It’s cloud illusions I recall, I really don’t know clouds…at all


Joni Mitchell. Moons and Junes and ferris wheels…what great lyrics. She moves from clouds, to love, to life and finds they’re all illusions. Songwriters can get away with that. So can poets. I tried.

According to An illusion is something that isn’t real. It may look real, but it’s actually fake — just a crafty construction or fantasy. There are other, more academic definitions, but I like this one. I spent many years trying to look real, or the version of real I wanted everyone to believe. I craftily constructed myself to align with my fantasy. It was hard work and the outside was forever at odds with the inside.

There was huge fear attached to the vulnerability of being known. Some early programming had to be dislodged before I could accept my true, gritty, unenhanced, self. But what freedom when that was finally possible! What ease. The illusion of life became real life. The illusion of love became deep, honest, true love. And the illusion of clouds…


Dance in the Bat Cave

I was on the platform, writing a poem. The night hung in inky stillness just beyond the perimeter of the house. All at once a bat skimmed within inches of my head. This, by itself, isn’t unusual. But what followed was. He streaked past, silvery, soundless, lightning-quick. But he didn’t leave. He circled the light hanging over the dining table. He looped through the bedrooms, out the opening above the bathroom wall, back through the front door, over the platform, under the platform, dizzying in his speed. I watched with horrified fascination, huddling crouched behind my computer screen.

Then there were two, flying in tandem, silver streaks, graceful, ghostly in the night. And then a third. They split up, like Blue Angels, performing an air show of astounding precision. Unnerved and outnumbered, I grabbed my notebooks and phone, scurrying to the bedroom where I could shut the door, lower the blind, and watch out of reach. As I was executing my mad dash, one of them passed at knee height, slicing the air in front of me. Heart thumping against my ribs, I bolted into the bedroom, fumbling to pull the door closed behind me. I threw my armload of stuff on the bed en route to the bathroom door and slammed it shut. Adrenalin surging, I sped across the room to the window with no glass. That morning I had methodically wound the rope that lifts the blinds a few extra turns around the post for good measure. I tore at the string for agonizing moments, certain that one of the flighty creatures would streak in and not find it’s way back out. The blind released.

Safe at last, I moved back to the door, opening it a crack. They were still there. I stood, watching the aerial ballet, transfixed. They knew where I was, of course, and they wanted me to know they knew. Their pattern shifted. One by one they skimmed past my nose which was pressed into the observation crack of the door. I don’t know how long it was, 20 minutes…30…but on and on they danced for me until there wasn’t a shred of doubt in my mind that this was a visitation. Someone bolder may have joined them. They seemed to want that. But I am not someone bolder.

Bing image

Bing image

Wouldn’t I love to know what that was about! Maybe my three daughters visited me in spirit last night. Maybe a series of three events will happen. During meditation this morning another thought occurred to me. I was entranced by the beauty of the bats in flight. There was no furry ugliness, no dark threat, just streaks of liquid silver pirouetting in the light. Perhaps fear is like that, posing as a black demon that incapacitates and renders helpless. But maybe, like the bats, there’s a different truth. If we find our way past the illusion, there may be a wild, silvery dance just beyond the fear.

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