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Splat! Splat! Splint! Outside my window, water droplets animate lilac leaves lifted in supplication like raised palms before their god. Too early have scorching suns aged the longed-for-greening of shrubs and trees in our neighborhood. Jets of sprinklers spew water over distressed lawns, and flowerbeds peak with riotous colors.

Splat! Splat! The moistening continues, albeit more slowly. Hesitant breezes spoof droplets, careening into larger ones emptying into gutters like bobsleds on iced tracks. A juvenile squirrel skitters up the stippled trunk of the sweet gum and disappears in thick foliage.

Then, the watering stops, the oatmeal sky brightens, and breezes muffle their meanderings. Only solitary droplets remain upon the leaves. Sidewalks dry.

No drencher this morning, no spring-step mists, no soaker-hose-rain to massage clods of dirt—just Splat! Splat!—the ground only tattooed with dark swirls.

Such dryness nudges my psyche, bereft of dreams for several days. Deprived of my compass, I list about seeking this or that, in hopes one will reveal its élan and reconnect me with significant moorings.

So my dryness continues … until the next dream.

 

 

 

Like the Genesis story of Jacob wrestling with God/Angel, last night passed in a similar manner, only I was left with terminal illness, not with a sore hip, as was Jacob’s lot.

Stunned, I made it to my wing-back chair, my legs propped upon a hassock, and took stock: It felt like I was trapped in a monstrous ache, barred from all exits. My eyes burned. I rubbed them. I blew my nose, coughed. I began breathing, slowly, until enveloped in deep stillness. Outside my study window dawn softened the leafing lilac bush and patches of fescue grass in the backyard.

 

 

Other tumultuous images from the night flooded me: Joan of Arc’s visions, her suit of armor and white stallion, her slaughtering enemies, her restoration of the Dauphin upon the French throne, her arrest for heresy and imprisonment, her frequent interrogations, her death by burning in Rouen’s marketplace. I cringed, owning similar attitudes ill-suited to accepting the unacceptable, glaringly evident in my present circumstances.

Night work with another writer also assumed enormous importance. He depended upon my counsel and often sought my approval whether I was available or not.

Such disjointedness evidences yesterday’s curiosity about the global pandemic’s infection and death rates, stay-at-home-orders for the next month, governments’ measures to protect their people, on-line meditations/exercises to counter negative fallout from such untoward changes. Rather than keep up with developments I have no control over, better to maintain my usual self-care routines, pray, and move through each twenty-four hours allotted me.

My terminal illness remains…

It’s time to stop wrestling.

 

Fascination with dreams has engaged the spiritually astute from the beginnings of recorded history.

In the early fourth century BCE, the ailing flocked to the shrine of the god Asclepius in Epidaurus Greece, in hopes their dreams would reveal strategies for treatment. The Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, 2100 BCE, depicted the hero’s reliance upon dreams before making decisions. Agamemnon’s dream to attack Troy opened Homer’s Iliad, 1194 BCE. Both the Old and New Testaments abound in dreams of guidance and affirmation. Plots construed by Shakespeare, Paul Bunyan, Dickens, James Joyce, even Stephen King often turn on dreams. Closer to our time, psychiatrists Sigmund Freud and C. G. Jung mapped the dream landscape for the resolute to follow.

Why this captivation with dreams that draw some toward actualizing their authentic selves? Once engaged by the unconscious, however there is no turning back. This is soul-work like none other: interfacing with the bedrock of Being.

But it’s really not that difficult. Once within REM asleep, our Night-Teacher weaves snapshots of our lives and others into symbolic stories that reveal warring powers within our psyche, that exorcise madness, that jolt awareness, that soothe quaking limbs, and that prod us toward still further healing.

Simply record these stories in a notebook. Mull over them like the ancients did until they reveal their secrets. In such company, we can’t help but be restored to the original design of our birthright.

 

 

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