It's 20.48 on the Thursday night before the final class of my first year. I should be home, but when Rob texted me earlier this week and asked me to babysit, how could I say no? One needs one's baby fix, after all.
Well, I've had some of Rob's amazing vegetarian Moroccan stew with couscous, Ell and Rob have left for Brown's, and Master Golden Curls is fast asleep in his cot.
The only thing missing is Bentley the Cat standing on the chair behind me, rubbing his face against mine and purring. However, after far too many times waking Master Golden Curls up, he has been locked downstairs. *Sigh* Well, one can't have it all.
Having brought the baby monitor upstairs, I am in Rob's office using his Mac (you're forgiven, chuck - I'm finding switching from app to app and working within apps far more cumbersome than on an IBM), having told him I needed to work tonight, which is true. My case studies are all written, they just need tweaking; I need to look up references for some of my assertions (no internal referencing apparently, go figure); I need to type out my hypnosis screeds; I need to sort out my practice log.
But an autumn night has fallen, every morning the leaves get more beautiful and the light more ethereal, and I haven't written for fun in sooooooo long...
The moon is about a third full, waxing. The stars are out. There's a nip in the air and it is truly dark. And I might get a baby cuddle out of it.
It has been quite the week for discussing night and darkness of all sorts. I've simply melted into it, revelled in it, loving the season in which - as the pagan prayer goes - the Dark Mother teaches us to dance.
Even the snake dream in my morning status could have a meaning relating to death - it is said that those dying often dream of snakes, since they are a symbol of healing and transition. And to be honest, there is a part of me that believes the Buddhist axiom "We die not because we are ill, but because we are whole. Illness may be the method of our dying, but it is not the cause." I know that may generate a lot of anger, and I'm sorry. But it did make me think when I heard it, and it resonated with something deep inside.
When I looked up 'snake symbolism dreams' and saw that possibility, I simply nodded thoughtfully and wondered 'What if? What if that's what it means? How do I feel about that?'
And the answer is "Absolutely at peace with that - though hopefully with time to say goodbye and remind those I love just how much and how fiercely they ARE loved."
How else do I feel? Curious. Eager to see those taken too early and too long gone. And perhaps the sense of a burden falling from one's shoulders.
Rachel Remen, in her wonderful book, "My Grandfather's Blessings", tells the story of a woman at a retreat who said that she never, even when she was young, understood why people fought so hard to live, why they wanted to prolong life. It may sound like she was suicidal, but she wasn't. She felt the suffering of the world so keenly, she felt like her heart was always broken, and she couldn't understand why someone would stay when they didn't have to.
I get that. Totally, totally get that.
It doesn't make me suicidal, and it doesn't make me less aware of just how amazing and wonderful it is to be in a body - the pleasure of silk against skin; of nuzzling a baby's newborn head; of being naked with your beloved; of the autumn smell of woodsmoke and the summer smell of roses; of endless dinners and laughter with friends; of the starry sky; of being snuggled up under a duvet watching snow fall to the ground; of the sharp taste of a just green enough mango; of so much more. Life is wonderful.
But I completely understand her bewilderment. And blessed Lady, I totally understand and share her weariness. There are times when I don't want to carry this anymore.
But paradoxically, that feeling is what gives me the awareness of just how precious life is and the infinite value given it by its finite nature. Though I wouldn't necessarily prolong mine, except for those I loved, such as a husband and children, I do understand why so many fight so hard to hold on to it.
On a lighter note, I also want to check out if Anni and I got it right on the afterlife - a series of rooms with pool tables, where you gather with your group to chat about your last life and plan your next one. As people pass, you'll hear a cheery, 'Come on down, mate, you joining us this time?' or 'No, no, no, I dated him THREE times, I am SO done, keep walking, keep walking...'
As I was walking to catch the bus home after dinner with a friend a few weeks ago, beneath a gorgeous, starry, autumn night, I presented him with the afterlife pool hall scenario, and said that I really wanted to know what we had said over our last game of pool just before this life began. I magnanimously allowed that he had probably kicked my ass, at which point he magnanimously replied that he was crap at pool.
Hmmm. I want to know those conversations, have them. Know and see so much more than I do now, instead of catching just a hint at the edge of my line of vision. To borrow a beautiful metaphor, I'm tired of standing on the wrong side of the tapestry, looking at the loose threads. I want to walk around and see the pattern.
Ag, Master Golden Curls is grizzling and I do believe that I must away - and I need a kitty cuddle, so I think I'll go nuzzle Bentley.
Yeah, thinking of those little joys - a baby cuddle and a kitty cuddle - I expect I'll be holding on to this life for dear life. My pool table friends already playing will just have to wait.
Oh and as for you, Mr Crap-at-pool, true or not, that next game's mine.
But I wouldn't worry about it *just* yet.