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  • Mj Pettengill

A Magical Boy


Magic Sky, Nebula, Moon

My pole—somewhat fancy— was a smooth oak branch with a long string tied on one end, and the hook was a perfectly bent nail that I found in the barn. In fact, Silas said that it was one of the best poles he’d seen in a long time.


It didn’t matter that I never caught anything. I didn’t give up hope entirely. Dolly May McGinnis showed me how to fish for clouds. She said that when I got older, she would teach me how to fish for stars or even the moon, but I was too young to be at the pond at night.

Samuel J. Hodgdon II - June 1878

Down from the Tree

Book Three, Etched in Granite Series

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Samuel's magical way of thinking inspires me to carry on with the Book of Numbered Souls. Don't get me wrong, I have made a promise to them and myself that I will continue sharing stories as long as they continue to emerge. Realistically, that means I will be writing for all of eternity.


I will know when it is time to bring this series to a close. The time has not yet arrived. I will never forget the spirit of Samuel. His creative energy led the way throughout the crafting of his narrative, and the process of ungrieving and grieving the death of our mothers.


I am reminded that nothing happens by accident. As I sit with Samuel, Sarah, Bess, Caesar, Tempy, Silas, and countless others at the Poor Farm, I am reminded of the possibilities. Only when I allow myself to be in the void is that the power of their stories emerges.


I have been visiting actual places where they would have walked, lived, and died. They have been inhabiting my dreams. Just yesterday, while picking berries, I was visited by my friend, the crow. It was a lengthy visit, and he had much to say. I was reminded of the importance of wandering, of taking chances. This is where I have been. But now it is time to take all that I have been collecting and carrying with me and share more of their collective stories.


The magic of Samuel burns brightly. Again, he has extended his hand, and we have returned to that long, rising and falling road that takes us both beyond the fence.


Sometimes, I sense the loss of the souls who wait beneath the numbered graves. They wait to be unearthed, for their turn to be honored and re-membered.


It is the pieces of ourselves that have been buried with them that I seek, willing to retrieve, revealing lost culture and tradition. That sacred site is an archetypal and genealogical vault filled with memories intended to be forgotten, but not by those whose bones inhabit it.


They are the forgotten ones. Their secrets run deep within the veins and roots of the soil, making fertile our dreams when we dare to look into the mirror of humanity, who we once were, not so long ago.


When we choose to look away, we are in danger of tumbling into an abyss of shame, fear, and regret. The mystery becomes a vexation to our souls.


Willingly, I go there. I will find the truth waiting to be uncovered. We will come out from the dark corners and into the light of day.


Mj Pettengill, Author

Etched in Granite Historical Fiction Series


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