Solstice

Solstice

I want to wrap my arms around you just as the night envelopes the day.

This day.

I want to become that night, (knight?) holding the promise of light.

I whisper my secret on this day.

That the light will return, little by little, bit by bit.

You need the dark in order to dream.

And in that dream, a multitude of possibilities are contained, waiting to expand.

The dark incubates and the light initiates.

Don’t forget me when the length of summer days return.

Don’t forget that I once held you precious and true.

Don’t forget me.

4 in the morning

I awake with a start and feel as though I’ve forgotten something. Not something important, but a small trifling. I immediately search for the phone thinking that perhaps the answer lies there. Nothing. But the bright screen pushes sleep further away and I toss it aside, silently cursing my technological dependency and think that, yes, the robots will one day rule us.

It’s then that I notice the rain. Not just rain, but thunder, and somehow it’s disorienting. Something primal kicks in and I go to Stella’s room. She’s sleeping soundly. I pull the covers up and close her window against the storm. I begin to make my way around the house, checking windows, and turning off lights I had left on the night before. The bathroom beckons and I oblige.

Back in bed, covers pulled up, eyes closed.

Mind begins to race. I’ve been here before and it’s at this point I try to convince myself that sleep is necessary and desired. Give yourself two more hours and you’ll be better for it.

Five minutes later I’m brewing coffee.

Cup in hand I crawl back into bed and I sit sipping in the dark. I try to recall what I may have been dreaming right before I woke. Perhaps that holds the answer as to why I’m up at this hour.

Nothing.

What about the night before? Was something troubling me? I mean, more than the usual unresolved feelings. A slight anxiety seems to be festering right below the surface so I try to take some focused breaths and come back to center. This works for a short time but my mind will have none of it. It’s off and running. It’s racing through a day that has yet to happen.

And then a thought crosses my mind.

Maybe it’s not anxiety. Or a dream. Or something negative.

It’s more like a feeling of anticipation. Excitement slowly bubbling to the surface for no other reason than feeling good. I’m not talking about feeling good because of a decision or an action. Something deeper. Something primal. Something honest. Something playful.

Then it comes to me.

Joy.

It’s been awhile but here it is. I want to reach inside and shake hands with it. I want to say “Hello old friend. How I’ve missed you.”

The rain has stopped and the first strands of sunlight are making their way into my bedroom. Stella will be up soon and the promise of a new day will shine fresh upon her face.

I’m awake now.

Awake to the possibilities and to the magic. Awake to the muse who I thought left me, but was merely waiting. Awake to my heart. A heart that was there for Stella, but locked against the storm of life.

I realize now what I had forgotten. Turns out it is no small trifling, but something important.

I’d forgotten to allow joy to happen.

Dreamer

As Stella gets older I sometimes think back to my childhood.  The very young years are often a blur.  I do remember feeling loved and safe and being filled with wonder.  My earliest memory is from about four years old, I would guess, and I am in the front room of the first house I lived in, a second floor, three bedroom apartment in Brooklyn.  There were seven of us kids along with my parents who converted what would have been the living room into their bedroom.  I had to learn to share space at a very young age and didn’t have a room of my own until I was seventeen.

We called the front room the porch, partly because it was where we played and partly because it had a bunch of windows that opened up to the street below.  It seemed airy and light to me.

The memory is of my mother and one of my brothers, Greg I think, and myself, at night.  The windows were open so it must have been summer.  Sometimes we kids would lay blankets down on the parquet floors and sleep out there because the cool night air seemed to circulate better than in the small windowed bedrooms.  My Mom was sitting in a chair and my brother and I were looking out a window at the few stars that could be seen in the nighttime sky of the city.  He was pointing out the big dipper.  The memory fills me with a feeling of contentment and a sense of wonder.

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adventures in slumberland –

 

It is nearly fifty years on and now and again I look up at the stars and think back upon that earliest memory and wonder.  How did I get from there to here?  Why so many twists and turns along the way?  Have I always been looking up, head in the clouds, unable, at times, to navigate life on solid ground?

One of my nicknames as a child was Drew, the Dreamer.  I was off in my own little world.  Not sure who pinned that on me but I’d like to think it was my mother, that she saw in me an ethereal quality that has been both a burden and a blessing.  A burden, because at times, I’m often not present, and a blessing, because at other times, I’ve felt connected to the intricate web of life.  The mystery behind the curtain.

As William Blake said, “If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite.”

I can be a pragmatist when it is warranted. Get things done. The Pragmatist can help clear a path to the doors.

But the Dreamer.

Well.

The Dreamer can wipe away the dust.

Enveloped in Peace

As I hold Stella in my arms I think about the last six months. That’s how old she’ll be in a few days.

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Every day when I wake and go to lift her out of her crib she smiles and my heart beats faster. She has become this little girl with a personality of her own. She loves cuddling in our arms, smiles a lot and the strangest things make her giggle. Usually words. She’s a little shy around others but is getting used to some people. Our cat makes her smile and she tries to talk to it. She also likes holding conversations with fabrics, especially the tags with care instructions on them which she almost always finds.

I try to see the world through her eyes. Now that the weather is nicer and we can go out more she looks at everything with such focus and wonder. She has taught me to do the same.

She’s the light in my life and I can hardly remember what it felt like without her.

So, as she falls asleep in my arms, her breathe soft and steady, I feel enveloped in peace. We two, are here in this moment, filled with joy.

Awakenings

I awoke at 3:30 this morning full of uncertainty.  Perhaps a rehearsal of things to come.

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We are very close now and I am filled with the excitement and anticipation of a child’s Christmas morning.

It was chilly in the bedroom. the cat snuggled up between us seeking our warmth and naive of the fact that our small pack will soon have a new member.  I had been dreaming, nothing specific, but I remember seeing my Mother and Father and my nephew Tristan, all now deceased.  I felt a little sad but also comforted.  I wish they were here to meet my daughter.

I pulled on some pants and a warm shirt and stepped outside, sadly to smoke a cigarette, not quite finished with that.  It was so peaceful and the sky clear.  There were quite a few stars visible considering that we live in a city and one can normally see very few.

There was Jupiter off to the southeast, and Mars on the eastern horizon.

What jumped out at me though was Orion, the hunter.  His belt of three stars, his bow aimed and ready.  They have always given me a sense of comfort and wonder ever since I was a child.  My earliest memory is of Orion and the stars.  I was probably around four years old, looking out the windows of the front room of my first home on Grant Avenue in Brooklyn.  My mother was sitting in a chair and one of my older brothers, Greg I think, was pointing out the constellations.  I remember being excited that I was able to make out the figure of Orion by connecting the dots.  That memory fills me with longing.  And magic.

I sat quietly looking up at the vastness of the night.  Thoughts of my mother returned.  I asked for her protection.  To watch over my wife and my daughter.  To somehow continue her nurturing from elsewhere.

I am going to be a father soon and for the rest of my life.  I’m not old, but older than most who have a first child.  I can’t help but look at my time as limited and it sometimes worries me.  I want to see my daughter grow up and come into her own. I want Lindsay and I to have a long life together filled with love and wonder.

I apologize for all the navel gazing, but awakening in the middle of the night will often have that effect on me.

I climb back into the warm bed, my head filled with stars, and reach over to Lindsay, sleeping soundly, between her nightly awakenings.  I place my hand on her ripe belly, my future contained within.  The cat crawls down deeper under the covers.  I imagine us, curled up in this autumnal bed, as a heavenly body, gliding through space together.  Always.

I am filled with wonder.