It was 6:00 this morning, and my dog Calvin was sitting on my head. Lucky for me that he only weighs 16 pounds, I thought. He’s also very fluffy, so a head sit can feel oddly cozy. I started wandering back toward my dreams.
For maybe a minute. Because then I remembered that head sitting only happens on the Fourth of July, in thunderstorms, or for other such apocalyptic events. Then Calvin began pacing. On my head. He seems to believe that this is where “I” live. And I have no idea how he got that impression.
Okay. Enough. Time to listen. There was something amiss in the field. Not smoke, but a smoke alarm battery signal. A few years ago our son barely made it out of a house fire alive. First chance we got, we planted them obsessively everywhere. If I lay very still I could hear it: one tiny beep every minute. All the way on the other side of the house. Up very high.
This is how I came to be standing under the high beam in the living room wielding a broom, before the sun had come up. I always knew those witching tools would come in handy, I thought. Eventually I batted down the whining smoke detector and searched for the switch. No such luck. In fact, no luck at all finding my way into the battery compartment or into anything else that made sense. The alarm box was locked tight, as far as I could tell. This is the point where I would normally call out to my ever-trustworthy fixer of a husband, George. But this time there was no quick salvation. He was out of town for a few days.
So this dilemma was totally up to me to solve. I considered, and then rejected, the idea of dropping the white plastic case from a two-story window or clubbing it with my handy broom.
Still no smoke appearing anywhere, so I placed the box in the sunroom, already closed for the season.
Back through the house to the back bedroom and to the coziest universe I know, to the magic land that exists in my ridiculously soft bed.
One more chance for sleep; it’s still not too late.
Except for the head sitting. Which began all over again. And then the pacing of the soft white fur ball.
And that is how the thick blanket in the back of my yard ended up in the far corner of my garden. It peeps every minute, until further notice. Or until I can find a Smoke Detector Shaman or magical directions from the internet ethers that will solve the problem.
But. Standing out there in the below-freezing weather, awake now, an amazing miraculous thing happened. I was actually fully alert for the glow that spread over the oak savannah across the way as the sun came up. I pulled a shawl around me and stood there. I was nothing. Nothing but receptivity in the moment.
And then while I stood bathing in the frigid beauty, the light turning pink, I looked across the meadow behind my house, and there it was. A rainbow.
A minute later, the infernal, internal beeping started again.
Time to get going, it said. To focus on those goals. Get organized. Be productive.
But then, stillness. Another voice arose.
Is the desire to be in comfort, to stay asleep; is it stronger than curiosity?
How many times does a Call need to come when I’m not listening?
The Universe just keeps sitting on my head. Until. I. Get up. Get my feet cold. Do…however reluctantly, what is the next thing to do. The next thing, all day long. Follow the simple directions and listen for the beep when I don’t pay attention.