I was at the old homestead in Omaha, where I spent my formative years. I was walking west on the old road that branches off of Davis road, right where our old house used to be before it burned down; the one that goes up to the highway where the sale barn is located. Hwy 259, I think. Whetmore is the name of that road. Like Percy Whetmore, from The Green Mile.
It was night and the moon was full, just
above the eastern horizon, and lighting up the world with that same,
ethereal unearthly glow that comes when it snows, caused by the city
lights bouncing around between the snow covered ground and the low lying
clouds. I was happy. I walked west, reveling in the euphoric feeling
of it, and fell asleep when I reached the highway.
When I awoke,
it was broad daylight, and a crushing disappointment filled me. I only
got one chance a year to experience the night light, and I'd just slept
through it. I wanted to cry.
I stumbled outside and saw that the
sun was up and shining, about 25 degrees above the horizon. I wanted
to locate the moon in the daytime sky, to get an idea of how long I'd
slept, so I drew a track with my eye from the horizon to the sun,
intending to follow it until I found the moon. When my eye reached the
part of the sky where the blue begins to disappear into the yellow-white
of the suns glare, I got dizzy, and my vision blurred, and I fell to my
hands and knees into a deep bank of pristine, white snow.
first I was completely astounded. Did it snow again, while I was
asleep? I looked up, and the landscape before me was like that of those
terraced mountains in China, where they grow rice. You know the kind?
Those terraces, like a bunch of flat surfaces, stacked on top of each
other, gradually diminishing with height? It was like that, except
instead of watery rice paddies, the surfaces were earthy and rich,
interspersed with patches of green plant life and white snow banks. I
was on my knees and up to my elbows in one of those banks.
started to crawl forward, 'chuffing' - I know that isn't even a word,
but the sound of it is right - my way forward through that fine loose
powder. It was such a pleasure to do that, to chuff. Then I stood up
to survey my surroundings properly, and when I saw it all, how perfect
and beautiful the bright blue day was on this snowy earthen green
terrace on the back of this tremendous alive thing, spinning through
space and attached to that incredibly bright, god-like source hanging a
few degrees above the horizon, I thought to myself, it IS a dream
landscape! Just like the night light! I was so disappointed at first,
but it really IS!
I was joyful all over again, and then I
realized, that's why I'm so attracted to the night light, when it snows -
because it's like a dream. And that's what my life has been like so
often, for so long now. That dream feeling I get when I'm awake... like
a memory of long ago, which has become a dream... the feeling of that,
but right now, and enduring. That stagnant feeling of living in a
vague, past memory of a former life, forever. And now I'm dreaming it.
It's a forever kind of thing, comfortable and nasty.