Brad Cure was tending a vegetable patch 20 years ago when he had a spiritual revelation he began seeing auras around the plants and feeling their vibrations.
Already practiced in meditation, the Juneau carpenter said he began "communicating with nature and the plants" after he took a gardening job at a rural California ranch in the late 1970s. The job required him to spend many hours alone outside he said that's when the auras appeared.
"The plants would actually be glowing. I would see their auras, I would get this feeling from the plants of a certain vibration level," said Cure, whose name is pronounced Cure-ay. "It was a loving vibration level the plants were giving, and because I was quiet and perceptive, I was able to communicate back on the same level to the plants. It was beyond words."
Cure said he doesn't see the auras anymore because he is more focused on family and his career. He owns a carpentry business, The Perfect Fit, and is raising three children with wife Pam, whom he married after he moved to Juneau in 1980 to find a "more wild, pristine nature." Even though the perceptions have gone, he said the experience profoundly changed him.
"In nature I have discovered the essence of life, and it has opened my eyes to some beautiful, wonderful experiences that have helped me to maintain focus and sanity in a crazy world."
Cure describes the auras as a white-and-green energy field visible to people who are "sensitive," a state he said he achieved after years of meditation and a couple of months alone in nature tending the vegetables and hiking the Sierra Nevadas. He said the ability to see auras is a "byproduct" of being quiet and in touch with yourself.
"For me, it was a very deep spiritual experience that sometimes brings tears to my eyes of real joy," Cure said. "It allowed me to live on a higher level of existence and to be able to see these auras and communicate with people on a much deeper level."
He said the experience continued for six months, culminating in a "deeper level of awareness" that is more accessible to people who are not distracted by work, family and other diversions.
"It was like being in an IMAX 3-D theater and life just opened up doors and worlds that are right here, right in front of us that you don't see when you're busy," said Cure, adding he was not on drugs, which he calls "a forced door, not the same as when you open doors naturally."
It seems doors in the earthly realm have opened naturally for Cure, too. He has owned his own companies most of his career, and money has come "easily" to him "probably because I really don't give it that important of a status in my life." He made his first venture into business as a child when he sold walnuts door-to-door in Walnut Creek, Calif.
"Because I was this little, blond towhead who would charm the housewives, I was able to sell walnuts, even though they had them in their front yards," said Cure, laughing. "People want to do business with people who they enjoy being around, that's what I learned then."
Cure first learned carpentry as a teen-ager and opened The Perfect Fit shortly after moving here. He said he likes to work for himself because it allows him the chance to do only his best quality work, and "that's not always the business philosophy of other people."
His work as a carpenter means he relies on loggers to cut down trees the very thing he holds dear. But he said people need timber, and it can be used with respect in a way that honors the trees. Cure said he also tries to use recycled wood; a building on Willoughby Avenue he constructed is faced with old-growth redwood, which he salvaged from a defunct city water tank.
What does the future hold? Hopefully a photography business and a gallery, he said. But ultimately the future will test his spiritual conviction that death is a passage into "another world, just on the other side."
"My soul will continue, I know that. When I die, it's not just going to be the end. There is continuance."
Kathy Dye can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org