Wednesday, October 11, 2006

into the woods

The dog runs ahead of me as the moonlight sprays down through the canopy of trees, theatrical lighting for this long past midnight walk in the woods that stretch from my back door and twist between the housing estates, the schools, and the football ground.

Sleep never comes easy. No, I misspeak. Sleep never comes easy in the dark. I can sleep anywhere if the sun is resting on me. Daylight is safety. Daylight washes out the ghosts.

Nights are for fighting. Nights are for war. Nights are for being ready to run. Even though that is all so very long ago. In the night the theatre is beyond my control. The actors push in from stage left and stage right. They flare in the footlights. They rip across the proscenium of my dreams and force me to climb for the exit of awakeness.

The dog runs ahead of me as the moonlight sprays down through the canopy of trees. She had not wanted to get up but once outside the deeper smells of this moonlit forest pull her along. And I follow behind, trading floodlight for shadow and back as I go. "When I move through the darkness I have more power." I say this over and over until we have reached the playfields. Now the moon is there in full. Now the pressure releases. Just enough. The dog circles, once, twice, three times. We lie down together in the damp grass, this old dog and I, and our breathing slows. And for a few minutes, we sleep.

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Copyright 2006 by Ira Socol
photograph from desultorybutterfly

1 comment:

Brenda said...

What a gripping metaphor - nightime, dreams, as theatre. I've never thought of the strange images of the night that way. That whole paragraph is beautifully written... "Nights are for..." and the actors, and the "flare in the footlights," but my favourite is how "They rip across the proscenium of my dreams." Don't know why, the ghosts, tripping through the woods at night, finding a magical place to lie down, you and your dog, and sleep momentarily, reminds me of Shakespeare, somehow that sort of approach (rather than, say, a Godot, or a Kafka), which I think works really well in this piece. Moonlight shines everywhere in it.