As I mentioned in my last post, chapters 20-22 of Dagger’s Sleep are my favorites (though, I probably should include chapter 19 in that as well). There’s just so much here, so I’m going to do a whole post for chapters 19 and 21, then a post for chapters 20 and 22.
In Chapter 19, Alex and Jadon are led by the breeze along a turquoise stream to a waterfall unlike anything they have ever seen with turquoise water, orange rocks, and green foliage.
This is actually based on a real stream and waterfall in West Virginia. Douglas Falls is off an old railroad easement near Thomas, WV not that far from Blackwater Falls State Park. Blackwater Falls is far more well known Blackwater Falls is a very majestic waterfall in its own right and well worth the trip.
In asking around, I heard about Douglas Falls. It is down a two-track that seems to lead to the middle of nowhere. The track follows the stream, which is a bright turquoise color due to coke smelting that even years later discolors the water and rocks. Whatever the cause, the colors are straight out of a fairy tale. I knew the moment I saw them I’d use them in a story someday, even if it took a few years.
Douglas Falls isn’t immediately visible from the trail. We had to work our way down a steep trail down the canyon. When we came around some boulders, there it was.
This picture doesn’t do it justice. The water was such a contrast against the bright orange rocks. Just the sort of place you’d imagine a gateway into another realm.
You can swim in the pool below the waterfall. There is no lifeguard on duty, so it is swim at your own risk.
Here are a few websites that talk more about Douglas Falls and how to get to it.
In Dagger’s Sleep, chapter 19 is where the book starts to become very allegorical. Alex and Jadon meet the Highest Prince for the first time here.
In my church circles, we often talk about how when we pray, we are spiritually coming before the throne of God. This comes from passages like Ephesians 2:18 – “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”
It’s an image that stuck with me and, being a writer, it made me wonder what if someone actually came to the throne to present a petition. Would it make that person more reverent? Or, being human, would he still remain arrogant even there?
That’s the question I was working with in this chapter. Of course, that meant allegorically writing about coming before the allegorical God-figure in the book. Not an easy scene to go about writing.
I spent a lot of time reading and re-reading Revelation 1 (where a vision of Jesus is described), Revelation 4 (vision of God’s throne), and especially Ezekiel 1 (where a vision of angels and God on His throne is described). You’ll probably recognize a lot of the pictures and descriptions I used since they mirrored the descriptions of those Bible passages.
But what about the WaterVeil? And the Threshold? How do they fit?
This is where things get a little trickier. The WaterVeil in the book is the separation between Heaven and Earth that we can only cross through death. We use the expression “crossing the Jordan” to talk about death and entering Heaven. The WaterVeil is similar.
But then what is the Threshold? A piece of Heaven on this side of death?
As Christians, we do have a bit of Heaven already. We are a part of the spiritual, heavenly kingdom of Christ since we are His. This is the reason we can pray (have access to the Father, as Ephesians calls it). We are citizens of the kingdom of Heaven even now while we are on earth.
Ephesians 2:6-7 states, “And [God] hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
That passage uses the present tense. We are raised to heavenly places even now. I decided to use the word “threshold” to describe this.
I later learned that apparently using the word threshold in connection to the spiritual kingdom of heaven the church has even now on earth is something used before! In his commentary on Ephesians 2:6, R.C.H. Lenski writes (italics mine for emphasis):
In 1:3, 20 the context indicates that the heaven of glory is referred to; here the kingdom of God on earth is evidently the meaning; in 6:12 only the supermundane regions are referred to. The kingdom of the heavens (Matthew’s expression), established here on earth, is heavenly throughout and not of this world (John 18:36). It is the threshold of the kingdom of glory and is located wherever God’s grace has sway.
Citation: Lenski, R. C. H. (1937). The interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Galatians, to the Ephesians and to the Philippians (p. 419). Columbus, O.: Lutheran Book Concern.
As I wrote about in my first post for this read-along, writing allegorically is tricky. There are details in these chapters that are there just for the story or just because they fit with the picture I was crafting with the words.
Are there any other sections of these chapters that you were puzzled about? What did you think of them?