It's the wee hours of the night now. Lights are low. The Christmas tree still glows a soft kaleidoscope in my living room. The big cat snoozes, the little cat runs around crying because she wants us to go upstairs to bed, and my husband listens to soft piano music on his laptop. Outside the sky is clear as black crystal, and a fat chunk of moon hovers above the trees. The temperature is low, maybe single digits. If I look out of my kitchen window at just the right angle, I can see a distant neighbor's television. I wonder if they're night owls like us. Maybe they have insomnia. Maybe they fell asleep watching the news. Or maybe there's a crisis in their house tonight and the TV helps to remind them of the world outside their window.
A car just drove up the street. We live in a neighborhood with one way in and out. What do people do at 3:01am? Where are they going? You're probably sleeping. Are you sleeping?
My last few blog posts have felt small and quiet, as though I'm writing you little letters about everything and nothing much, all at once. I think it's the mood of deep winter. After so many days of holiday revelry, I've snuggled in at home, wanting nothing more than tea and books and twinkle lights. Jen Lee has a lovely post about the sacred quiet that we find ourselves in from time to time, more or less often depending on our personalities, I suppose.
Last night I dreamt that I was aboard a large ship, like a Navy cruiser, looking out a window at the nighttime ocean. In the middle of the dark sea a walled city appeared, a medieval marvel of stone and firelight. It wasn't an island exactly; the city was built on the water itself, which reached nearly to the top of the wall, sloshing just six inches below the stone window cutouts. I leaned in close to my companion. I knew we had witnessed something rare and beautiful, and I knew that this sea-city was in danger. Just a few more inches of water and it would drown completely. There was nothing we could do. The ship sailed on. The dream felt intimate and strange, even as it was happening. I awoke feeling as though I'd been handed a secret folded up in origami paper, too beautiful to deconstruct.
I'm not really telling you anything, I know. It's late, and the little cat wants me to go to bed so she can curl up on my left thigh, her favorite sleeping spot. I could make up some meaning for my dream last night, but I'd rather imagine who lives in that city. Who within those wet walls is awake at 3am?