Actually a gun, three shots in loud rapid succession woke me up this morning. Tale end of a dream or should I say nightmare.
I woke up instantly remembering the last few minutes of the dream. I was in a room, there was a wall of books, and I was telling someone “You should see my books against the yellow walls…..”. Then my mother going to sleep and my father in the room somewhere and I am about to say something when I hear rapid gunfire, and suddenly standing before me a tall stocky man in black pants and long black leather jacket brandishing a short fat gun about to burst into my father’s room…
I remember the intense heart pounding panic as he stared at me, his gun wielding hand stretched out long and straight into the room where my father and mother were. And I ran. There was nothing to do but run, he might shoot me right there, or as I was running, but if his intent was to go into the room to kill my parents I could at least run for help, get back to them in case they were left wounded or held captive.. crazy..you don’t think you just run, run, run from evil….
The sound of those three shots is what woke me, as though it was a new alarm, instead of sun streaming through the window, the moon shining bright into the room or someone calling. The man’s face was hideous. An oversized head with a wide bony forehead like a cartoon villain come to life. His skin marked with dark, deeply etched lines as though he had spent time baking in Hell. There was a powdery substance all over him like cocoa.
Something pulled me to the window. It was before 6:00 a.m. and still dark out but as I opened the blind there were a thousand stars in the sky. A thousand. I saw the big dipper and I saw clusters of stars fading into pools of mist. I saw stars as big as the moon and I saw stars that looked as big and pointy and bright as stars in a children’s cartoon. They were so big I thought I was mistaken and they were planes, so I watched for a long time to see if they were moving but they were not. These were huge stars, planets, giant blinding night visitors calling me outside.
I rushed downstairs still slightly shaken from the bad dream and wondering for a moment if it was real, if someone was lurking at the bottom of the stairs or in the kitchen. Still I ran for the coffee pot and heated yesterday’s coffee quickly seeing the sky turn slightly pale but the world still dark.
I flung open the back door noisily to chase whatever animals might be there (once a quintet of raccoons scared me half to death as they walked by in single file like a parade of zombies). Nothing there but silence and lingering dread from the dream but then…. oh my— the stars the stars the stars, they were all above and around me North and South and East and West were stars or planets I had never seen, not this big and not this bright and not sparkling this way, filling the whole wide sky with silver and gold and diamonds. I saw three or four constellations that looked like big dippers and small dippers some right side up and some right side down. I saw jagged lines of tiny stars still visible to my naked eye I saw faint glittering pools like swarms of golden bees, crushed powdery quartz and gold rings. Everywhere I looked there was something bright and dazzling, strings of jewels and flowers, lacy filigreed patterns all over the sky.
It was still dark, my coffee almost finished and I wanted another cup so I could keep wandering in my night garden, under this beautiful, frightening, wild and starry night, and coming back out with the second cup, I saw just as I was approaching the back of the driveway, the end of a car idling in front of my house. Not daring to go out I peered carefully and saw it was a police car just sitting there. It was as though the car had responded to the violence in my dream, was chasing my nightmares, his nightmares, the whole streets’ nightmares. After a few seconds it left. A regular neighborhood patrol, but the timing slightly unnerving.
I walked to the front of the house again and stood in the middle of the sidewalk and thought I saw something moving in the shrubs two houses down, thinking it was a man, some escapee the police were looking for. He may be there now in my house and going back to the garden I saw my back door more ajar then I had left it. But still so dazzled by the stars and planets, so shaken by the nightmares and so horrified by the gunshots and the murdering powdery man, I just stood there before the door hesitating to go in, drank my coffee staring again at the dazzling sky wanting to see and remember every inch of it. It was freezing now in the garden but the stars were keeping me alive.
Suddenly I heard the crickets softly singing, as though it was an August evening, stragglers in the garden hovering in the still leafy shrubs and shrouded lawn. Some cardinals and robins also stirring, letting out muted chirps and peeps, I almost thought I heard their tiny hearts beating……perhaps like me they were startled, dazed and dazzled by this crystal dawn.
Suddenly all fear went away, what if I thought, what if there was someone there, nothing I can do, nothing anyone can do, and after all I have these stars and planets. These stars and planets will protect me, keep me, guide me and hide me…….
Went back inside and it was almost daylight the sky pale blue but Venus still blazing bright in the East. I checked all the windows and the doors went upstairs and checked under the bed. Absurd yes, but don’t we all check under our beds for the boogey man?
No one there. Just the rooms and the beds and all the material things that we buy, lose and buy again and clean and dust year after year after year.
These stars this night this creation, this garden that has heard and felt my footsteps back and forth, in wild and crazy pacing circles just like these skylight constellations, nothing on this earth is what we think or know or feel it is, thank God for that. Thank God for these stars that woke me up and took me if only for a little while away from evil men and guns and fear. As you look up and up and up at the stars and the moon and the Sun, as you walk around in the dark and smell the intense perfume of silence and frost and burning planets in the dark, you know that this earth you stand on is as fleeting as the breath you just took and is now gone. The stars, they pull you to them far far away from all the strife and fear. I know this, I know that this morning the stars woke me up not the sun, but the stars the stars that are now hidden from us, the stars that only shine here and there away from City lights, pollution and glare, and what Galileo once saw a million years ago we no longer see, but what I saw this morning was an intimation of what I know one day we will see again.