It was not a dark and stormy night.
That is, it was indeed a dark night, featuring sleeting rain and low light-grey clouds - but it was not particularly stormy.
The sound of cars swishing through the wet streets and the smell of soaked tarmac and peri-urban gardens drew me powerfully back in time, to when I had spent a few weeks with my brother and his wife in the dismal suburbs of middle-poor London, back in the early eighties.
A longing for commercial chocolate bars swept over me, so I got up and stole a hazelnut and choc sweetie from the emergency supplies in the kitchen cupboard. Lulled back to sleep again by the theobromides, I entered a familiar dream configuration - my family of birth, plus my son, in a house, interacting somewhat uneasily.
Uneasily because I knew, even as I dreamed, that two of these people had been dead for around a decade, two are yet among the living, and I was not in Shamanic mode. My Mother was trying to tell me something - something to do with dementia. And I in turn was reassuring her that I had lost my fear of losing my rational mind; a fact which almost more than anything else tells me that I've made considerable progress in uncovering Who I really am. The loss of fear and anxiety about the future and what it may bring is a pretty good pointer to spiritual progress.
My Dad picked that moment to throw one of his legendary wobblies. Repressed and fearful as a youngster - shame on you, Grandpa and Granny Anderson - his rages were physical and scary. This time it ended with him pointing a gun off stage left, and me waking in a cold sweat, a tight pain filling my heart area.
For I know that I'm the prime inheritor of my father's anger. As I blogged about earlier, and as Livia responded resonantly later, I have a lifetime's legacy of untended rage to see to. I'm getting there, but it can't be hurried. Incorporating Black Panther helps a stack.
I lay quietly for a bit, staring out the window at a suddenly calm night. I thought I saw, behind the spreading Cape Ash, bright stars glimmering in the sky. But they formed no constellation I was familiar with. The scene snapped into context, and I realised I was looking at drops of water on the Ash's leaves, catching the light from the night security lamp in the front garden.
I laughed at my own disorientation.
The next morning, as I was remembering my dream, I heard the early morning radio hostess stumble on her reading of the time : "It's now just nine months..er..minutes to four". Nine. Number of the Moon. A balance and an ending. A rounding out. Paired with the lower-octave number two. Full moon just setting out there in the West. The song playing now - REM's Man on the Moon.
I laughed at my own seamless connecting.
Later that morning, having spent many satisfying hours coding programs to do incredibly useful things for the company who retain my services, I walked through the pretentious precinct of Melrose Arch to the Standard ATM, drew some money, turned and stalked back to the office.
Suddenly, striding along the road in my comfortable, thin-soled takkies, through which I can feel every contour of the surface beneath my feet, I felt myself stumble and start to fall. I knew in a flash that I was going to hit the ground, and could already feel the pain of the thud and the sting of the tarmac on my palms and knees. I gave an involuntary cry, and...completely failed to fall to the ground. It was as if I was on strings,which some puppeteer had suddenly taken up the slack on, jerking me upright, keeping me from falling.
I stopped and looked at the piece of road I'd just traversed. Perfectly smooth, no humps, bumps or holes in the road at all.Shaken more than I would admit in public, I moved on.
Later, I laughed at my own paranormal abilities.
There are pieces of a larger picture coming together here. An immense mass of disparate parts, all jumbled and knotted, as I am - as we all are - I can almost feel the shape of the thing up ahead of me. Almost.
And they all - all these pieces, these particles, these tangled skeins and wandering pathways - end in the hearty laughter of God.