In the dream, an orange cloud spreads at my feet high on a desert mesa, as I pause alone on my trek home.  It ripples and shimmers, tissue thin and wide as the darkening sky – as though a feast might be served upon it, or a body folded into sleep.  I stoop down and finger the edge of its luminosity; the gentlest tug sets off pleats and ruffles of light.  More boldly, then, I wave and air it in the unburdened sky, a flaming bedsheet holding the coming night.

In the exodus of all of us who are headed home – whether in our living or in our dying – it seems like there is always a desert to cross alone, wandering in the half-light.  I have been forever on the move toward that land of my true belonging, where all my selves breathe free, counted and claimed in the shelter of my being.  And in the desert places, a solitude of spirit descends; I am fed by the manna of quiet mysteries, of dreams.

My father is heading home, also, in that long circle of completion.  Surrounded by a company of friends, yet he is necessarily alone.  The slow walk of ALS means that the desert crossing may be long, and the way, dark.  Platitudes cannot carry the weight of it.  Silence is preferable, and preparatory.  For alone in that long night, a soul may, just may, feel the moment trembling with a strange incandescence.  As Moses did, in the harsh grace of the desert.  Here, there is no milk and honey,  nor the familiar shape of life we had grown accustomed to.  But out in the in-between, sometimes, the gift is in this burning presence, frightening and alive beyond the edge of our thoughts.  This cloud of unknowing.

Suggesting everything.


~ by Susan on 04/25/2010.

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