Dark meets light as first thin layer of dawn emerges from behind distant darkened peaks. A horizontal sliver of glowing brightness slowly claiming more of night’s sky with morning’s rise. Revealing, minute after minute, a rounded, pulsating ball of glare. Forcing me to look away.
For many years I’ve been watching these mountains. In predawn peace they appear grey black against a sky of the same color. By mid-morning the mountains have turned bright brown. Afternoon finds them dressed in light grey. Impending dusk turns them taupe, then rose pink followed by pale pink partnering with evening’s greyish blue. Night shadows the mountains against a star-studded sky, black on black.
Mornings with these mountains captivate me most. Choir of birds joining me in my morning’s reverence. Singing a new day’s canon in chirps, calls, twitters, buzzing’s, hoots, echoed responses, and sounded alarms. Mostly from my left as morning traffic sounds reflect off the mountains to my right. Bouncing off these grand giants into the pocked valleys below before climbing up the foothills to where I sit. Staring. Listening. Breathing in the sweetness of desert Spring bloom. Noticing a young jackrabbit’s entrance into the yard. A quail calling from fence’s perch. A hummingbird zipping by.
In this morning place I feel the deepness of my fatigue. The concerns I carry. The sadness filling me, always moving within me like flowing caplets through my veins. My body, in its weighted worries, rests here among birds, desertscape, and in what remains of night’s coolness amidst these mountains. A combination allowing my truth within its safety.
The sun continues its climb, today into a cloudless, blue sky. Blanketing peaks with morning’s haze. A dry fog diffusing downward until the mountains are fully covered. Allowing my eyes to gaze their way again. Seeing their craggy skin, full of bumps, crevices, and stubs, appear more immense than the sun.
A quail couple walks along the view fence unaware of my presence as more hoots and chirps resonate around me. My breath releases. Body quivers as I embrace this act of morning sitting as self-directed, compassionate self-care. Even though it is not my day off nor am I on holiday claiming a series of days just for basking here while watching the day progress through its phases. Instead, I am, like so many now, working remotely for a brief time. Doing so affords me the chance to be with my son as he once again attempts to free himself from Lyme Disease, a co-infection, and mold growing in his body. Our days’ rhythm aligned with the tempo of healing—slow, weighted, disciplined. Combined with calls to this doctor or that hospital’s billing department—the business side of finding answers, possible medical protocols, and people who can help.
This desert, the Sonoran Desert, my son’s physical and emotional container for this time. Mine as well. Only leaving the house for necessary food or an occasional bout of discount retail therapy. Birds, lizards, and rabbits, the only visitors allowed inside the fence. Deep healing requiring solitude. “Like being a monk,” my son tells me.
Sort of like those ancient Christians choosing to live in desert caves, I think. Begin referring to this contained place and time as his monk-dom and to the work itself as monking having worn out the word healing these past eight years.
Last night, my son banged around the house waking me up. The night giving him respite while stealing mine. Once quiet, I sobbed in bed. Something I did nightly, upon a time. The first time living in New York City feeling directionless and alone at the same age of my son, twenty-five. The second, twenty-seven years later in acute traumatic stress which after a few months shifted officially into PTSD. Again, feeling alone. Pain isolating my sons and me. Home, creating a physical and emotional container reaching only as far as our home’s walls and deck. A time demanding a closing off from the world. Parameters secured with lots of therapy, and time. No mountains. Just a field stretching one direction into farmland and the other into woods. Accompanied by birds as well—just different ones with different sounds.
It was in that solitude that I learned the difficult-to-accept realities of true healing, of becoming whole from within. One, that healing is always possible even when it seems elusive. Two, that healing takes healers (as many as needed). And three, healing demands its own time and is stubborn, sure of its own way. Its own rhythm, tempo, count.
Returning from these memories, I sit. Desert breeze comforting me. Sun sending warmth. Mountains rising in protective stance while birds’ flit around me in the light of day. Dart. Land. Preen. My morning’s only external movement in this daily ritual. Allowing pent up breath to discover an escape route. Releasing into body’s inner dance. Desertscape containing me in active witnessing to what my sleeping son’s body does in its cloak of skin and bones. Rid itself of festering disease. Return to true homeostasis breath by breath. While we exist together in illness’ quiet pause, safely in our mountainous waiting room wondering if the birds’ combined, chaotic message is really one of hope.