Good morning, friends. I feel like chatting this morning, nothing earth-shattering, just whatever pops into my mind. I woke up waaay too early, around 12:30 a.m., but since I’d gone to bed around eight I feel okay about this. Not great, because I will be tired today, but okay, and besides, I’ve had lots of time to get my day started right with reading and rumination.
In addition to the novel I’ve been nursing for over a week, Heaven Lake by John Dalton, which is very good–it’s the story of an earnest young missionary in China who falls into some rickety circumstances and ends up losing his faith, until he finds it again in newer, deeper ways; Dalton is an amazing writer and I’m entranced by his descriptions of China as well as by the story itself; I can’t wait to read more of his books–I read a little from The Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by the incomparable Stephen Mitchell, and was blown away by both the expression and message in several of his poems. Robert Bly was right when he said that Rilke was very familiar and comfortable living within his shadow, and there’s so much in his writing that I can relate to. One thing I’ve learned, and am still learning, is how transient everything is. Most of you probably already knew this and even learned it at an early age, but it’s fairly new to me, and it’s been a hard lesson but a very, very good one. I loved these lines, from his poem The First Elegy… they refer to being abandoned by one’s beloved, one of the oldest stories in the world:
Shouldn’t this most ancient of sufferings finally grow
more fruitful for us? Isn’t it time that we lovingly
freed ourselves from the beloved and, quivering, endured:
as the arrow endures the bowstring’s tension, so that
gathered in the snap of release it can be more than
itself. For there is no place where we can remain.
Beautiful, and true. It’s about accepting our wholeness, unrelated to anyone else, as well as letting go. We’re all in this life together but just as surely, we travel our own path, coming into this world alone, and going out of it alone. It shouldn’t be a terrifying prospect, but it is… until we come to the place where it isn’t. I think this realization happens in the latter part of our lives. I am loving this latter part of my life. I’ve never learned so much. By comparison, all my previous years were spent in a foggy haze with glazed-over eyes, a mere stone-skipping over an ocean of riches I never knew existed until now. And I’m only just beginning to plunge in.
Except… I’m just remembering a prophecy that a friend of mine wrote in a note to me years and years ago. He handed it to me after a prayer session several of us were involved in. Let me go dig it out–I want to see it again anyway. Aw, reading it again makes me happy. (Thank you, Jeff.) I won’t quote the whole thing, but he wrote (underlining his): “I also see a depth and realness about you that knows the pain, sadness, anger, hurt, and sorrow of Jesus. It’s like there’s a darkness about you and your personality that is good. “And the spirit hovered over the deep darkness.” Out of that darkness came the whole world. I see you with God hovering over the surface of the deep and slowly, patiently, gently learning how to dive down with him and discover the hidden treasures the deep possesses, just like when a diver goes down into the wonder and mystery of the ocean depths. You have to get used to the scuba gear though, so be patient with yourself.”
So maybe I’ve been learning to dive all along, and have only just now found an immense treasure chest full of previously unexplored wonders, so everything seems new, even the diving part. That’s funny… I think we actually cycle around our lives in a spiral; there’s probably very little that’s linear about our process except for aging, and we can even reverse that by degrees. I always wish I had a better memory so I could both store up and take out and examine all the things I’ve learned throughout my years, but I don’t, and I’m learning to accept that, too. I suspect that sometimes a selective memory can be a saving grace. Hey, it’s a great way to remain childlike! Or like a goldfish, which seems pretty happy swimming around in circles, until it runs out of air and dies, belly-up, on top of the water. (Note: Goldfish need oxygen, which a lot of people don’t know. Buy your goldfish an air pump and it’ll live for years. But that’s getting off-point. Kind of.)
I’ve been having positive dreams lately. Last night I dreamt that Torie and I were traveling down a road in an open truck bed and saw an assortment of big wild cats prowling and skulking by the side of the road. She asked for some crackers to throw to them and I realized, too late, that she was trying to draw them into the truck. I asked her to stop but then noticed that one had jumped on behind us. “Great,” I said. “Now there’s a tiger in here,” and spent the remainder of the dream looking over my shoulder, vaguely worried that it would pounce on me.
When I looked up the symbolism of both wild cats and tigers in dreams, I discovered that they represent powerful energy, the ‘wilder’ parts of our nature, the parts we generally keep contained because we’re scared of letting them out in case they hurt us–in other words, because they’re not socially acceptable we may be criticized or ostracized by others, thus left utterly alone. That I was worried about the tiger indicates that I’m still a little iffy about my new decision to be decisive instead of oblique. Remember me writing in my last post that I’m going to try to be a giant with a club instead of a kitten? Interesting that my dream last night gave me a tiger. Tigers are quite a departure from kittens, even if they are in the same furry family. I feel that my consciousness is finally catching up to my subconsciousness, at least in some areas, and this is very encouraging.
Something that’s also encouraging, and related to cats so win-win, is that I think I’ve found a way to alleviate Horatio’s feline herpes symptoms. He was either born with the disease, which is incurable, or picked it up before we got him from the kitten cage at the feed store, and it manifests itself in respiratory problems and a leaky right eye. This is no fun for him or for us. So I stumbled on some information about L-Lysine, an amino acid that’s been found to help cats with this problem. I started him on 500 mg (the recommended dose) this morning. I hope it helps. Anyway, this might be of interest to anyone whose cat is suffering from the same thing. Also, if you’re a human (I assume you are) and have herpes in ANY form, sexually or non-sexually-related (my assumptions stop there), it’s supposed to help. I tend to get hives when I’m uber-stressed, so next time that happens I’ll have a little extra recourse besides Benadryl, Tylenol, and moaning and whining.
Well, I think I’m done chatting for now. Maybe it’s time for a cup of ginger tea. I’ve already had breakfast, which this morning was a big bowl of salad. I know, that’s weird, but it’s what I was craving, and it was a really delicious salad of mixed greens, pico de guyo, crunched-up tortilla chips and caesar dressing. Yep, I’ll have some ginger tea and read a chapter or two from my anthology on the human shadow. I really love these long mornings, and it was great sharing some of this morning with you. Love! xo