Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I woke up slowly this morning, and I woke up early. Sometimes it seems I sleep less soundly in my own bed at home than on the narrow, thin mattress at school, or on the unfamiliar and lush beds in hotels. Which bed is most "mine", though? At school, the room is lent to me, but while I have it, it is mine alone, with conflicting allegiances. At home, the bed is covered with complications like layered quilts. Memories and obligations are the walls and floor of this room. It's "my" room, but not all the memories send their roots into my past; they are "my" obligations, but all of them bind me to other people's ideas.

I woke up bound to someone else's ideas. I woke with someone else's worry tightening my shoulders. The shoulder blades lie uneasily under my skin: ready to explode into wings and feathers, ready to shift like tectonic plates, like Africa and South America in their continental dance.

I woke in the blue light, in the cloud hour. Green leaves hang from the trees outside my window, but at dawn, all the leaves were silver and blue. The little dog's barking had broken the calm of my sleep, but when I drifted to the surface, all the sharp sounds had ceased. I woke to stillness, I woke to the silver noise of the cars floating by.

I woke, and I bobbed up and down through sleepiness, till I settled at the surface, floating on the silence. Through the dark hallway, into the empty kitchen, into the cool dawn that poured through the windows: the house was asleep, and I was barely across the border into waking.

I stared down into my mug at the minute bubbles sizzling up through the tea, but the hot liquid couldn't soothe me. I stared up with inner eyes, but morning imagination failed. I saw only the ceiling.

Meditation: what am I thankful for? what do I want? So crude, to want, but in the end, I am not a creature of the dawn, with mere blue wishes and dreams: I clutch my desires with curled fingers. Where did I experience God's love? where did I ignore God's love? today, how will I allow God to lead me into tomorrow? I am thinking about a day, just one day, but 24 hours is a million moments, uncountable thousands of thoughts.

Wrapped in a blanket, I fell asleep on the couch. Later, the poodle's nose prodded me awake, and she leaned up against me. We slid into sleep, in concentric curls.

I woke again, slept again, woke, slept, bobbed in and out, till finally I washed up on the shore in the full light of day. The moon was gone, the dawn had drained away. In the kitchen, my mother and I ate marionberry pie. I opened my battered Bible and read Psalm 44 (For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A maskil.): We have heard with our ears, O God; our fathers have told us what you did in their days, in days long ago. With your hand you drove out the nations and planted our fathers; you crushed the peoples and made our fathers flourish. It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.

In the light of day, in the light of your face, I cast off worry. I cast my bread upon the waters. I bade my worry sink in the lake of sleep, where the dreams lie in layers on the bottom and the silt settles on them softly. Having woken a hundred times, I woke yet again, and now I can go out to live.

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