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At 1:15 A.M., I awoke with this lovely dream:

Sunshine swelled four yellow rosebuds atop a barren hill, still captive to freezing rains. Sandaled toddlers crouched around the plants, tentatively touched the petals, and giggled.

As I recorded the dream by my nightstand, deep smiles warmed my psyche—evidence, within, that all is well, despite increasing symptoms of my terminal illness, despite deepening global confusion over vaccines, masking, spread of disease.

Sunshine, always an empowerment of Truth, makes clear the imprecise, reveals hidden shit-abysses, and warms chilled fingers and toes. Under its influence, every cell flushes with total well-being; flagging energies perk up like blustery winds snapping sails of frigates.

The yellow color of the rosebuds suggests joy, illumination, dissemination, intuition, intellect, and magnanimity and further weights the image of the rosebuds with Sacred significance.

The four rosebuds also speak of quaternity or ultimate wholeness: it establishes an indelible presence to counter our politically divided world, the barren hill in the dream, tangled within social media—as does Dante’s White Rose symbolize the concentric spheres of The Paradiso (1320), among the fractious Guelph and Ghibelline parties in Italy.

And of course, toddlers, the lowly of heart of any age, are drawn to such play. They know how to pause and wonder, having found comparable images within.

Life is like a bend in the road, each turn challenging our mettle: from learning to suckle at the breast to inhaling our last breath.

It’s arduous work living within the approach of the bend, not fully knowing, but still trudging ahead. Met with welcomes and rejections, with health and sickness, with creative work and drudgery, wounds scrape encrusted barnacles from our dishonesty. We learn about humility, and serving others becomes more important than living within self-imposed limits. We learn that we are not God.

To our amazement, decades of life pass. Resilience orchestrates a lightshow upon these accomplished risk-takers who developed their full birthright. Such live within our midst and fill us with gladness, despite their slow footfalls and vintage clothing from another age.

For them, the bend in the road has become nearly full circle; their joy, deep as they make their life review, embroidered by multiple life-turns. Their transition toward the last turn follows, a cinch. 

Outside my study window, overhanging limbs of my London plane tree appear motionless; they seem to say, “Pay attention. Notice my hand-sized leaves, still green, though dried. Autumn has already begun, with no signs of change.” Something is out of kilter.

This stoppage seems to shake the foundations of any residual holdouts in the darkness of my psyche. True, eleven months of hospice care have pried open, at times painfully, such blind spots and deepened the acceptance of my mortality. Yet, denial still tricks like the black-hearted magician: his cape, snapping illusory versions of my slowly worsening symptoms to soothe my distress. It never works, for long. At least my old body is honest and for that I’m grateful.

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