John lay on his side in bed staring out the window of the trailer he called home. The window by the bed was a good one, better than the rest of the windows because there was more glass to see from. Each night, he rolled to his side, tugged on the window shade, listening to the familiar snap as the shade rolled up, watching the scenery of the trailer park reveal itself once again.
It was fall, now, and the scene was darker than it had been through the summer. He looked for the two stars that paralleled the power pole that stood sentinel some thirty feet from the window. There they were, at once familiar. John noted that the line of them, vertical as the pole, differed each time he looked out. It was earlier than usual, he thought, because the line of the two stars was no more than a foot from the line of the pole. Trees blocked most of the rest of the stars in the dark sky, but John knew that thee two stars were the lower part of the Big Dipper. He had watched them travel across the night sky many times, gauging the lateness of his sleep by the distance from the pole.
The familiar thought played in his consciousness – he imagined some early astronomer deciding that the stars rotated around the earth because of their movement with respect to his position. Funny, though, how those ancient mariners could plot a course across the dark oceans of time when they seemed to have had it all backwards – not knowing the earth was rotating, spinning, and the stars moved hardly at all. And what was steady in this ocean? What fixed point did they use to judge this silent movement? It could only be one thing – their own position with respect to the Universe - a position that was hurtling through space at a speed too great to fathom. What choice for reality, then, but to project their own velocity on the stars.
A breeze blew through the trees and through John’s window. The next star in the formation winked through the leaves between them, promising John that his truth was to unfold once again – the great circle of time and life would move across his sky as it had for many nights, now.
John liked the spot he had in the park. There were a lot of trees surrounding his small trailer, just as the trees in his youth had surrounded the playground that was the back yard of the house he had grown up in, a great house with great windows, where he had looked out at the great stars and wondered at them. In his childhood, John had never noticed them moving across the sky – not really. Sometimes they were here, then they would be there, but he hadn’t seemed to hold his attention on them long enough to see any linearity in their movements.
There had been such grand trees surrounding his childhood! The tallest was the weeping willow. It had grown as fast as he and his siblings, and still it was enormous, keeping relative greatness while most of the other trees had shrunk from the memory of them. The three apple trees along one edge of the yard marked the line of the neighbor’s property, but proved instead to be an invitation to come across the line. The first was the smallest of the three. John remembered this being the first tree that he had learned to climb, the lowest branches easy enough for a child to reach. The second tree kept its branches just a bit higher, requiring another birthday or two to pass before relenting the fruit of its branches. The branches were thicker and more tangled, too, requiring that he learn to twist and turn himself to remain aloft and at the same time not injure himself. The last tree was the tallest. The first branch could only be jumped at, hands and fingers slipping, not finding any grip, no hold to allow an impetuous youth access to its secrets. John’sa older brothers would smile down at him, laughing at his tiny fingers. John vowed never to give up, to be as great and tall as his brothers so high up in the tree. Later when he had managed to gain a grip and through determination and will, to heave his thin body up, to throw a leg over that first branch and then to right himself in the perch that he had so longed to attain, his heart had pounded, not from the effort, but from the achievement – he had redefined himself through sheer will and determination! Time had only aided John in this quest.
Now John stared from the window of his trailer, blinking at the stars, wishing that he might throw his leg over the lowest of them and climb up into that great dipper to look down on the world below, his heart pounding, eyes bright with his accomplishment.
John sighed and rolled away from the window onto his back. The bed was comfortable enough, and John had made it more comfortable, sleep more accessible with the addition of the memory-foam mattress. It remembered who he was, and he remembered its purpose. It was a symbiotic relationship that had supported many a dream. John wondered that he might dream of some great thing tonight, some wild story that made no sense until, at some future time, he would stop and realize with a sense of déjà vu that he was now living something that he had only previously dreamed!
John rolled over a quarter turn more and reached to turn on some music. He had fallen asleep to music as a child, the soft tunes distracting him from the aches of a growing body, helping him to forget the bruises from all the times his fingers had slipped from that first branch of the highest tree. He flopped on his back as the music unrolled in his senses, and the memory-foam gathered him into itself.
John closed his eyes, his awareness lost in the words of the song: “Waves are coming in; waves are coming in…. There is so much magnificence…near the ocean; waves are coming in, waves are comin’ in….”
The last thought that John held as he began to imagine a dream, was that the ocean just had to be God. There was no other meaning for him. God was rolling in on him as his body began to float, some great gentle hand supporting the last of his awareness of himself, soothing him, singing with the song of the Universe, remembering him to himself like some déjà vu that he might realize in some dream of tomorrow.