Islands of the Son
by Shannon McArthur
The Victrola stood at the top of the driveway looking very forgotten – but it wasn’t, and new adventures were just around the corner… The purpose for which it was created had been thoroughly enjoyed long ago, but it had been shuffled from place to place for years, and had waited powerless for something exciting to happen again. Used as a table to display pretty sparkly things, resurrecting its original intended purpose would have taken a lot of effort: things removed, mechanisms learned, records to be found, and the time to enjoy those ancient sounds to be carved from the prevailing reality.
The week before I got a call from my brother, who owned the driveway, the house and the Victrola – and he told me the house had been put up for sale and they were moving to the lake. There would be no room for the beautiful old piece of furniture that our grandfather had ordered and shipped from Great Britain so long ago – he and his wife had some money to either buy more land next to their very large farm in mid-Alberta, or something else. Going with his heart, he decided on something else… the Victrola was shipped across the ocean, down or around the Great Lakes and across the prairies, picked up at the train station, probably by horse-drawn cart, and installed in their family home where generations of the entire community enjoyed the beautiful strains of music captured by the technicians of the day. When he died, the music was put away. His widow lived on without his music, without him. She lived a long time and when she died, she passed the Victrola on to my brother.
Like me, my brother is not a very musical person. When he received it, he was pleased and honoured, but it didn’t get any use. It remained a beautiful piece of furniture that displayed other beautiful things… until this change. It had become a burden and was at risk of being dumped! He offered it to me but I didn’t have room. I couldn’t take the Victrola – but by a stroke of inspiration I found someone who could, and the tale will unfold for you as we go forward…
A little bit of philosophy: while it held all those beautiful things, along with the keys and purses and daily debris of life, I wonder if perhaps the Victrola forgot what its original purpose was. Did it remember the music it brought to life, and the joyous gatherings, the special private moments between dancers? Community was created within reach of its waves of sound, an island of music where people set aside their worries and, instead, allowed their hearts to lead them in a dance inspired. Did the Victrola know of the changes to come? Did it feel anxiety because of the plans that would spell the end of the place it stood? Did it feel helpless? Did it feel…
Does it feel? I’ve read that some people believe that ‘inanimate’ objects do feel, and have an awareness. I’m not sure how that could be but it is an intriguing notion – and it could be True. We certainly don’t know everything – we’re finding out every day just how wrong we can be! I’m using the capitalized version of “True” vs. the lowercase “true” to differentiate something bigger than what could be simply a belief: one person’s truth is not necessarily the same as another’s! Each of us, I believe, have a piece of the Truth living within us. When we share what we believe, we can test how true it is. If it rings True to others, by sharing we allow our piece of Truth to merge and become part of the bigger Truth. If it doesn’t ring True to them, it doesn’t mean it’s wrong, necessarily. Perhaps they didn’t hear the ring of Truth. Maybe they weren’t ready to hear it, unable to catch the tune; perhaps the beat wasn’t solid or the melody unsteady, the timing off. It may just need work. Being inspired helps…
The Story Continues – I digress:
While volunteering at the community kitchen, I came to know the chef. I spent an evening at her house getting to know her, joined her and her friends for a Norwex party and some crafting evenings. She is a wonderful woman with a very generous nature. When I needed a screen to provide privacy at a Fall Fair, she dove into her shed and produced exactly what I needed – I’ve always wanted one just like it! I was a good borrower and returned it promptly afterward, and when I needed it again, she said, “Why don’t you keep it? It’s just taking up storage space here!”
When I was offered the Victrola, it didn’t take long to come up with the idea of passing it on to her. She lives in a family home: her daughter’s family lives upstairs and she lives downstairs with her husband. She was also the obvious recipient because of the other item my brother had offered me – an electric grain mill from the same era as the Victrola. She had asked us a couple months back to keep an eye out for one!
Another bit of philosophy – synchronicity! When things happen that are just too perfect, pay attention. They help you notice that Spirit is present; living in and through your life, and the lives of those around you. I find that very encouraging. Knowing that things are being affected, arranged and presented for our attention and benefit has astounding extension into the reality that we share. This is a Truth that more and more of us are becoming aware of. While it is not yet “common knowledge”, this is the process we are in right now: the realization of Spirit and Purpose and Sharing – the Awakening.
Some of the concepts that I’m pulling in here may be a little “New Age” for you, and I respect that. Each one of us has our own idea of what Truth is – unless we have accepted the dogma of a religion. Pervading religion was a step in humanity’s development, I believe, that allowed us to maintain a commonality of intention that was really important while we were increasing in number. But while people blindly followed the rules, religions were amassing fortunes, taking over and exploiting the Earth, our only home! Long before the 60s, individuals started thinking for themselves, and they spoke to others. Now, most of us are aware that, just like the Victrola, we need a secure, healthy and loving home.
The Story Continues:
I didn’t hear from the chef for awhile. I saw her announcements in my Inbox but I was busy so couldn’t join them at the kitchen. I wondered and hoped, (almost) confident that someday I would hear about the Victrola – and one night I heard from her. I had emailed her with a picture of a desk that was taking up too much space and, when she said she could give it a good home and mentioned an extra night in the kitchen, I suggested she pick up the desk and me on the way to the kitchen. She brought her 2 grandsons (3 and 5); we loaded the desk and were off – it was a great evening of teamwork and good community. I brought home 8 cans of salsa and stewed tomatoes and relish for only $5! I cannot emphasize enough the joys and benefits of our community kitchen and the church that provides the facility for it! (Yes, there are good things that churches do, but dictating the thoughts and behaviours of people is not one of them!)
On the ride home I heard the story of the Victrola – not having been in touch allowed it to be told like a good story, from the tragedy to the happy ending! She got the Victrola home and set it up; chose a record and picked up the arm to set the needle on the record – and it fell apart in her hand! She was devastated! But she didn’t just throw up her hands and decide to use it as a display cabinet: she started searching the internet for how to fix it.
After weeks of fruitless research, on the second-last day of a trip across the continent for a different purpose, she learned of a man who could help her – and he was just an hour and a half train ride north of where she was, instead of across the country! She and her husband took that trip and found the one man in all the world (it seemed) who knows how to fix it, and has the workshop with the replacement parts. She told me that even her husband was happy with the trip – meeting the man with the fabulous workshop was as much a treat for him as it was for her! It worried both of them that the man, Don Woodward, has no one to pass the workshop on to when he passes on – he has clients all over the world! He is 73 and last year he had a brush with mortality. When asked what would happen when he died, Don replied that his kids would probably just throw it all in the dump.
Before the final bit of the story, one last bit of philosophy and the purpose of Islands of the Son – it may get a little strange here and I urge you to consider the bits, as well as the whole. Problems with religions are primarily that the leaders weren’t able to share their Truths widely; their followers skewed them in their favour; and those speaking their Truth died before the texts were written. History is written by the victors and the Truths told did not support the victors’ visions of success. Basic Truths still remain, though, buried in the foundations of the great religions.
I offer here some of my truths, bits that have come to me through religions and philosophies, prophecies I’ve heard, dreams I’ve had and what has come to me through meditations and life experience. What we do, going forward, will be what We WILL it to be–the majority of us–and the rest will be carried along, as they have been carried along, all along. No one HAS to be a part of the Awakening – it’s going to happen anyway – it IS happening anyway. What we become will be the result of thinkers sharing, and action-takers doing what feels right and Truthful to them. It’s already happening and it’s really exciting but there is still this majority of us that are still asleep. There’s talk of a tipping point…
The question is, what do We want to be made up of? Do We want Victrolas to be part of that? We are not only our bodies; we are also ethereal, something not of this reality/world. We are the things we make and do, the choices we make and the experiences we have. We are more than the people alive today on this planet – We are our ancestors and We are the ones that will come after. Time is a construct of humanity because we have had no way to conceptualize the idea of no-time. Spirit/God is no-time – eternal.
Have I lost you? I hope not because this is where it gets interesting… I’d like to use my words, if you don’t mind – it’s easier to say what I mean if I use my words. Instead of God, let’s use Spirit… living inside us, around us, through us – it is the Great Mystery and it includes All That Is: the Sun, the Moon, the Universe, the Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and life: plants, animals and… you get the picture. Each of those things is created from the same things – stardust and Spirit. Going back to the idea of the Victrola having an awareness of its risky position in reality; this begins to sound feasible, doesn’t it? If we are only stardust and Spirit, and so is the Victrola, who can say it has no awareness?
The fabric of our reality is built upon expansion by duplication – fractals, basically: patterns formed of patterns based on the patterns that formed them. Everywhere we turn we see evidence of new life born from existing life–male and female usually, although some plants and animals do it differently, and maybe that’s important too (clownfish can choose their gender!) And we learn by example. We smile and speak to our children to teach them to be happy and how to communicate. As adults we go to a new job and learn by seeing what others have done, or do. As people, looking at the evidence of what we see in our world, knowing that Spirit is pretty smart, and believing there is an underlying purpose to our existence, what are we supposed to learn from these examples?
Perhaps the life cycle of a God…an awakening of our Awareness… Remembering that we each have our own little bit of the Truth, and weaving those small bits together into a tapestry that holds together, one bit that has rung True for me is that a Child is to be ‘born’. I believe All That Is was created as a womb for the Child. That Child (Son, Daughter, or something Other) will be the Child of God – or is that Gods? If we are the Child We are meant to be, Our mother is certainly Mother Earth and the sun would be Our Father, providing the energy for us to live. Comforting to have two parents, isn’t it?
As a reward for your perseverance and tenacity, and listening to what rings True to me, I’ll tell you what is happening in the “life” of the Victrola. It is now settled in its new home, has a new arm and new needles – did you know that each time a record is played, a new needle is used?! Now the Victrola is turned on almost every day, a new needle is applied to an old record and beautiful music is heard by a wonderful family, a small basic fractal of All That Is.
But Our story is not done – We are just awakening! In our existence as humans, cells within the body of the Child, we have been islands – of experience, emotions and knowledge; islands of Spirit–islands of the Son (/Daughter/?) It is time to build bridges between us because many of the most wonderful things in this world are being lost. If an apprentice for Don Woodrow, the Victrola Repairman, is not found; when we lose him, we lose a vital link to a wonderful segment of music history – of human endeavour and enjoyment. In this amazing world of today, we have an invention that is just as marvelous as the Victrola was in its day: the Internet. Through our connections we can find the perfect person to help him. Please share this with anyone who you think could be, or could help find, an apprentice for Mr. Woodrow, or with anyone you think might enjoy the story. Feel free to contact me or the Canadian Antique Phonograph Society.