Of Palm Trees, Crickets and Dreams

royal palmOne of the great joys I am experiencing upon my return to living in Sydney, is the vivid blue of the sky. One evening recently, I wandered up the road and sat on a bench near the entrance to the village, simply enjoying the golden light as the sun moved slowly towards the horizon.

I watched the fronds of the royal palms, mesmerised by their gentle dance in the cooling breeze. Their ceaseless, languid motion became a meditation as they described their patterns against the azure sky.

Crickets chirped rhythmically in the thick grass edging the pavement, the cosy sound redolent of childhood afternoons – of playing happily in the garden, oblivious to all else until my mother called to me that dinner was about to be served. Their sound was distinctive – different from the call of the little insects in my mountain garden.  This was the sound of home.

It became a meditation on gratitude: for the tranquillity of my surroundings, for time to enjoy them, for the privilege of a childhood lived in freedom, immersed in a landscape of surpassing beauty.

Such moments, when experienced in the upheaval of moving house and attempting to create order from the inevitable chaos of downsizing, ground me and remind me of why I have chosen to move back to Sydney.

 * * * * *

Another such reminder arrived in the shape of a dream.

It was morning, about 5am and I had drifted into the kind of sleep which often yields vivid hypnogogic imagery. Such was the case a few days ago and the memory of it is with me, still.

The preamble is lost to me, but the essential part, the final part, was a discussion between several people about the ways in which a child attempts to relate to the world.

A man spoke of how children, when visiting a friend’s house for the first time, may engage their senses in various ways, trying unconsciously to make a mental map; exploring the layout, noticing the odours of the house, listening to the sounds it makes; running their hands over fabric (often to the annoyance of the adults) or dancing their feet on the floor.

“Yes”, I responded to the speaker. “In this way, a child can obtain  a “sense” of her surroundings and can anchor herself in them.  They become real to her.”

The dream ended at this point and I awoke. I thought about the insights it had provided and as one idea drifted into another through the curling mists of early-morning consciousness, I pondered the significance of early sensate engagement for one’s awareness of being anchored in the world.  It is difficult to be solipsistic, to feel that other people, other life-forms, other environments, lack reality, when we engage fully with what is around us.  It resembles the difference between a photograph and seeing the scene it represents come to life in three dimensions.

An odd dream, to be sure, yet one which is germane to my current situation in which I am trying to bring order out of the chaos of unpacking and find places for objects in a very small space.

Somewhere in this dream is the nugget of wisdom that tells me that I cannot control my environment or attempt to impose myself upon it, but need rather to engage with it, relax into it, become a part of it even as it becomes a part of me.

So now I sit and listen to my new abode. I feel its energy and ask it to speak to me.  Slowly, items fall into place, a subtle harmony establishes itself:  I am home.

royal palm




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