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Excerpted from The Secret of Shambhala by James Redfield. Copyright 1999 by James Redfield. Excerpted by permission of Time Warner Books and Time Warner Bookmark.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.
 


"From what I could tell, most were characters of a sort, refugees from careers in various professions, who had carved out unique vocational niches."

James Redfield, 
The Secret of Shambhala
, Part 1

The phone rang and I just stared at it. The last thing I needed now was another distraction. I tried to push it from my mind, gazing out the window at the trees and wildflowers, hoping to lose myself in the array of fall colors in the woods around my house. It rang again, and I got a vague but stirring image in my mind's eye of a person needing to talk with me. Quickly I reached over and answered it.

"Hello."

"It's Bill," a familiar voice said. Bill was an agronomy expert who had been helping me with my garden. He lived down the ridge only a few hundred yards.

"Listen, Bill, can I call you back later?" I said. "I've got this deadline."

"You haven't met my daughter, Natalie, yet, have you?"

"Excuse me?"

No reply.

"Bill?"

"Listen," he finally answered, "my daughter wants to talk with you. I think it might be important. I'm not quite sure how she knows, but she seems to be familiar with your work. She says she has some information about a place you'd be interested in. Some location in the north of Tibet? She says the people there have some important information."

"How old is she?" I asked.

Bill chuckled on the other end of the line. "She's only fourteen, but she's been saying some really interesting things lately. She was hoping she could talk with you this afternoon, before her soccer game. Any chance?"

I started to put him off, but the earlier image expanded and started to become clear in my mind. It seemed to be of the young girl and me talking somewhere near the big spring just up from her house.

"Yeah, okay," I said. "How about two p.m.?"

"That's perfect," Bill said.

On the walk over I caught sight of a new house across the valley on the north ridge. That makes almost forty, I thought. All in the last two years. I knew the word was out about the beauty of this bowl-shaped valley, but I really wasn't worried that the place would become overcrowded or that the amazing natural vistas would be destroyed. Nestled right up next to a national forest, we were ten miles from the closest town--too far away for most people. And the family who owned this land and was now selling selected house sites on the outer ridges seemed determined to keep the serenity of the place unspoiled. Each house had to be low-slung and hidden amid the pines and sweet gums that defined the skyline.

What bothered me more was the preference for isolation exhibited by my neighbors. From what I could tell, most were characters of a sort, refugees from careers in various professions, who had carved out unique vocational niches that allowed them to now operate on flextime or travel on their own schedules as consultants--a freedom that was necessary if one was to live this far out in the wilderness.

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