On Waking…

A cornucopia of insects is thrumming outside my window right now. It is 5 am, and I am (again) awake (earlier than I expected). Sleep has been…elusive lately…. or rather, the ability to sleep beyond 6 hours or so. I cannot control this impulse to wake in the wee hours, only ride the wave (and trust me when I tell you, I would control it if that were possible). So I linger, on the edge of sleep, letting the songs of the crickets and the katydids wash over me.

I have a certain reverence for these early hours, before the world begins to wake itself and shake the dust from its eyes. In this liminal space, the earth feels full enough–certainly not empty, but not overwhelming, either. I find that I can sit and listen without restlessness, wrapped in the soundscape of creation. Human sounds–the roar of an engine, say–become unwelcome interruptions. Our scurrying here and there doesn’t belong.

When I started to wake in the night, my first thought was that something was wrong with me. My mind was running frantically, and thoughts were spilling out of me faster than I could set them down. I felt like a broken water main, emptying itself on the lovely garden of rest that I have tended so carefully over the years. I worried about the long-term implications, wrestled with my thoughts and tried to make them hold still. I told myself, perhaps if I could understand this, it will go away, and leave me be. I thought of Jacob, wrestling the angel on the banks of the river Jabbock, crying out, I will not let you go until you bless me.

But bodies have a way of telling us what we need. And mine? It seems that my body needs me to pay attention. She needs the soft quiet before daybreak. She craves space that belongs to nobody but her. She needs this sacred dark, this palpable quiet. I am doing my best to listen to her. To let her lead me to the place that I need to go. I will know it when I see it.

The birds and the squirrels are beginning to rustle in the bushes. They are early risers, too, their gentle morning grumbling a natural alarm clock for the rest of creation. Not long from now, the earth will be filled with the soundtrack of the living once more, and I will no longer be alone with my thoughts. I cannot stay here. So I breathe deeply. I let the gift of this quiet permeate throughout my body, and hope that I will be able to carry its memory with me, whatever this day brings.

shout out to the dream people.

Every once in a while, I find myself on a dream streak.  Usually, I will dream pretty mundane, average things (at least average in my world)… but on these dream streaks, nothing is average.  For example, when I was a kid I had this intensely amazing dream that I was a biplane pilot (in a plane that looked a whole lot like snoopy’s) and that I was trying to avoid getting shot down by Hitler, who was shooting at me with a machine gun that was mounted in the tree house in my backyard growing up.  As a kid, I thought these dreams were pretty awesome…. still do, in fact.

So to this week.  I have been having a rash of dreams, some of them quite fantastical.  Take, for instance, the other night.  I had a dream that I was at my parent’s home in California with Alex, and the sky began to break open, much like Lava, where you can see brightness under the crusted surface.  Soon an opening became visible, and an angel descended out of the center of the sky as it cracked open around it.  I watched in amazement as the angel swirled in the sky, for it was enormous, and its size up above me seemed almost as big as myself even with that distance.  The angel reached its hand out and I noticed that it was holding a lightening bolt. (Thor the angel!)… Looking about itself, the angel thrust the lightening bolt from its hands and it plummeted to earth, crashing to the center of downtown San Jose (which you can see from the hill we live on) and creating a nuclear blast.  I was scared to death and thought I might die, so I grabbed Alex and kissed him (gawd I am hopeless even in my dreams).  Surprisingly, the fall out didn’t kill us.  But the angel kept throwing bolt after bolt, laying waste to my hometown and everything around me.  I watched in horror as a dark, black sludge began to creep over the hills beyond our home, towards us, and realized that it might be the end of us if we didn’t act fast.  But there was no where to go.  Below us, the town was wasted, and above and all around, this black sludge creeped ever forward.  I remember thinking to myself that even if we got in the car to drive away, there was no where we could escape to, for the roads were destroyed and the sludge might stick our tires.  I found myself worrying about the dangers of surviving the atrocity at all, for in the process we might find ourselves starving or sickened by the fallout.  And the sludge creeped closer and closer.  I heard a knock on the door and my friend Jels from high school was outside, holding my cat, Isabella, shouting at us to let them in.  Together we crowded into the second floor of the house, waiting out what might come next.

What was weird to me was the questions that I found myself thinking through about practical issues of where we might get food, whether there might be other survivors.  At one point I worried that the few of us left might be the only humans, and even if we did repopulate some of the world that our offspring would be worse off from the nuclear waste.

……. so yea.  This is what my mind is up to lately, instead of writing finals of course.  It’s funky and a bit freaky, but it’s also sort of cool.  My friend Gusti commented when she heard this that something big must be going down in my life.  Makes me wonder what it might be.