Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dancing with the Stars

No, not the TV show.

Different kind of dancing. Different kind of stars.

Late at night, when the world is silent and I’m alone with my thoughts, I find my mind drifting…

Insomnia has been an unwelcome visitor this summer. There was a time when the summer storms were rolling through the Midwest, I sat on my bedroom floor, gazing out the window at the velvety black sky. Nighttime was made even darker by the ominous clouds. There was something achingly familiar about that darkness. No moon. No stars. Just an occasional flash of lightning, blazing across the sky, like the mighty sword of some demigod, slicing the heavens and earth open and momentarily transforming the raindrops into diamonds. The thunder would rumble, waves of sound shaking the earth, vibrating the floor where I sat.

In those hours, I would linger a while longer, a lone silhouette, watching the sky open and Mother Nature unleash her fury. I never grew tired of the fascinating display. I remember one night, over the steady sound of rainfall, I heard a clock ticking. Three thirty-four in the morning. My husband was sprawled across the bed, lost in slumber. A quick check on my daughter revealed that she was peacefully asleep, clutching her favorite pink bear. Her small round face reflected an innocence that was not of this world, a smile playing on the corners of her mouth, her hair slightly damp and curling in the humid night air.

I went back to my post at the window, watching the storms. I wondered what it would be like to ride on the rainclouds, to dance among the stars that I couldn't see, but I knew were hiding behind the clouds. Would it be like riding on the wispy, curled tails of dreams…dreams that have an odd, almost lifelike quality to them? Would I tumble into a deep abyss, a warm oblivion, through a misty fog, before lightly floating down and softly landing in an un-world?

In the distance, I hear another sound. Not thunder this time. Drums. A solid, steady rhythm. A heartbeat. A pulse. The pulse of the un-world that I landed in, pumping lifeblood into my dreams.

I had one of those moments where I realized I was asleep and dreaming, yet feeling completely awake and aware.

There were woodland fairies, flitting between flowers, tiny beams of ethereal light hovering and darting…the soft whinny of a horse, tethered somewhere nearby…a baby cooing in the still night air…and a man…a much older man with a benign smile on his face, wisdom in his deep-set eyes…a large pool of water that was so still, it reflected everything around and above it…and the drumbeat.

In that hazy place between being asleep and awake, I realized the drumbeat was, in fact, a heartbeat. My own heartbeat. In that moment of realization, there was a sense of falling, then silence.

I was still sitting in front of the window, my forehead pressed against the glass. The first beams of pale sunshine were beginning to break through the rainclouds, the last of the stars fading into the morning sky. The same rainclouds I had just been riding, the same stars that had just been hiding.


Cheryl said...

Wow! You're quite a writer, Martha. My nights of insomnia were never like that. They were sad and so lonely. Your story was magical.

Margaret said...

Oh, the crushing disappointment of realizing the real things you are seeing and feeling are just a dream even while you are still dreaming...

Catherine said...

Beautiful, darling Sister.