If only it would rain. The garden is bleached like a dusty bone. The nights are cold but by noon the sun is high in the blue skies and harsh, a burning disk cut from sheet metal. Winds blow from the north and rattle bare branches, raise dust storms under the olive trees. It will be a dry spring if there rains do not fall again soon. Wild flowers are out on the mountain slopes and on the plains, brilliant and fragile, withering after only a day.
I wake each morning from dreams of my father dying and cannot recall details. Dreams are the counter-intuitive language of the hidden self. I am not yet ready to look into that depth of feeling, decipher the impulses and taboos. Dreams are for the dreamer alone but the dreamer hesitates and misreads the messages, turns away in fear or bewilderment, gives up on those coded inages so strange and glowing with significance.
So much about recovery too is counter-intuitive, dynamics of paradox and ambiguity. We embrace powerlessness and locate another greater source of power. We give up old notions of power and self-sufficiency in order to reconnect with our forgotten selves and those who have become strangers. We learn to say no to the desires that once seemed so fierce, beautiful and life-giving, just as alcohol once seemed a solution perfect for us. We unlearn our own histories and read a darker narrative, learn an autobiography written against the self we once were. We gain something we had not know existed. It all sounds like a code, cryptic and inaccessible. But it is simple and clear as the words on this page. We have known it all along, we recognise what is there as our deepest dream, that long-suppressed wish and hope of childhood. Goodness is everywhere, like honey spilling out of the comb onto our fingers, a glass of cold water that satisfies a raging thirst.
And as I work and watch for rain clouds, I read the poet Stanley Plumly on death and life and everything in-between. Poetry has the same slant of meaning as do dreams, the same hidden and wonderful syntax.
Now That My Father Lies Down Beside Me
by Stanley Plumly