Early this morning, before reading what Sabine wrote in the face of her fear, I dreamed that my own prince on the white horse returned from death for Valentine's Day. The first sign of his return was that all my clothing which I was preparing to wash disappeared mysteriously from my hallway. The washing machine had disappeared, too. Then, I found two puzzling and cryptic unsigned notes written in pencil. They had been left side-by-side next to my front door. I recognized the handwriting. I said, "R is somewhere near." Then I heard voices chanting sweetly in Sanskrit. A seemingly endless line of men and women were arriving at my home. They were all dressed in flowing robes with stripes. Except for the fact that the stripes were horizontal, I was oddly reminded of the escaped prisoners in "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" When R had been receiving chemotherapy for lung cancer at the Palo Alto VA Hospital in late summer of 2001, he had watched that movie along with other veterans who were not at all well physically or emotionally. I can still see the laughter in his eyes as he told me how much he loved the movie! I searched for R's face among the line of chanting people and was overjoyed to find him not far from the front of the line. When he saw me, he smiled broadly and took my hand and, along with all the other men and women, we entered my house. My house turned out to be much larger than I thought it was. There was plenty of room for the vast group of people that R traveled with, so that they could all rest and talk and eat. It became apparent that some of the people still seemed to be stuck with the problems of living, but R appeared to be free of all that. I had never seen him so at peace with himself. I wanted to show him my mandalas, but I woke up before I could do that.
How about that? I woke up and laughed with joy.
From the very beginning of "O Brother, Where Art Thou":
“O Muse!Sing in me, and through me tell the storyOf that man skilled in all the ways of contending,A wanderer, harried for years on end …”
and soon after:
The second of the two Amaryllis blooms has opened this morning:
From my Valentine's Day blog post in 2010:
"When I drew the image above in January of 2008, using a laptop touchpad, it was three months before R died, and I was thinking about a story R told me in 2001.
His story was that late one night he went out walking down the hill in the direction of the ocean in Half Moon Bay, California. Before he reached the ocean, he noticed a horse standing in a pasture. After talking to the horse, he climbed over the fence and slowly and quietly approached the horse. He stood there talking to the horse at length, gaining its trust, and finally asked the horse if it would be okay for him to climb onto its back. The horse allowed him to do that. He told me that he took off his belt and was able to use it as a makeshift bridle.
At that point in his story he stopped to explain to me that although he had not known how to ride a horse at the time we went riding together in 1970, he had learned later. At the time when we had rented the two horses and rode on the bluffs at Half Moon Bay, I had about four years of experience riding horses.
Continuing with his story, he told me that he rode the horse around the pasture for a little while and then opened the gate to the pasture and rode out into the night. He said that they went through the neighborhoods, out along the bluffs and then down to the long sandy beach. He said that they wandered for a good part of that night, and then they returned to the pasture where he left the horse and went home and went to sleep.
He ended the story by saying, "When I went back the next day to see the horse, it was gone. I never saw the horse again. It was a magical night."
In January of 2008, remembering R's story, I pictured that magical horse coming to him at night, coming to the bed where, depressed and anxious, he tried to sleep in the stroke rehabilitation unit at the V.A. hospital in Palo Alto. R was blind in one eye, unable to speak, breathing with the help of a tracheostomy tube, having difficulty swallowing and requiring tube feeding, and only able to walk with great effort. I pictured the horse talking to R, asking him if he would like to leave the hospital for a night ride. When R said, "Yes," the horse lowered itself down so that R could pull himself over onto its back. Once R was on the horse's back, he found that he had the energy he had had as a boy and that he was no longer in the hospital room but out on the hospital grounds. By the light of the full moon, accompanied by a single bird, he and the horse went out to the coast. They returned before dawn. R felt a peace of mind and heart that he had not felt since he was a boy. He asked for an easel and began to paint again."