Don’t you just love that word? It’s so musical. It’s actually not an English word at all but Spanish slang for the early hours between midnight and dawn. The original title was actually completely different but it didn’t fit. To tell the absolute truth, nothing fit about the writing this summer. I went through my usual cyclical phase of Will I shut down this blog? Can I write? What’s the point? Who am in all of this? Is it time to leave Zany Mountain forever? But in the middle of all of these questions and fogginess and let’s face it, a crisis of confidence, one thing continued to happen. The stories kept coming, the lines kept forming, my poor battered journal still had the scribblings of some might call a mad woman-words would come and I would jot them-little ideas, notations, doodles, snippets of conversations. At this juncture I would like to seriously thank my writing pals who kept encouraging-“keep writing Kat, doesn’t need to be published, just KEEP writing!” -so I did, not matter how little it was -actually when stuck for paper and a phone one day I jotted down a lovely new word on the back of my hand-which I have actually tried to incorporate into this blog. Anyway, I usually write in the season as it were but not this time as while this piece of writing would not let me go, I also struggled with the post-so it is retrospectively set against the backdrop of what I call the Great Irish July Heatwave of 2021.
2.40 am. It’s a fitful night in mid July on the Meath border. There is not a breath or a rustle of a leaf-the heat is powerful. I’m not a heatwave person-I’m a mountain woman-more suited to mist and cold hewn rocks. Without any hope of sleep I decide to do what the experts tell you, get up. I grab a bottle of water and slip out the back. For a minute I sit and pause. It is a truly wondrous night. A golden, ionic calming full moon suspended over the suburban fences. Fairy lights twinkling across gardens and sheds. An inky, yet glowing night sky. Could you capture that particular shade of blue I muse ? Surely not, it’s designed by heaven itself. The air is thick and soupy- so dense you could nearly grab handfuls of it. Even in this moment of peace my heart faintly throbs with human anxiety. Do you learn to eventually live with anxiety I wonder or is it just the case for some people, it hums even at a low frequency always in the background?
The door creaks open and out softly pads Minnie. The small dog. Unlike her companion Harley who is bumbling and hapless in his eternal puppy affections, Minnie is more intuitive and considered in her love. She hops up on my lap, I stroke her fluffy head and run my hand down the length of her back. She looks at me, eyes half closed, content, sighing. I wonder about the geneaology of this breed of dog-the Shih Tzu. An ancient breed, bred by Tibetan monks for Emperors and royalty. I consider the nobility in Minnie’s line-it’s the elegant way she sits, walks, watches. A true little lion.
Our silent reverie is broken by a rustling on the lawn. I know by the speed and bumbling pace it is a hedgehog. I wonder how it got into our completely enclosed back garden -what little secret little tunnels and thriving kingdoms must exist between all our gardens for it to land at this spot? Is it the same hedgehog as the one out the front, who we have imaginatively christened Hedge? Minnie, normally becoming a true and very loud fierce lion at the hint of enemy outsider invasion, uncharecteristically is silent and watchful.
Then something extraordinary happens. The hedgehog joins us at my feet and stops and watches calmly. Suddenly it is just the three of us beings, looking at each other, human, canine and hedgehog. The earth stops spinning, the air thins, the anxiety stops throbbing-everything just feels as it should be on this earth right now in this gentle minute. And in a strange way, every thing and every feeling in the background disappears to nothing.
I shake my head and the momentary spell is broken. The hedgehog turns and coddiwomples off, MInnie gives a low growl, the smell of cigarette smoke wafts from a doorway nearby, the fairy lights burn bright again. A little over come, a tear slips down my cheek and I brush it away-“you’re so silly sometimes Kat” I admonish myself
I was thinking of this moment the following day. My knowledge of twentieth century psychologists is scant. I searched in my mind-was that momentary suspension what Freud called a nodal moment? No that as it turns out is something different. And then I came across Maslow in my quest to explain my experience. I think what happened was what he refers to as a moment of perfection, a peak experience as it were, where everything inexplicably falls into place or dissolves into the moment, where the Universe, all of it, seems truly in harmony, it’s hidden meanings revealed. Rare as these moments are, they do happen, and when they do they need not be understood, but cherished, to remain tucked in away in your soul forever.
I wonder why I cried after it happened. And then I thought to myself, “you’re not silly at all Kat”. For in this time of longing, loss, love and loneliness, in that Madrugada, I know what I felt.
It was peace.
Til next time mo chairde,
All my love and more