I can’t say I have ever had a so-called supernatural experience, certainly not like some I’ve heard about, or even the several that come to mind that involved me indirectly – like the time Noel Sullivan told me one morning at the back of the warehouse where we both worked that he had a message from my father who had died a week or two earlier in Los Angeles.
I consider myself quite open-minded: I listened to what Noel had to say those many years ago. I believed it actually happened as he described it, including my Dad’s message, and I still do. I get what Shakespeare meant when he had Hamlet say to his friend Horatio, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
But if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes that day at the Berford Lake well I would never have believed it.
First, I should explain, until I can afford to have a well drilled here at my Hope Ness, Cathedral Drive farm, I have to bring in my drinking and wash water, almost always from the Artesian well at Berford Lake. For a long time even before I moved here I’ve gone to get water there when the solar-powered batteries were low at the other place, too low to turn on the well-pump.
Never once have I seen the Berford Lake well not flowing, and I’d be willing to bet nobody else around here has either.
I’ll just take a moment before I go on to remind anyone who’s forgotten that particular school lesson, that an artesian well is one that has its primary water source on higher ground. The well just west of Berford Lake taps into an underground stream that originates in the higher Niagara Escarpment area much further west on the Georgian Bay side of the Bruce Peninsula. Because it’s under pressure it flows constantly without the help, or the hindrance, of any man-made energy source.
Except, to the best of my knowledge, for that one time.
Workaway is a non-profit volunteer organization that helps people from all over the world visit other countries on a modest budget. They are given the opportunity to get in touch with “hosts,” mostly with farmers willing to give them room and board for a couple of weeks in exchange for a few hours work a day. Wild Apple Farm at Hope Ness has had “Workawayers” from France, Germany, England, Ireland, Scotland, and Canada. Most of the Canadians were fairly new immigrants to the country anxious to explore their new home.
The young couple from Scotland were touring Canada. They were an interesting couple: he was creative, with a talent for using bits and pieces of wood and other things he might find in the forest to make whimsical little items not necessarily designed to be used, but fun to make and have around, like the “bear stick” with a birch-bark, gift-note attached. It would never actually work to ward off one of the black bears we know are around; but that wasn’t the point anyway. She, his partner, was creative too in her quieter way, and very sensitive. Occasionally, when his exuberant energy was threatening to get him carried away in company, she might knowingly, discreetly, and gently touch his arm with her hand to settle him down just a bit. It was a gesture of love, not criticism.
One morning I took them to Berford Lake with me to fill up some containers of water at the well, and so they could see the lake was a place where they could go for a swim.
As the three of us stood by the well, I explained the kind it was, and that it never stopped flowing. Apparently, he couldn’t resist testing that.
He got down close to where the water was running out of the pipe. He looked at the water intently for a second or two. It stopped running. There was nothing coming out of the pipe. I was astonished beyond words.
Then his partner did that thing with her hand, gently touching his arm. She looked at him, with just enough concern in her eyes. He looked back at the end of the pipe, and after a second or two the water started running again.
Believe it or not.
I thought about that moment again when I went there this morning, like I always do when I go to get water. It was running, of course.
He was an interesting young man indeed, still trying to figure out how best to use his extraordinary gifts.
I hope he has found his path, with her help.