Keeping the Peace (17)

Sunday, December 14th
When I wonder what to write for my Christmas letter, nothing comes but a vague sense of knowing, like a remembered dream, or as if viewed from underwater, blurred and indistinct. What was my year? How might I lay it down on the page? What will I choose, pluck whole from the blurred images, the trout tickled from the icy stream? It was a second hard year for me, but I turned a corner with Indian summer. Do I try to explain? Or do I try to capture the odd ethereal quality of the light on my arm as I sit in our courtyard garden on this winter afternoon, the cats both napping beside me on their pillows? I savor this ease, this togetherness. Sundays have always been sacred to me, a holdover, I think, from my childhood when the world would stop for the day. I wrap the lazy quiet around me like a cloak. I feel the sun on my throat, my collarbone, speaking to my thyroid. I am inclined to be tender with myself today, a warm regard that is new to me. For the moment things fall away, the hectic work week behind me, all the preparations that lie now between me and Christmas. I want to keep this with me, so I make a vow. I will remember to relish the cold air on my nose in the early mornings between now and then and to listen for the new songbird in our Palo Verde. I will remember to revel in the glistening magic of the colored lights on the fig tree outside the window when I turn over in the middle of the night. I will stop in the late afternoon to feel the sudden coolness on my skin the second the sun sinks behind the mountains like it’s doing right now. I’ll touch this peace again. I’ll look for the white-crowned sparrows visiting for the winter, so small but somehow sturdy. I’ll watch them flit about on the ground beneath the feeders, like I am watching them now, with a glad and grateful heart. And I’ll wish you your own delicious moments now and always.

Myself Again (16)

Saturday morning I dream three dreams. I had read we might expect vivid dreams. The moon was moving into Pisces, and there was something about Saturn, too. So I don’t know if my dreaming was due to the power of suggestion or the influence of the cosmos. But I dream deep and true–swing wide the Gates of Horn, indeed. I fall asleep early the night before over my book and sleep later than I can’t remember when, twelve hours all told, unheard of in years. It is day three of my four-day holiday, so I know something is at work here. I dream of hiking in the hills beside an aqueduct, sunlight bright on the water. I see the head of a mountain lion, but it becomes a deer. There are three of them in the tall grass. There is a big blonde boy-dog swimming. I dream of flying over a city that climbs a hill and edges water, the reflections in the water dazzling and dizzying in my flight. I am in a foreign country and fly above a market street that climbs the hillside. It is filled with people walking, but there are no cars. I think later it may be in Africa. I dream of a new home in another town by other water, a harbor or a bay. There is a huge rooftop patio. I decide I will sleep there. I wake up and write down my dreams for the first time since April. I am happy and relaxed and excited, too. I apologize to my cats who are patient this morning. They watch me and wonder, I think, what has gotten into me. “I feel like myself again,” I tell them. And I do, for the first time in ages.