Oh night thou was my guideOh night more loving than the rising sun- The Dark Night of the Soul
|The Princess at the Curtain, by H.J. Ford.|
I have found that inspiration comes to me in most beguiling form at night. So it is that many of my most beautiful imaginings are night-visions - developed in the day - but engendered in the darkness and stillness of deep night. At those times - when no sound is heard throughout the house but my own breathing; when my family sleeps, and when I look out across the harbour and see the lights shining - and listen to the elements outside - at those times my inner self starts to speak, and in the stillness I hear.
I've learned to listen to that night-voice. It tells me true. And thus my story begins.
It happened last night, around midnight: I had been sitting up late, writing and listening to music. After I at length turned off my light, I opened my casement window and sat for a while just smelling the sweet scent of water falling in grey curtains onto the harbour, which could dimly be guessed at from the ferry moving like a point of light across the water. I could taste the freshness of the air, and from the dark tree beside my window, the dripping from the myriad shadowy leaves made percussive music that eased my heart.
|Rain on leaves is a musical and soothing sound.|
I found myself wishing that I could sit by the window all night - that I didn't have to retreat to the stillness and silence of my bed... I imagined myself making a bed by the window out of cushions, and sleeping there all night. It's the sort of thing my child-self had often thought: "I'll do that one-day when I'm older". And I thought - yes! - I will do this. Is there any earthy reason why I should not try it? To be sure, I might sleep uncomfortably; my bed might collapse in the wee-small hours of the night; I might wake with pains and stiffness - but what are those risks beside the allure of breathing the breath of the wind all night?
|What child does not dream of sleeping out under the sky?|
So I turned on my lamp and set about constructing myself a bed. Actually, "nest" is perhaps a more appropriate word.
Near the window my otherwise square bedroom bulges outwards into a semi-circular nook with leadlight casements all around. That's where I sit and write, and right now it contains an easy-chair, a folded-easel covered in artificial flowers and scarves, and over a dozen fairy-books, which I have been consulting in my writing. What better material to construct a magical nest, than fairytale books?
|If someone sleeps in a bed made of fairytale books, the stories whisper in their ears all night and bring enchanted dreams...|
I arranged the books past the seat of my chair, like precious bricks to give my nest structure. Then I went to my bed and stripped it of its coverings - I folded my quilt and stuffed it, with one of my pillows, between the books, then bound them all together to the chair with a blanket. I then took my second blanket to sleep under (since the night air was cool) and covered it all with my Botticelli covering. I turned off the light, made sure my writing book was beside the nest, and snuggled down, looking out at the rainy night and the darkly luminous sky. I was lulled to sleep by the music of many waters - the sea, the rain, and divers other secret tricklings and patterings.
|I slept beneath a sky both glowing and dark.|
This morning I awoke without an ache, and spent a long time gazing out meditatively at the overcast, azure-shadowed harbour, until in the distance I saw the grey sky and sea draw together - and the rain began again.
|A harbour dawn - the borders between the sky and sea begin to blur.|
Cast your eyes on the oceanCast your soul to the seaWhen the dark night seems endlessPlease remember me- Dante's Prayer, Loreena McKennitt