Sleep would have been nice. I’m told it is good for you. I was certainly tired enough and expected to fall into a deep slumber as soon as my head hit the pillow… well, at least by the second chapter… and indulge until daylight. No such luck.
The clock said four a.m… it had said one a.m. as I turned out the lamp… and while I gritted my teeth and tried to resist, dragging the duvet over my head stubbornly in the interest of getting some much needed rest, the dreams were gnawing at my ear like a small rodent and telling me to get up and do something about them. And I was wide awake. You wouldn’t think something as ephemeral as a dream, small as a mouse could be so insistent… but then, mice are persistent creatures. I gave in. Stopped fighting. Sometimes it is the best thing to do.
I got up and dealt with the nagging of the dream, which turned out to be more ursine than murine, and that left me and the coffee twiddling thumbs before dawn yet again. Still, there are benefits to being up early, though the dog sees them merely in terms of an early start with the tennis ball and a dawn raid on the treats.
An article in the inbox sent me of researching, leading me off at various tangents over the second coffee. Persistence pays off, but it can be a double edged sword. You need the quality in order to achieve anything, yet the tight focus required inevitably blinds you to the wider picture that may include many more possible avenues than the one you are driving at… or feel you are driven towards.
I watched this in action one day as I drove home from my son’s. The busy road runs through a landscape of ploughed fields and as I drove a red kite flew alongside me for about half a mile, keeping itself level with my eyeline and speed, which, when I think about it, was awesome enough in itself. There was a moment… a split second… when it hung in the air, then swooped below the line of the hedgerow, emerging with a small rodent in its talons. The speed was incredible; it all happened in a glance through the side window and then it was away, soaring.
At first it was only the privilege of watching something so beautiful that imprinted itself on consciousness. But when I thought about it, I realised that had the great bird, a symbol of Isis, not been flying high enough, far enough from the ground, she would not have seen her prey… her goal… nor been able to pinpoint her descent so accurately. Her quarry lives and moves on the earth, yet she, had she joined it there, would have ended up with muddy feathers and no lunch. Her gift is to soar and to see from above and utilise her glorious design of wing and feather. She uses her whole being to its full potential by rising above the level of that which she seeks.
With our focus so firmly on the necessities of life in a demanding world, I have to wonder if we are walking in a muddy field alien to our true nature and failing to rise high enough to see a clearer, wider picture. Within the ridges and furrows of ploughed earth we may lose sight of the greater landscape and get caught in the sticky morass that makes flight ever more difficult.
There is the old saying we all know, that ‘distance makes the heart grow fonder’. We quote it without thinking, knowing that without the daily grind, the petty worries and pressures, the heart sees clearer the distant beloved and the emotion shines, standing bright against the mundane world. The details fade as we move apart, flaws disappear out of focus and we are left only with the essence of love.
On the negative side this can blind us to reality and allow us to indulge in the make believe of a romantic dream… and may explain why to many the past holds the only attraction, seen from a safe distance and we yearn for an illusion. Most of the time, however, it shows how small the details are in comparison to the essence, allowing us to see reality with truer vision as the minor details blur and recede. Yet we do not seem to notice that perhaps this applies at a deeper level also, and that by stepping back from the cares and worries, widening our focus and seeing the landscapes of our lives from horizon to horizon, we might just fall in love with life itself.