Nightmares, Dirt and Poetry

Woke up before daylight crying so hard I was hyperventilating.  Another nightmare. I held my breath and counted to ten slowly, both to stop the hyperventilation and get myself under control.  I had to keep counting my breath over and over as a wave of the emotions from the nightmare would sweep over me.  Breath.  Observe the emotions, the pain -but don’t react.  Keep breathing.  Finally calm again yet not wanting to go back to sleep.  Exhaustion finally won and I drifted back off curled up close to Mark who had drifted off again as well, his hand still resting on my back where he had gently rubbed as I tried to regain composure.

I dream again.  This time, though, I am lucid.  I know I am dreaming.  I am sitting in a bed, my husband next to me, when I see a large dog standing in the doorway.  I point it out to Mark but he can’t see it.  He still can’t see it as it starts moving towards me, aggressively.  I realize it must not be a real dog and I sweep my hand through the air where it has come at me.  I announce that the dog is in the astral and I get angry.  I jump up, my heart in my throat as I yell a chanting rhyme at the dog and chase it.  It runs before me, but reluctantly.  I keep chanting.  Banishing it with words and actions till I chase it out the front door.  But before it gets off the porch it grows larger.  It reaches down and angrily grabs the last dwindling basil plant out of it’s planter.  Shredding it.  Then morphs into some hideous creature before disappearing.  I still know I am dreaming and I stand there in my dream, pondering.  I feel I know what I need to know and so I start to try and wake up, it’s hard.  Then I’m awake and back in bed next to my husband, but things don’t seem quite right, and it is like I am moving through quicksand.  I realize I am still asleep and I start yelling, “I want to wake up.  I want to wake up.  Over and over. I finally do.  For real this time.  But I take a moment to be sure.  I sit up, absolutely certain I will not allow myself to drift off again.  Enough is enough.

Despite the horrors of the morning, our energy is good.  A little tired but looking forward to the day.  We read about various ways that the holiday of Imbolc  or Candlemas or any of it’s other names over the centuries is celebrated.  We talk about how we might like to celebrate this balancing point between winter and spring.  We have some good ideas, some of which I may share in another post.

We take off to run some errands and end up at a nursery where I fall in love with a Daphne bush and these bright pink primroses with lacy white edges.  Mark wants to make these my early Valentines gift this year and I won’t argue.  I’ve missed the Daphne I had for years that I finally planted in the ground in Olympia and had to leave behind.  I’ve wanted another ever since, and finally, this year, instead of cut flowers I get a whole small shrub of them to bloom over and over each year – at this balancing point between winter and spring, where I am needing a little more spring and a lot less winter.  We gather up our treasures and as we drive through the city the car is filled with the scent of daphne.

Today included a walk through the Arboretum in the rain.  We visited the Rowan trees and the big sister Maples next to the Rowan grove.  We walk through the woods, seeing the Magnolia trees fat with blossom getting ready to burst in the coming months.  The rhododendrons as well and the Indian Plum about to burst.  I can’t help myself – I gently kiss the tip of the nearly open blossoms, grateful for what they tell my winter weary spirit.  We walk past fragrant blooming Witch Hazel with Helebores flowering at their feet.  I hug a cedar tree or two, breathing in the fragrance of their bark.  We visit the Oak Grove where we sat and meditated among the trees last year with a group of Druids.  Each visiting the trees we sat with.  As I stand before my oak tree, cheerfully wishing it a happily approaching spring I clearly get the sense that Trees are not impatient for Spring.  “Fine then”, I say, “Enjoy the rest of your winter.”  Humbled by this bit of wisdom, yet still, myself, impatient for Spring.  I am not a tree.

We eventually make it home and I wrestle the Daphne out of its plastic pot, placing it into the planter I have for it and nestling the primroses around its feet. I have dirt under my finger nails and in my hair, where I kept trying to push it back out of my face with soil encrusted fingers.  I bury my nose in the Daphne again and grin, ear to ear.  Satisfied I go back inside and to dinner.

After dinner we read poetry to each other.  Three books sitting on the table to choose from.  Mary Oliver, Robert Frost and Shel Silverstein.  We move back and forth between the books.  Moved deeply by Oliver, pondering at Frost and laughing hysterically with Silverstein.  The eclectic nature of the poems being read making the evening that much more unique and fun.  Then I notice my sketch journal sitting on the table as well, so I pick it up and read a few poems from it and then a few entires from the past couple years.  I see the sketch I did of Mark wheeling me through the p-patch under a full moon in a wheel barrow and we laugh at the memory.  We marvel at how much it snowed in 2009 and at the eclectic nature of three Haiku poems I wrote that winter.  The lightheartedness of a couple captured moments and then the blatant truth of the last one on the page.  It capturing the reality of that time for us in so few words.  We’re glad we aren’t in that place anymore.  We’re glad that we can move from nightmares to dirt to poetry all in one day.

Here are the three poems from that page in my sketch journal.

Bagel and cream cheese
Cat pushes closer
My bagel, Thank you!

Open Haiku book
Cat wanting attention
Close Haiku book

The homeless man asks for money
I shake my head
I may be homeless tomorrow

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3 responses to “Nightmares, Dirt and Poetry

  1. great visuals of your day. one of my favorite descriptions. although can i say, big dog tearing away basil as his last stand kinda made me giggle uncontrollably? i know, i know, it was scarier in the nightmare… really though, i have those as well where there’s a thin line between sleep and awake where you think you are, insist vocally to your partner that you are awake, and um NOPE! i have a persistent nightmare that a) there is a creature in my room (anything from a bird to a rodent to a raccoon) or b) i’ve discovered a gaping hole and part of my house/ceiling/room is coming apart. yes, yes, lots of interpretation available there 🙂 ps, i LOVE the smell of daphne !

  2. mauriekirschner

    Thanks, Grrl! I can see if you weren’t there it could be pretty funny. But then again, anything/one messing with one’s basil is cause for war – I mean it’s basil – herb of the gods!!!
    Yeah, those multi-layered sleep withing sleep dreams are a pain in the arse! Very interesting reoccurring themes in yours – bet you have fun figuring those out!
    Daphne is heavenly. And it actually grows here, unlike Gardenia. This morning there was a neighbors kitten on the porch when I opened the curtains and she was stalking the new planter on the porch, hilarious!
    This post kinda gives ya an idea of how kooky I can be – talking to and hugging trees, kissing flowers – I didn’t even mention the skipping about like a little kid!

  3. I have been reading The Hunger Games, which are giving me massive nightmares! LOL.

    I love the way you write. As EcoGrrl said, so visual! Happy Candlemas – hope you enjoy it!

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