The November north wind sneaks through the night, rattling the wind chimes, thrashing the trees, and tossing the plastic chairs all over the top floor terrace, dragging me out of a much anticipated stay-in-bed-‘till-whenever Sunday morning slumber. As my eyes adjust to the darkness, the remnants of the night outside our window reveal the dim shape of our Ficus trees waltzing wildly in the yard.
I always dreamed of having big, tall, strong trees in our yard, with branches that would support my weight if I ever decided to climb them. When we got them, they were barely two little twigs, skinny and shy, not even two feet tall. Though stronger and more mature now, they may not be ready for a climber like me, but the promise is there.
They have survived a good share of traumas. Not even a year after they were planted, realizing that our new home design called for a deck that would deprive them of sunlight, we transplanted them. For almost twelve months after that, they put up quietly with the constant harassment of construction workers, debris and a perpetual film of cement dust. And when life had recovered some normalcy, in a matter of four months, our invincible Ficus trees endured the onslaught of two hurricanes that uprooted and twirled them around the yard, leaving them weak, vulnerable and naked.
Now, as I watch their tough limbs flailing outside the window of our bedroom on the second story of our home, I count my blessings, for I always get what I wish for—the magic of my extraordinary life! It is that realization that propels me out of bed, closely followed by our I-am-convinced-I-am-a-giant Chihuahua-Terrier-mix dog, Smoky.
After “pushing the button,” action code for starting the coffee machine, I peek through the kitchen window and marvel at the stillness that envelops the neighborhood. Despite the commotion caused by the wind, it sleeps, lulled by the uproar, seemingly undisturbed by it.
Getting back in bed, Smoky and I cuddle up to my husband, agreeing to make the moment last a little longer without uttering a word (or a bark). I can feel the Presence—love, peace, joy, contentment—as I caress the moon tresses on my beloved’s temple and doze off.
Half an hour later the sound of a downpour pulls us back from the land of Morpheus, changing the plans of what I had envisioned to be a crisp sunny day of yard work and play. Hot coffee in bed seems to be the order of the day.
We get up, feed Smoky, and serve our coffee, his with whole milk and sugar, mine with soy milk, honey, vanilla, ginger and cinnamon. Once back in bed, coffee in hand, we watch the rain tame the wind. The sacredness of the moment does not escape me.
I mention this to my husband, who gives me a Martian look and says: “What about it?” “Do you perceive it?” I ask. “What,” he says again, as if I asked a trick question. I smile to myself knowing that he does not perceive the moment as I do. “I bet you are thinking about one-piece plastic buckles and PVC fin straps.” Smiling back he says: “As a matter of fact, I am.”
While I am hooked on the aspects of Spirit, he is hooked on the aspects of our business. Like day and night, so different and yet so connected. There could not be one without the other.
“Doesn’t it amaze you that I know exactly what you are thinking?”
“Yeah,” he says.
“That should keep you on your toes.”
“Uhum.” And we laugh, rejoicing in the intimacy of what is not said.
When I get up to grab my notebook and a pen, he gets up and grabs the T.V. remote control. I say, “No, no T.V., I am writing.” And he puts the remote down, serves himself another cup of coffee and comes back to bed, where he sips his coffee quietly, keeping me company while I scribble and scramble to record this very moment.
Later, as the hands on the clock drag the morning light through the trees, I put down my writing tools, and we snuggle down to watch a worn-out rerun of one of his favorite gun-toting, blood-gushing movies—his sacred moment.
The sacred moment lies not in where we are, what we are doing, or whom we are with, but in being aware and present in it!