My thinking/dreaming mind, what are its last hopes, fears, or promises to itself as the alarm goes off? This was a prompt from our Pau Hana, after work writing group, which meets monthly in good weather and as it did last night, in pre-hurricane watch. I do know what it is that my squirrely brain is up to in the moments before I wake, or rather my palms do.
Lately, I wake up, hands clenched, tiny crescent moons pressed into the tender flesh of my heart line. I keep my nails trimmed, but even short nails leave angry red marks. Apparently, my dream self isn’t concerned about the waking body. I have developed small calluses there, a testament to prolonged stress, but this is in the moments before the alarm goes off. Certainly not my groove time.
Ask me instead where I am between 1:00 and 3:00 am. That’s a beautiful time, luminous, my soul’s respite. I dance in the moonlight and fly, spirit free, traveling lands afar without need of a passport or airline ticket. Shh! Don’t tell anyone, but I get around. At least the spirit me does.
This last Saturday, I kicked up dust that smelled faintly of spice at the Pushkar Camel Fair, time and space bending to the Kartik Purnima full moon. Cloves and curry, cardamom and camels, each competing for my nose’s attention. Sunday found me soaring through the misty tops of redwoods, an ancient empire of giants and forest primeval along the banks of the Chetco River in Southern Oregon. And last night? Ah... yes. Reclined in a chair along the golden coast of Italy, listening to the drowsy waves lap the shore at Spiaggia di Fegina. I have a floppy beach hat over my eyes and a spiked limoncello that I purchased with dream lira in the town of Monterosso al Mare, just minutes from the beach. Fegina is a favorite haunt because I like pasta and red wine and tanning topless, even in my sleep.
Night time is my time. I soar over the ocean and drink starlight with open cupped hands. I meet other astral travelers and trade maps for a kiss or a wisp of dandelion fluff. Tonight I might visit Pele and throw myself into Halemaʻumaʻu Crater to burn off all of life’s concerns, those things which no longer serve me. I will stuff crystals in my spirit pockets and laugh about the silliest and most serious of things. I will drink nectar from blossoms when thirsty and snack on maidenhair fern. And then, the press of time.
My internal clock chides me awake. Panic and stress and heaviness descend like an ugly wet blanket. Still airborne but falling, I am between worlds. I try to grasp the wings of a friend, a fellow night traveler or a white-tailed tropicbird, I can’t tell which. She flutters just out of reach, and I’m left clutching my own hands, heart pounding. I find myself in bed, lavender light of not-quite-dawn peeking through the bamboo shades.
It’s quiet and everyone but me is asleep. Even the cat. The clock reads 4:23 am, and I decide it’s too early just yet to get out of bed. My night owl has no early bird plans, so I close my eyes and try to find my way back to dreams along the rocky path of chronic insomnia. And that’s when I hear it, a light tinkling of laughter but fading, fading, then a whisper: See you tonight. Hold another day, dear one.