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Professor - part 3
Fri Oct 6, 2017 10:39


"I thought adiabatic winds tended to warm up as they descend?" I asked as we enjoyed our meal.

"Yes, Tolbert that was a bit naughty of me to try and test you like that! Forgive me but I have been badgered by those who claim scientific knowledge they do not in fact possess and there would be no point in my trying to explain my experiments to someone unable to follow my arguments.

I saw your pole axed expression when I gave you the short version. Yes I know what it sounds like. You're afraid that you've fallen in with someone who believes in fairies and I could not fault you if that was your concern.

It's a long story and however I try to lead you gently through the morass stepping stone by stepping stone, it's inevitable that scepticism will be aroused especially later on when the various experimental equipment doesn't produce the required results.

So all I ask is that you first hear me tell you how it happened, call it a story if you will, if all else fails I could always write it out as if that's what it was and I'm sure the young and curious would show an interest."

After we'd finished eating we retired to a comfortable room lined with books and a good sized fireplace provided sufficient warmth to be enjoyed from the depths of two William Morris recliners, turned obliquely towards the fire and each other with a gap between them for a low table.

Said table holding a capacious ashtray, a pipe rack and a tobacco tin as well as a box of Players Perfectos Finos perhaps the best oval Virginian sugar cured cigarettes. A decanter of port completed the setting suitable for two gentlemen to enjoy a protracted session of conversation.

"Fire away!" I said after we'd settled ourselves down "I won't interrupt unless I don't understand something. Would you object to my taking a few notes referring to points of interest?"

"To be honest I'd prefer that for this initial hearing you simply permit me to tell the story as it occurred. I think its important that I not be distracted lest I forget something. I'd be happy to reiterate it chapter and verse for a subsequent retelling at a later date but for the moment its best listened to without distraction."

"Certainly Ronald, whatever you say."

"Many years ago I owned a golden retriever, sagacious animal, that I enjoyed taking for long walks up on the Downs. We'd start at the bottom of the Beacon and follow the steep winding road - its 1 in 4 you know - upward to the summit which has an Ordnance Survey marker and thence to one side or the other along the Ridgeway which though it isn't named as such, it should be.

Once clear of the road I took the dog off the leash and I used to enjoy watching him sniff at various spots along the way wondering what he found so fascinating because you could tell he was deep in thought and that big flexible button nose on the end of his muzzle would be twitching constantly, it was obvious to me that a lot more information was being taken in than a simple banal urine marker of some other dog.

Another aspect of his behaviour that struck me as being unusually thoughtful was the way in which he would examine apparently identical clumps of long grass to carefully select a particular spot as fit to be eaten for whatever purpose dogs eat grass, perhaps its medicinal, if it was simply roughage as the vet suggests then surely any grass would do the job?

I started to keep notes about these chosen spots and soon realised that he definitely preferred certain areas above all others and yet despite close examination I could find nothing to differentiate between them. Maybe the soil composition had something to do with it? There was reasoning behind this behaviour something obvious to a dog but opaque to human senses. I even tried smelling and tasting myself but couldn't really detect anything notable.

Over the months and years of these walks in all weather conditions I started to observe a lot more of interest that most people either don't notice or simply dismiss. How many times have you heard the phrase "Oh, it's just a weed"? No! It's a lot more than that, it's a living organism that has found its position as ideal for its growth but why? The more one pays attention, the more one notices and the more unanswered questions arise.

Inevitably any botanist, gardener or scientist would want to find as many satisfactory answers to these questions as they could. Notice the difference in technique between the old time gardener and the impatient home owner who just wants fast, neat and tidy results. The old time gardener doesnt use chemical fertilizers or insecticides if he or she can possibly avoid it. They know instead about companion planting about crops suited to the soil, if they use any fertilizer it will be compost or manure, the latter sparingly.

Have you ever owned a dog Tolbert?" the Professor enquired.

"Only as a boy, though I have occasionally thought about getting another but my job requires constant travel and it would not be kind to an animal to have to leave it alone or put it into a kennel."

"Did you ever feel a rapport with your childhood pet? Get the impression that it anticipated your thoughts?"

"No, not really and besides our dog was not so much mine as the family pet. My father often observed 'its as if the dog can read my mind' when it seemed to anticipate his decision to take a stroll and even bring him its leash as if asking to be allowed to accompany him."

"Ah ha! That is a much more common observation than one might think. In fact I would suggest the majority of dog owners have experienced similar reactions but this doesn't get investigated, because people don't usually talk about it publicly for fear of being ridiculed. Between themselves though, dog owners frequently exchange their observations and form hypotheses about the basis of this phenomenon. Some believe dogs are psychic, others maintain that our scent is constantly changing subtly reflecting our thoughts.

So that was my starting point on what was to become a long, strange investigation and my first port of call was the rain forests of South America where I had been informed a French explorer, one Messr. Rene Brull whose speciality is locating rare timbers, claimed to have spoken with the dryads who had begged him to desist and instead accept their guidance in understanding how important certain trees were to the health of the whole continent not just the rain forest."

"May I interrupt you there?" I asked "Could you perhaps clarify the nature of these dryads, what form they took and what means were used to communicate with Messr Brull?"

"With the aid of a native shaman Rene was given an herbal tea that enabled him to see and hear these tree spirits. I have his book here," he reached over to a bookshelf and put the volume down on the table "thats how I first learned of him and in it are reproduced some of the water colour illustrations he originally produced to help the timber company logging teams identify the correct trees.

Interestingly as you can read for yourself, he saw the outlines of these beings before being guided by the shaman and originally remarked in his footnotes that his drawings were accurate reproductions that he had not deliberately embellished. He also noted that after being shown how to see and speak with them he no longer required the herbal tea or any other assistance so strong was the manifestation of the beings.

The local natives take care to avoid harming those trees and even clear away any parasitic growths such as vines that suck the sap from them hampering their growth. Harmful insect infestations are also dealt with by introducing insect predators which help is a mark of the natives respect for what they regard as their guardians.

Rene states that the trees are quite capable of defending themselves from natural enemies if need be but reward the natives care by helping them with their food source plants by suppressing the plants and deterring those animals that would otherwise reduce the food source availability.

His is a most valuable source of information accorded the respect it deserves by the French scientific establishment but ignored or derided by the blinkered British and American botanical authorities. My researches have been continually and doggedly hampered by this hidebound attitude towards the unusual.

On our last night together before I had to board the steamer to return home to England, Rene remarked quite casually that, "now your companion Bruce - the name of my dog - knows what you're looking for he will be anxious to show you what to study more closely. The dog can help you if you let him, he gets frustrated that you don't pay close attention to his efforts to reach out to you.

I hadn't spoken about my dog at all and I replied in jest that he must be a mind reader since I was looking forward to the joyful greetings we would exchange on my return.

"Ah, mon ami" he replied "The love you both share accompanies you like a richly embroidered robe that enfolds you and announces the importance of this bond to those that have the eyes to see."

On which enigmatic note we parted with the promise to stay in touch via mail. We have exchanged a voluminous correspondence ever since, that box file over there contains it, you are welcome to glance through it if you wish.

I have the good fortune that a cousin of mine owns an import/export company and a small shipping line which gives me the means to travel almost anywhere in the world on a pittance albeit as a passenger on a merchant vessel, usually a tramp steamer which means that the voyages are sometimes long and slow.

This has been to my advantage because it gives me the time to organize my findings, collate my notes and think about the state of progress and consider what to do next.

Of course this happy state of affairs was enjoyed whilst I was still a much younger man, I was particularly fortunate to have avoided the recent conflict having left England before it started and upon my return from South America I relocated to Scotland for a pastoral setting far from the hurly burly of war. As Rene had predicted Bruce my dog was to prove very helpful indeed.

Good Heavens Tolbert, I have been expounding for a couple of hours already! Would you prefer me to stop for now and continue the story tomorrow?"

"Damned be he who first cries 'Hold! Enough!'" I slyly remarked

"Oh, the Scottish play, how appropriate. Well fair enough, old boy, on your own head be it. Let me at least summarize the story so far..."

    • PROFESSOR part 4 - mike, Fri Oct 6 17:39
      PROFESSOR Chapter 4 "Before I continue to explain the circumstances that led to my lifelong investigation of what might be termed Paranormal Communications, allow me to present you with an unusual... more
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      ...with you! So are the cats!
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