There is something wonderfully delicious about a dark, quiet morning. Stepping out of a darkened bedroom and walking on tiptoe through the house, I am privy to a secret that no one else will ever know.
How better to spend such a morning than with a hot mug of coffee and my thoughts pouring onto the page.
A friend reminded me yesterday that I have made an enormous transition in my life. I had nearly forgotten that my most recent upheaval from Lowell, Massachusetts to Prescott, Arizona only took place a few, brief months ago.
Has it really only been a little over two months?
Some things fade so quickly, the kinds of things I don’t miss.
The sound of sirens and late night parties from the college students next door
People in their car; check out lines, and all kinds of common places, in such a hurry and often so very quick to anger
Long nights of insomnia, trying to warm myself up alone in my bed
The uncertainty of sharing a future with another person
Some troubles from one reality fade with the change to a new life, while others remain. New troubles indelibly seem to take the place of those that no longer remain. I am reminded of what happens to rocks as they move deep underground. The softer rocks melt under the heat and pressure, and another mineral seeps into the empty space before it even has a chance to breath.
No reality, however romantic, comes with a promise of freedom from worry, self-doubt, or any of the other baggage that followed me from Lowell or any of my previous lives. This I have learned over time and many instances of uprooting. The grass may seem greener, but it is just a different species.
They say that life is not meant to be easy, but I wonder if my own nervous system takes particular joy in reeking havoc on the peace I keep trying to create.
I don’t think that life needs to be that hard, either.
I am learning more and more that my own perspective can make the difference. I choose what to focus on as I wake in the morning and drift to sleep at night and how much to let the idiocies of the world shake me.
“The present moment contains the whole of life,” writes Thich Nhat Hanh (2014, p. 47).
So I am trying to focus on each present moment, even the ones that shake me. If I pay close enough attention to the shaky feeling, perhaps I will be able to breathe some peace into it and soothe its rattling energy.
As I lay in bed a couple of nights again, my mind a buzz of activity over the most recent events that were cause for stress, I was shaken out of own ego and thrust into another dimension: the realm of the night.
While I lay warm and wondering, coyotes began to yip and yowl somewhere out in the darkness. I imagined them sitting atop the granite boulders that surround my house. The creatures called out in haunting song, short notes, long notes, staccato, and beyond. One mournful cry began as canine and ended as a woman crying. I imagined myself sitting atop the rock and crying out to the night, letting my own pain and worry transform from the depths of my soul into an unearthly howling plea to the gods of the night to hear me and ease my suffering.
I listened for a long while and eventually drifted off to sleep.
In the morning light, I opened my eyes and thought about the coyote symphony from the night before. I wanted to hold onto the feeling of hearing them, but already the intensity of the moment was passed into hazy memory.
How does one hold onto a present moment and stay focused and calm when each moment is so fleeting? Even as I write, my secret darkness is replaced by light that seeps into the every crevice of the fabric of the world outside my window.
Maybe, I do not need to hold onto everything and everyone so very tightly. For each moment I breathe in and exhale out, I am more than my self-alone. I am every one and every thing who has come before me and will follow after: “ancestors, culture, food, air, and water” (p. 57).
I just am.
Perhaps, this is one of the secrets of the coyote. I will have to listen more closely next time they sing. And maybe next time, I will join them.