As if arising from the echoing darkness of metal gutter pipes, a sudden din of raucous crows resounds along streets and off of fences. A cat creeps, hoping to go unseen. The birds have spotted her and sound the alarm. Gulls join the bedlam and shriek in exaltation. Then all is silence; the panic subsides.
I step into an exhilarating quiet blanketing my still-sleeping town, outside where I feel the breath of cool dawn air. It is damp out here, but arid of bustle and distraction. It is a world into which my dreams stretch, transfiguring time and space.
The crows croak to their cohorts to make way for me. They are tricksters with eyes in both worlds, dark feathers rustling like silk. My mind lingers in the fourth dimension of altered mind where color and shape become emotion and spirit. I am a marionette, a spirit doll, jerky and then smooth. I walk and notice my walking. It pleases me to stride like this.
I think: Don't think; feel.
I am unsullied by weariness or disappointment. I am an instinctive creature, a prowling cat myself, a tree, a gust of air, not yet mere human. I am moving quietly, I am loose, light, still softened by sleep. My eyes see, my spirit feels, my body follows its own rhythms, walking. I am in a sleeping town that will awaken and then change the way I can move and see, ensnare me in humanness. I have time in which to breathe and move. I still inhabit the in-between spaces where dreams prevail and the sternly vigorous demands of the working day are as yet unprovoked.
With sleep so recently upon me, where I walk and how I feel is unguided but seems intentional. It's as if I can juxtapose awareness on a dream or see things from the inside out, feel them and know them in an altered way that gives me access to their substance, as if I am living sensually in absolute terms. Nothing but my senses - no recall of nagging requirements or limitations - propels me. I am free to wander aimlessly, compelled to move by feelings of curiosity alone, and it seems akin to sanctuary. I play here, in this way, free of talk and interpretive words.
I want to learn anew what I have always looked at and perhaps not seen. The day wants, I imagine, its many parts to be peeled away and reassembled. The sky is clear, the sun is naked, and there are intense shadows. Backlit petals are tiny flames. Colors have odors, textures have sound, and sounds have flavors. They blend and blur into an illogical melange. A flower blushes, a leaf seduces, a tree groans and its roots coil deeper into the darkness of deep earth.
Simplicity of intention allows me to enter and live in that loosely held, time-unbound existence of creative mind/automatic body. There, I imagine; I create; I think and love and feel and live. I am alive. I am more myself in this state of unawareness and altered mind than any other. I feel renewed, transformed in some undefinable way. This is what I seek at dawn.
This in-between condition feels as essential to me as breathing water is for a fish. Deliberate introversion in the quiet stillness of sensual existence is my air; it is my creative medium. I cannot be alive without it.
Causes Christine Bottaro Supports
The Nature Conservancy, California State Parks, The United Way