(This piece was written months ago but never posted. I guess I shared something else that week that seemed more relevant at the time. Friday night, however, this called to me to be offered forward. So be it.)
Like the windy night outside, my dreams have been turbulent and unsettling, a murky river swirling as it tumbles down the mountain. Nightly I am the recipient of messages I don’t fully comprehend. Several times I wake in the dark hours, turning a dream over as I bathe in its images and lingering affect, unable to return to sleep. I hear the rats outside the bedroom window, crossing back and forth with scaly feet and tails along the wide, low sill, and then surrender back to the gravity of the Dreamtime.
Waking again, though it is still dark, I know that morning draws near, its approach accompanied by the soft cadence of raindrops on the bathroom skylight. The night’s dreaming adventures have left me tired rather than rested, but it is somehow imperative to rise and greet the dawn, barefoot, even in the rain. And as so often happens, I hear a line from a Rumi poem admonishing me, Don’t go back to sleep.
Pushing back the warm duvet, I rise and pull on hemp yoga pants and a t-shirt in the darkness. In the living room, I make my way past the two sleeping English Whippets on the couch who follow my movements with a cocked ear but don’t open their dark eyes. They know the morning routine of mine, and that they’re not invited. In their mind, it’s not worth getting up for anyway, because their bed is more comfortable than being outside in the chilled air, especially in the rain before sunrise.
A pale ribbon of luminous grey drapes across the eastern sky. I switch off the porch light, plunging the front garden into welcome shadows, then step out and cross the glistening deck, feeling the wet cool of it under bare soles. Descending the steps and crossing the even cooler bricks, I lay hands upon the furrowed bark of the Grandmother Monterey cypress, sheltered from the rain by her broad arms that span the width of the small cottage.
Quietly I offer thanks to the morning sky, moving through my ritual of gratitude and acknowledgment. The air is heavy and damp, a faint taste of the sea, almost like a lover’s salty kiss. Nostrils catch a lingering note of woodsmoke from someone’s chimney, ears welcome the low chant of the ocean in the near distance. All of it familiar and good, the ordinary sacred.
Holy, holy, a thousand blessings…
Back inside the darkened house, drying my wet feet and slipping them into the comforting warmth of wool socks, in the kitchen I place the cobalt blue teakettle on a hissing flame just as the old furnace rumbles noisily to life, crushing the stillness. I’m well accustomed to its mechanical, forced air voice but it still causes me to grumble each time it coughs to life and breaks the blissful silence.
I light a tall pillar candle on the hearth, and then place a tea light candle in a purple glass holder on the table by the front windows, saving the last two inches of the beeswax tapers to illuminate our dinner this evening, as I’ve no plans to leave the house today other than to walk the dogs. It is a “no-drive day”; good for the earth, good for the soul. I will remain quietly at home, working. That it is a rainy morning seems a perfect invitation to settle deeply into the editing work I have been chipping away at these past weeks.
Beyond the windows, the sky lightens and I observe the tops of the dark cypresses to the west sway in the coastal wind and rain. Dancing. A cup of tea beside me, my fountain pen scratches softly with a familiar voice as it trails across the pages of a notebook in a circle of light cast by candle glow. When the heater stops rumbling and vibrating the cottage, as my body breathes a sigh of relief in the quietude, I once again hear only the elemental voices of wind and rain, staccato notes on the skylight in the kitchen, punctuated with falling drops from the weathered eaves outside.
Who was I before I awoke to this blustery morning? Who was I in that other realm we inhabit for nearly a third of our lives…? Even now I am reaching back to it, curious images and tangled emotions draped in mist but already disappearing. Here at the threshold between worlds, at the edge of a continent where earth meets sea and sky, at dawn when night and day briefly touch, I still have one foot in the dream world.
In the night’s final dream just before I woke, I am telling a woman in Hawaii, where I am buying a casual pullover, that I reside here just part of the year, that I live in two places. She asks if I am unwell, to which I reply that I am fine, but that it is difficult to travel back and forth, and to be fully at home in neither place. Then I turn to see that there are literally hundreds of seals, all male, passing through the transparent green waves just a few feet away…
Such is the feeling/affect still wrapped around me this morning as I ease into the day world and the light returns: that it is challenging to live in two different realms. Outside, things are returning to their familiar shapes and colors once more, resuming their day world guises. Textures are different now, so too the sense of depth, and in each moment the sense of solidity becomes more entrenched and defined, even the grey watercolor of a rainy dawn.
What is the world we live in? To which realm do we truly belong?
Moving through my waking hours, I often feel that I inhabit two worlds: a modern, technological one of emails and computers that feels strangely artificial, surface and hollow; and an older, slower life that is a sensual connection with earth, body, natural elements, food, and place — a quietly old fashioned, embodied existence that still exists and nourishes, mostly because I choose to make it so. Turn off the computer and phone, step outside barefoot, senses cast wide. Go for a wander in a semi-wild place and putter in the garden, pulling weeds. Take time to create something fresh, nourishing and beautiful in the kitchen. Dance. Read an inspiring book.
Yet there is even another world beyond those differing spheres of the day realm, one that glimmers at the edges of our peripheral vision. It slides in sideways into our consciousness when the door is left ajar, as with walking in nature, working in the garden, or deep in a creative project. A realm of invisibles, archetypes, spirits and elementals — a reality that has not entirely disappeared. That world, elusive and ephemeral as it is, I belong to also, one that is no less real simply because others do not fully sense it.
As a threshold dweller and ‘edgewalker’, most of the time it seems I have a foot in two realms; one in the logos, one in the mythos, so to speak. How long it has taken me to become welcoming of that split, to understand fully that it forms the essential nature of who I am — and that it is one of the hallmarks of a wild soul and Soul Artist, the ones who are dreaming the Larger Story awake.
The rain, I hope it continues all day, serenading my soul and inviting quiet introspection.
Musing on where the worlds touch and to which realms we belong, it seems to me that the place where they overlap is always in the heart.
Do you really belong to and believe the stories that society tells us? Or might there be a new, more joyful and meaningful story emerging somewhere within you to share with the future? I wonder, gentle reader, who were you this morning before you awoke to the dayworld? And might that ‘you’ be equally or even more real than the one reading this now? What is your soul telling you through dreams?
The Larger Story is calling. Are you listening?