Was it a day in full blinding sun or a night in deep gloomy shadows? Was I asleep? Awake? I don’t remember. No, it was both. I wandered about in my dream with my eyes open, my dream that quickly became a nightmare.
What I looked upon were reflections of my darkest thoughts and fears. My sub-conscience was trapped in the dreaded landscape of the land of the dead–the churchyard, the cemetery, God’s Little Acre, the lawns and fields of the departed.
The angel stood on the rock and watched over the mute stones.
“O, What has come into this world that these once vital souls, who lived, loved and danced and sang must now repose until the Day of Judgement?”
I stood watching a man mourn the loss of his wife, lover, child, parent or self. He cannot bear the loneliness of existence. He pulls at the door. It is solid and firm in its closure. The door is thick bronze. I touch his shoulder to offer solace. He, too, is bronze. It’s all metal and stone except for the dust that lies within. He will remain in this torment until the acids of the rain reduce him to molecules.
I walk on. I don’t know why I do this. I know what awaits me behind the next tree or over the next hill. I walk into the trees. Roots have begun to ensnare a gravestone. The trees will absorb the crystals in another century. Then, who will remember? Where will the flowers be placed? Where will the tears be spilled?
The only comfort for my eyes are the green and living leaves, mosses and lichens. Objects with life hold firmly to the ultimate symbol of death.
I leave the dark trees and stand to meditate the monument before me. I read the inscription. It’s not an epitaph–it’s a promise:
Somewhere in Mexico–when you were hurting and in despair, I sent my angel to comfort you. You are not alone. I will be with you even unto the end of the earth.
There is an old house with an open door. I grew up and passed from childhood into manhood in an old house. I must enter. I walk into the foyer and along the hallway. There she is. The transparent image of a long-ago lover. Or is she the sister I never had? Or is she my mother as a beautiful youth? Or is she someone unknown to me–coming to hold my wrinkled hand and place her young cold lips on my warm cheek.
Instead, she passes through me and ascends the stairs to meet another shade–someone her own age to play with–someone as spectral as she. I watch her ascend the stairs and experience an overwhelming sense of melancholy. I wished to know her in life. I probably would have given her my heart–the heart she would break when she passed away. My heart breaks as easily as ancient Oriental porcelain.
I leave the house to her spirit. I whisper a prayer for her restless soul. Does anyone hear my words? I walk on into a monochromatic world. There at my feet is the grave of a man who is holding…is it his own face? The head of someone he is longing for? The visage of a family member? I walk by and he continues to stare, without terror or anger into another pair of eyes.
I have seen too much for a living and mortal mind to comprehend. I want to be awake. I don’t care if it’s just past mid-night or if the sky in the east is becoming pale.
Pale! Enough pale! I want to be amongst the living and the breathing. I want to mingle with lovers who embrace with a terrible passion for life. I want to walk along flowered paths rich with bees and insects and birds singing for the company of a mate. I want to help a lame farmer till his field, an old woman with arthritic joints knead her bread, a teacher tell his students the truth about life, calm a couples angry words, write a song a child will love, write a book that will make a man weep, kiss a wanton woman, drink a dark ruby wine, eat a mushroom in a desert, draw a picture that a blind person could see, dig a grave, speak words at a burial, pour Holy Water on an infant’s forehead, stand on a mountain peak so very sharp and pointed that the highest crystal pierces my thick boot soles and makes my foot bleed so that red stains on the heather will guide a lost soul to the low meadows.
I can feel sleep falling away. But, I sit up in bed, still in a deep slumber and see my last vision for the night.
It’s the Angel of the Fog. But is she fading away or growing more real?
I rise and boil water for tea. I wrap myself in flannel. I rub the Sandman’s leftovers from the corners of my eyes. I am fully awake and fully alive. I will use and live this day to its fullest. I will live with faith and hope. As I slowly stir a drop of honey into my tea, I begin to wonder…
What will tonight bring me as I put my book down and let the dark envelop me?