Dark Night; Morning

I woke before dawn this morning.  Too much on my mind.

Thinking of a friend who struggles with depression.  The joy, the savor has gone out of life.  She’s exhausted, but she can’t sleep.

Thinking of a friend who watches her mother struggle with depression.  And decline the joy my friend knows could be hers, were she to adopt an animal companion.

Thinking of a friend who writes of a mutual friend’s suicide.  A friend who shared our, his, love, so freely, in this case with cats.

“Thinking of” these sadnesses doesn’t do it for me.  “Feeling-for” these sadnesses?  Not it. “Feeling-in with.”  “Extending my imagination into empathy with.”


The 13th-century Persian poet Rumi writes about welcoming in life, no matter how it shows up.  “A joy, a depression, a meanness.”

Rumi is into ecstasy.  In a very big way.  “Inhibited” is not a word you’d put next to Rumi. Rumi advises welcoming even “a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture.”

A word, friend Rumi, if you please.  Do you mean “welcome” like the bunch of drunks the other July 4th night, setting off firecrackers thirty feet away from the house?  At 1:30 in the morning?  Like that?

So I’m groping for a way to say I “welcome” this “feeling-in-with” experience.  But not like “Dude!  Take a seat!  What’ll you have?”  More “welcome” like Mary Oliver in WILD GEESE.  The book falls open to the page.

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.”

And Mary goes on, swooping and soaring in an ecstacy I feel in the cells of my bones, the hair on the back of my neck rises with the sheer dizzying power of this grand imagination.  And then tears, when she brings it all home, in the end:

“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”

Oliver did a reading here not too long ago.  She told how WILD GEESE came into being.  She had assigned to a student an exercise:  Write a poem consisting of nothing but declarative sentences.  Then she herself sat down and wrote WILD GEESE.

An exercise.  A mere work-out.  Turned into a visitation.  An annunciation.

Mary ended the story by saying – in that spare, flat New England voice of hers –

“Gifts are given.”

This morning I was sitting by the window, in the pre-dawn gloaming, thinking of – feeling-in-with – sadness.

Bugs hopped up on the table and head-bumped me.

This fierce creature, the same one who, at the moment I write this, is peering at (threatening) my feet and hollering at the top of his lungs for his breakfast THIS MINUTE

Then, he head-bumped.

He then jumped up onto the new shelves – doubtless he had in mind that the only way I’d got him to do that, to date, was by bribing him for the camera with treats.  He then hopped back down, did some more head-bumping.

And then, when no treats were forthcoming, nipped my hand.


Life.  A mixed bag.

About nadbugs

Anita loves cats. This must be because she, too, has had nine lives. She’s been dancing since she could walk, she was a commercial artist and advertising producer, she earned a third-degree black belt in Aikido, she is a drummer with the Afrique Aya Dance Company, she is an attorney, and she’s a meditator and a devoted student of Nonviolent Communication. She also spent one lifetime sidelined with a devastating back injury in 1992. Since then – FELDENKRAIS METHOD® to the rescue. The FELDENKRAIS METHOD is all about dreaming concretely – thinking intelligently and independently by way of a gracious and kind physicality. The work affords all who study it a process by which to reach, with movement, into the mind and the heart, to make nine lives into one whole being.
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14 Responses to Dark Night; Morning

  1. Wazeau says:

    Thank you so much for this post. It was lovely and made tears of epathy come to my eyes. Now I’m going to read that poem again.

  2. Eleanor says:

    Wonderful poems, they’re really lovely. I liked your ending today; Life is, indeed, a mixed bag. And it’s always good when you finish with a big handsome Bugs shot.

  3. This is a great post, so much to digest, and so filled with emotion. I find that no matter how much my life sucks “in the moment,” a kitty head-bump can make it right again in a split second. I think I love kitty head-bumps more than anything on earth.

  4. Melanie says:

    I spent far too many years trying to keep out the “crowd of sorrows” that Hafiz mentions. I’ve only very recently discovered that it’s best to welcome them in, feel them, experience them, then process them and get them out again. So your post is, as they often are, timely!

    And yes, you would make a fortune if you could bottle kitty-head-bumps. It’s those moments that I truly have to wonder how anyone could survive this life without a cat by their side.

  5. typist for JhaJha, the Petite Panther says:

    I Took It as a Sign

    Someone sent a band to my house,
    And it started playing
    At five in the morning.

    I took this as a sign
    God wanted me to sing!

    Then the moon joined in
    And a few of the tenor-voiced stars,

    And the earth offered its lovely belly
    As a drum.

    Before I knew it,
    I realized
    All human beings could be happy

    If they just had a few music lessons
    From a Sweet Old Maestro
    Like Hafiz

    For you, loving-caring-sensitive-aware Anita, from my new chemist-poet love.
    He says it so nice someone else appreciates spiritual poetry and uses it in their daily lives. He hopes that someday the three of us can enjoy poetry together face to face, spirit to spirit.


    • nadbugs says:

      Wow! How wonderful is that? (a) To hear from you after all this time. (b) With such a fun poem. (c) To be enjoying your new sweetheart this way. (d) Imagining the time we could meet! Like I said! Wow!

  6. OK Cats says:

    Love the messages of your posts. And don’t you just love the headbutts? A simple acknowledgement from an aloof cat can almost always bring me out of any funk I may be in. Or at least make me feel a little bit better.

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