When I Am Sleeping
“It’s been a long time,” she said. Then she paused, waiting for my reply. “I was ready for you,” she continued, when I did not answer. “I dressed special for you – put on my finest. You always say autumnal colours suit me best. But you didn’t come.”
It was an expression more of disappointment than accusation. I shifted my weight from foot to foot, feeling uncomfortable as I looked down at the decaying leaves. “And now look,” she said in her sadness, gesturing about herself. “It’s almost all gone.” I looked up, knowing she was right. There was a quiet, muted sleepiness about her, as if her mind was elsewhere.
“I wanted to come,” I began. “I intended to come – really.” She waited for more but embarrassment made the words stick in my throat. I was in the wrong, without excuse.
“But you had more important things to do?” she ventured.
I drew my breath in sharply. “No,” I replied, not that. Never that. Nothing is more important than coming to be with you.”
I fell silent again. “It’s hard to explain,” I said, eventually. “There’s been a listlessness about me. A drop in my energy. I’ve not been able to motivate myself. I can’t explain why.”
“I know what you mean,” she said, gesturing to the waning colour of late autumn. The branches of the trees were becoming visible, where just a week or so ago they would have been wrapped in a coat of colour.
“I was depressed,” I confessed finally, “I couldn’t motivate myself to come to you.” I knew how weak it sounded. She waited for more but I had nothing else to add. The silence stood between us like a wall, a barrier forbidding me to step across.
“I’m still here for you,” she responded, finally. “I will always be here for you. You do know that, don’t you? Just like you know you always feel better when you come to me.”
She was right. Whenever I shake off the bonds of lethargy to walk with her, it’s like she wakens my soul. I become aware, not just of her and the creatures she tends to, but of the Spirit that moves the heart in her and beyond her. And when I’m
lucky enough, or open enough, or maybe just ready enough, that Spirit begins to move me too and, if I’m willing to listen, to open up the truth that dwells behind the illusion.
So, I walked her paths again and the silence that had been a wall became a lovers’ bridge, as I watched her prepare her children and herself for sleep.
When it was time for me to go, I turned to walk away. Then she spoke again. “Don’t leave it so long next time. Come back when I am sleeping, when the snow
hangs heavy on my boughs. Come and be with me in the silence. You know that it is in the silence that you find yourself again.”
And we both knew she was right.