's middle name.) Anyway, I developed a crush for a nun with a shiny nose and sparkling eyes when I was ten years-old. She was very young, not like the older sisters with whom I was most familiar. She smiled a lot and treated me with the attention and concern of an older biological sister.

Notawkah means, "He hears." I thought the name and meaning to be perfect for our miracle child -- our first Christmas miracle in the New World.

I really enjoyed writing the Carey-Megan reunion scene. It makes me cry at times to this day, but my daughters say I cry about everything. (Just wait for their wedding days. How embarrassed will they be then of their father?)

Chapter 15 -- Within the Walls of Glass Jars

I loved writing the Umpchee threat; I can't wait to see it in the movie version... I can only hope. Right? I can just see Kumush looking at Carey in bewilderment, when Carey passes out, and then at Yana.

Umpchees, as much as I probably shouldn't admit it, came from my vision of a few "challenged" umpires I've met and of melted cheese. I will not elaborate on my thoughts any further... Strange thoughts... yes, but real.

I like to stand on the hill and imagine the valley filled with makeshift villages -- campfires dancing, people laughing, babies crying.

I own a cream-colored clay bowl. I enjoy its simple construction. As for the Dayton Museum of Natural History, I spent weeks there over the summers, with Jay Heilman, as excavations at Sun Watch were underway. (I understand the museum has relocated, and it has a new name.) I will reconstruct the sacred circles and the Village of the Majenica much like they've done at Sun Watch -- a reconstructed Fort Ancient village, south of Dayton, Ohio, that dates to 1100 A.D.

Wolves and coyotes really spook me a little worse than spiders. To hear the coyotes yip and yap outside our home in rural Indiana sends chills through my body.

Vecho means, "clever trickster" in the language of the Cheyenne.

Catching lightning bugs was so much fun as a kid, especially when we had visitors. Our parents remained inside, but the kids would run wildly around the yard and fields, catching all the bugs we could to place in glass jars with holes punched in the metal lids.

Chapter 16 – Of Memories

An old wooden barn, on the family farm and as described by Carey, served as one harbor out of the rain for the birds when I was a kid. Although the barn is now gone, I remember it in detail. There was a broken window in the high peak on the east end; one glass panel was missing. Someday I hope to build a replica of the old red barn -- massive beech beams held together at the joints with wooden pegs, a roof of wooden shingles, and I'll leave one glass panel out of the window on the east end to let the birds in and out of the rain.

Chapter 17 -- Of Broken Canes

The edited version of this story scrapped the tale and message of Mary Davis from her deathbed. She saw her husband's image as she was about to die. She believed his spirit existed so much that she instructed her son, Tom Davis, to say hello to his father... that it was rude for Tom to ignore his father sitting at the end of the bed. She told Tom that the one you loved most will come to get you when it comes time for you to die…
The deathbed message from Mary Davis is as it was shared with me by Tom -- my trusted friend. The story is not a fabrication. Tom stands at least six feet six inches tall and is as broad across the shoulders as a barn is wide. Tears come to his eyes when he mentions his mother; he looks forward to seeing her again someday. His faith is strong.
Tom Davis is one of the most generous men I have had the honor of knowing. He scored over fifty points in a single high school basketball game, to give you an idea as to his determination and desire. If moving to Whitley County has had a bright side to it, meeting and getting to know Tom Davis, his family, and neighbors (the members of Citizens Organized Watch, Inc... COW) top the list. To a great friend and life warrior, I extend my gratitude to Mr. Tom Davis.

The view of the Whitewater River from the bluff west of the cemetery is my favorite along the river.

Someday I hope to see a blue ball of light at the river's edge, which is where such an encounter must take place, “you know.” Which loved one will it be? I don't care because I'll be ecstatic to meet with any of them. Or, maybe my soul will be the one returning from another realm.

"Well, what's it all for?" My son, Patrick, has always been one who thinks a great deal on his own and forms his own worldly views based on the life truths his thinking generates. As with his dad's sessions of life-truth-thinking, more questions were generated than answered.
Patrick was thirteen when I heard his mother say from the living room, "Go ask your dad." A crying Patrick entered the dining room; life was hanging by a thread.
"Well, what's it all for?" he blurted.
I really didn't have to ask him to explain himself; I knew the thought of futility behind that unanswered revelation… a revelation that we go through this life on Earth… and then we die! That's all we get, all we work toward, regardless of how hard we work, how hard we try... we end up dying! Why even try? What is it all for?
My son had taken the first step toward becoming a responsible human being. He wanted to know what he was to do in this life. Of what importance or difference was he to make as a contribution? By realizing his potential insignificance in this world, he became significant as a soul with a body.
What's it all for? Young Oldenkamp is given the message by Senior Oldenkamp in this chapter. And when you are doubtful, go to the circles and be reminded of the greatest act of giving during a life devoted to others… so that other souls may benefit from the actions of One.
Life is what you make of the one you are given.

It was late at night when the Einstein and Twain quip came to me: "Oh, Ein' says it's all relative, and Twain says he's glad I'm not one of his." Anna, my youngest daughter, says it was later into the night than I remember and that I should have quit writing earlier in the evening.

Chapter 18 -- Where The Birds Go When It Rains

My mother and father are storytellers in their own ways: Mom speaks of animals and their souls as human, and she will assure you those souls are as destined for Heaven as any other. When our animals died, or when our grandparents passed away, we knew we were left with the bodies; the souls escaped and were off to where they were most needed. Grave goods -- the dog and cat beddings sprinkled with their favorite toys -- accompanied the animals to their resting places.

Dad keeps souls alive by telling of their life stories and through his Catholic faith. The tales always contain laughs or something of soulful significance -- of fable worthiness… (Volk and “How The Bear Lost His Tail”) And as I've been told, my grandfather, Bill Wesseler, was quite the storyteller as well.
So the concept of Kumush's soul going on to perform his all important mission, where the birds go when it rains, is as all of us will experience -- a trip to the next realm to do as we are destined to do, or maybe this is the world in which our work is to be performed.

I was introduced to the title of this book while having lunch with a friend at the Coney Island in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Steve Ringenberg mentioned that his daughter and her friends perceived him to be a bit unusual… sitting in the basement, doing as he does, listening to his strange music… thinking him to be as uninvestigated and mysterious as the thought of where the birds go when it rains -- things not to be truly known by man.
A title was born -- fate intervened in the confines of a hot dog restaurant.

Chapter 19 - In The River Of Time

The Whitewater River is my River of Time. Its valley brought me a history lesson experienced by so few. From the Ice Age until the day I die, I've lived the times... maybe even the marking of the day Jesus was born. The opening setting of this chapter is clear in my mind. The river bank is high and steep halfway between the cement bridge and the bend at the fateful raspberry patch. The current is steady there... a constant current... always pulling at the bottom elements.

Cremation and the sending of the body into the heavens just made spiritual symbolic sense to me for this story. Who can say it isn't the premise for cremations performed by the ancients? Two questions about the aspect of cremation have been asked of me by those reading early versions of this story -- those copies I had to get out to family and friends to see what they thought of the book: Why wasn't Carey cremated, and who was the third cremation found the summer of 1968, since it wasn't Carey in the story?
Not everyone was cremated when the Indians practiced this ritual. Most bodies were buried. I am told cremations date back to the time of the Paleo... back to maybe 12,000 B.C. But in my part of the Whitewater River Valley, as far as I can tell, the practice of cremation appeared around the time of the birth of Christ.
Carey chose the conventional mode of burial for a very good reason: How difficult would it be to find melted plastic glasses in a heap of charred bones?
The third cremation will be a topic of my third book -- the sequel of this tale. (My second book will not be related to this series.) The sequel will take a bit of research for me to present it in the authentic detail that it deserves. I will need to learn how to read and speak Spanish... It'll be the most exciting write that I will ever have in this lifetime -- most exciting, not the most soulful; this tale takes that honor.

Book two is one I've wanted to write for the past five years. I want to get it in print before I begin the wonderful journey of preparing for and creating book three. In the first chapter of Where The Birds Go When It Rains, I have made one short reference to something that relates to the content of the sequel. It isn't much of a hint, and in fact, it doesn't give away any of the tale, but a reference is made in one sentence…

I feel as if I'm Heinrich Schliemann standing on the walls of Troy when I stand on the top of the hill. Under my feet lie secrets, two thousand years old, that will someday come to life... maybe a skeleton wearing a pair of black plastic rimmed glasses. Won't all of us be surprised? Somehow, I almost expect such a twist in my life.

The wolf cult... now those boys actually scare me. I still have the book with the artist’s interpretation of what the shamans looked like with the wolf palettes hanging from their upper mouths. I imagined the priests working in and around the crowd in their wolf headdresses. As a kid, the concept of wolf shamans really bothered me.

Snails? Have I mentioned snails? Imagine burning a pot of them. Yes, my great-grandmother, just as Carey's, incinerated a roast while cooking in my grandfather's trailer. The odor was awful!
The snails fascinated me: I found it incredible to hold two thousand year-old snail shells during the dig.
I don't remember the exact year I discovered the location of the Village of the Majenica -- the Adena and Hopewell village -- but it was probably 1972. Mom suggested that I take care of my boredom by walking the freshly plowed fields across the road from our house. If I recall correctly, it had not yet rained on the plowed soil. Until the fields are “disced” and it rains on them, it is very difficult to find artifacts, but I was so anxious to walk the southern edge of the site, that I risked it anyway.
When I look back on it now, after the completion of this book, I can almost see Heaven's record keeper of Earthly events checking off the moment of discovery and announcing to Heaven's council that the step had been taken and the plan was in place... (although it would be another thirty-two years before the "final chapter" would be recorded). On that fateful trip, I discovered my seventy-sixth artifact (significant to me because, unless I screwed up, I was to graduate from high school in 1976). A few moments later, I found a six inch long celt -- sign of an Adena or Hopewell site. I ran the quarter mile plus, in my boots, to my house out of sheer excitement.
Later that year and the years thereafter, I found a heavy concentration of snail shells on the furthermost southeastern ridge of the hill. To me this was the final proof of the connection to the sacred circles. I had found my Troy.

The scene where Carey and Kilosoquah communicate by thought during the cremations represents the connection a mother and son, or a mother-in-law and son-in-law, may have with one another. A spiritual connection can develop. Mom forms such connections with her animals and life. With Susan's mom, I left some chips on the table when she passed away. At our last Christmas with her, the woman who seldom spoke out, while in the crowd, asked that we listen to her. She proceeded to share her words of how proud she was of her family members and their achievements. I didn't have the courage to speak up that day… to publicly tell her how much she meant to me. That seemed a bit corny to my immature soul. How stupid was that? I never completed my desire to tell her publicly or privately how she was an inspiration to me for going through the heart surgery, for her maternal leadership, and for the values she set that drove the family members to their characteristic hard-working, honest, faithful reputations.
She knows now. I speak to her often, and I think she's there watching over me when I most need her attention. As Tom Davis assures me, she and I will meet again.
Due to that life lesson, I take every opportunity to share soulful feelings these days; I don't ever want to leave something of value left unsaid. The words need to be shared without hesitation or reservation, and often.

Carey's return to the village to retrieve the gifts inspired a lot of visuals for me. Every October we hold a Halloween party at the family farm (with the exception of two years, I believe) over about the past twenty years. Usually, I camp out with the hearty souls who dare to brave the cold. When the site is cleared of the bales of straw, tents, relatives, and friends, I go back to the woods to sit by myself, to absorb the silence, to remember that year's party, to think about the times at parties of the past. I anticipate taking moments to reflect on the past when I'm an old man, as well. I think it's that looking forward-looking backward perspective that gives me such bittersweet pleasure when I'm alone just thinking. I appreciate the times and the people of the present when I think of what life will or could be like without them.
Did Carey experience the birthplace of a new era of humanity and spiritualism? Will we rediscover it on the dig of the future? And as much as I look to that future, I think often of what thoughts and memories may come to me when I sit on or walk across the village when I'm an old man... when my future here on Earth and the future discoveries of the site are over. The Old Man of the Sea; The Old Man of the Hill.

The presence of a sycamore always inspires me. The light colored bark and twisted branches are in awesome contrast to the dark grooved barks of the oak, maple, walnut, and ash of the woods.

Connecting Yana to Carey through Megan's soul was not the original plan for Yana. In fact, Megan was not even a part of the first version of the book. Yana's connection to Carey and Megan's purpose and death were inspired by the real life loss of Rebekah Niedermeyer, a family friend, and her thirteen year-old daughter, Christy. They died together in an auto accident on November 16, 1999. That event changed the direction and the purpose of Yana's character. (My soul needs her presence in the book and my life.)
Mother and daughter were headed for Christy's basketball practice in a rush when Becky failed -- as a busy, hurried mother -- to stop at the bottom of a hill and drove into the path of a semi.
I coached Christy in softball. I worked on her pitching abilities and, most important, her confidence. She was afraid to pitch... but enjoyed the thought of the possibility. I saw the desire in her and wanted her to pursue her greatness.
I was on a business trip when our team was scheduled for a game. Christy was asked to pitch. She said something along the line of: "Jamie's not here. I can't pitch without him." Oh, how I filled with pride when I heard those words repeated to me over the phone. She went on to pitch a fine game.
And taking her lead, knowing that a soul as wonderful as Christy's has gone before me, I don't fear death as I once did... maybe just the pain before I get there... which I'm glad to know she and her mother did not experience.
Christy and Becky... "Always."

The pendant is described as the likeness of the one I found on my son's birthday, June 17, 1989. The stone and etching are as unique as I've described them in the book. You'll be able to see it, someday, in the museum that we'll build in the gravel pit. When I found the artifact, the story of my then unnamed time traveler took on the twist of an Indian girlfriend. The time traveler was to someday find the pendant he had made for her in the fields as he hunted for artifacts. Well, that was too much agony for my soul: I could not let our adventurer and his lover be separated by time... never meeting again. I couldn't do that; it wasn't meant to be. Lovers are not meant to be separated forever.
What thrills me to this day is holding the pendant and wondering for whom it was made, who made it, and why?

Chapter 20 -- Faith

"To have faith, absolute faith, you must surrender your ego."
While many passages are of messages from this writer to his readers, this one came from my guardian angel, my mother-in-law, Becky, Christy... all of those souls who watch over me... as their message to me.
I wrote many versions of this book over the years. With each, I denied myself the message of the sacred circles. And then, one day, these words shot from my pen. To believe, I must abandon my ego; I must not worry about being fooled because that would make me even more of a fool.
Yes, I do believe the sacred circles are signs for all of eternity of that miracle... a statement I would not have been so confident of six months before writing these very words. I cannot deny the evidence that I presented to you in the first part of this section.

While I've added tidbits to Maconaquah's letter, I wrote the scene and letter in one sitting... and I bawled. Everything I had written to that point, every emotion manifested in the letter. I felt every emotion, every word, every soulful lead -- everything. The write was awesome.

And how I love the thought, the vision of Yana, Kilosoquah, Maconaquah, and Owasco dancing in the rain... "our chief playing in the rain."

Susan and I first took notice of each other while leaving a Lincoln High School home football game. She looked so incredibly beautiful that night with her auburn hair down across her shoulders, a smile that made her cheekbones turn full and soft, eyes that sparkled in the bright field lights, sensuous lips (and I had no idea at the age of sixteen what that look really meant or inspired, but I liked the feeling) -- everything about her was too much for me not to take notice. I have her four 4-H pictures; she was a prom queen years later. My knees grow weak and I get that heavy stomach feeling when I look at those pictures to this day -- one on the night stand next to our bed, two on my work desk, and one in a frame overlooking the writer’s desk -- writing inspiration.

I bought Susan a decorated prism lamp for her sixteenth birthday. It's on the nightstand, too... behind my favorite of the four pictures.

The dreaded Helga and the compassionate Marilyn are of the quirkiness of my father. When I lived at home, he would tease about someone, or one of my mother's animals, only for me to find out that the person meant so much to him in some way... or find him petting the cat when he thought no one was watching, and then having him turn to me and say teasingly, "Don't tell your mom." Sorry, Dad.

Chapter 21 -- Always

"Jerry, Jerry with a 'J"'... another one of my favorite twists…
I owe a word of gratitude to, literary agent and author, Donald Maass for the full development in the storyline of “Jerry with a ‘J’.” His book, Writing The Breakout Novel, is a must for anyone crafting a story of fiction. Originally, Gerald was just a hated man. Then I read Mr. Maass', passage: “Practice forgiveness in your fiction (and in your life!). It is a powerful source of character strength.” From his words came Carey’s soulful cleansing. Once I made this change to the tale, I felt as if I had received the cleansing.
Thank you, Donald Maass, and thanks for the unquantifiable writers’ advice.

As I get older, I find that I try to understand my opponents more than I ever thought I would be capable of doing. However, I find forgiveness to be very difficult, if not impossible, still to this day. The story of Gerald, Jerry with a "J," represents those missed life opportunities we fail to soulfully seize -- opportunities for personal, soulful growth -- times when we could have extended an open hand to someone in need.

The break between the wakes:
I was exhausted at Becky and Christy Niedermeyer's wakes – mother's and daughter's caskets together, the community outpouring, the emotions. To "get away from it all," I sat between two flower collections, as Carey, during the break between the wakes. It was quiet; I had time to relax... to absorb the life event and message; I had time to cry, again; I had time to ask God why... one hundred more times. And then, in the doorway appeared a young man of Christy's age. He wouldn't come in right away; he stood there, in the doorway, glanced at Becky, stared at Christy, glanced at Becky and stared even longer at Christy. He was alone except for the red rose he held in his hands. He stepped out into the room, not looking anywhere but at Christy. He stopped and stared at her. A young man, his lost love... all so unbelievable to him. He didn't know or care that I was there; I felt like an intruder being present in what was to be their moment and theirs alone. Slowly he walked the last few steps to her side, stopped to look at her, placed the rose in her casket, stepped back a few steps for one last look, and bolted for the door. I cried. It was the most soulful, touching, heart-wrenching experience I have ever witnessed. I'm sure it was her reported boyfriend. And even after writing this book, I do still ask: Why God? Why did you rob some young man of a life's love? I don't really understand; I don't really accept it. But I also don't know what Christy's next mission entails. I'm sure God needed her and her mother for something incredible.
I wish I would have gotten the name of the young man. Maybe someday I will; maybe I won't; maybe it should remain as it was -- an innocent, silent moment of love and respect between the two of them. I will always remember his actions... Always.

The black plastic glasses -- I hated wearing those things.

The sense of needing yet another moment with the deceased... who among us has not felt such a need for one more moment to say good-bye and to tell someone you love them? The message delivered to Patrick, in this chapter, is as the one I want to leave to my loved ones when I pass away. I will always know how much we mean to each other; love is the foundation on which our lives are built. I will ALWAYS know this. And, in case I didn't tell you recently... I will always love you, even if it wasn't something I told you when we last spoke... "The soul takes with it only the good."

Susan asked about the issue of Carey’s body being left behind: “Shouldn’t it have disappeared and gone with him?” Carey enters the time of the Majenica with the form he had when he last appeared there -- as a sixteen year-old. As with each of us when we die, the body we have here is shed by the soul so that we may take on our new form.

Polly Minear, the artist for this book, after reading a draft, mentioned the significance of the red rose as possibly the intended action of Jerry's request. Originally, I was going to have Carey deliver a red rose, so Little Rose could experience the real flower. I liked the Jerry connection and added it as the last "theme" of the book.

Chapter 22 -- For All of Time

I first ended the story without closure to Patrick's and Ellen's presence. My oldest daughter, Jacquelyn, brought me to my writer's senses... if I have such things. Thanks, Jacquelyn, and thanks to all of the incredibly awesome people and souls who have made my life so wonderfully fulfilling.

And thanks to my wife, Susan, who has waited patiently for the completion of this book. She has given me the greatest gifts a woman could ever give a man -- her love and children. Thank you, Susan. It is my love for you that provided the passion behind the writing of this story.

Someday you will be able to see the pendant, the mounds, and the village. Whether you keep your faith in a box, in your heart, or in the love of another, your life is not without purpose. Cherish your life and, more important, the lives of others. Don't waste a moment of the time you've been given. And when you are really in doubt as to the existence of Christ or God, join me at the sacred circles; they just may be our Holy Grail; they are mine with the completion of this tale.

The Village of the Majenica and the sacred circles will be excavated and reconstructed. I hope to begin this process no later than 2010. I'm not sure when the sites will be ready for public visitation... I mean you may drive to the locations this very day, but the state park isn't even a park at this moment: You’ll find cows grazing on the village site. Someday, I hope we'll actually be able to give tours and let groups of children spend nights camping out in the reconstructed homes of the Majenica or in the crematoriums of the sacred circles. I want to be there often and to participate in the excavations. Maybe we'll have the pleasure of meeting there, or Where The Birds Go When It Rains.

Thank you for making the journey of the novel with me.


- Jamie Paul Wesseler

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