The occasional laughter of ducks on Quart Pot is the only interruption to a deep starry night blazing over our house. The older one gets the less sleep one requires. Anyway, what is insomnia really? Am I sliding into a dream state or returning to the present ground of a sharp edged three a.m. nadir?
Dormiveglia or einschlafen, the passage in and out of sleep there is no word for it in English. My mind travels on unfettered journeys to obscure places. The forfeited, blurred land of the past. These are ‘mull-ments’, where life is a scree of rocks and pebbles swiftly slipping down a mountainside. Is this how we see it in our dying moments? A kinetic twirl of the kaleidoscope?
He sleeps still and gentle beside me, rarely a snore from the throat that’s scarred from the burns of radiation treatment. The sylphlike body that sustained so much weight loss. Despite where he’s been there is immunity to the hour of the wolf
I’m drifting in staccato hallucinations. I alight on something. Sunshine picks up a glitter of feldspar in a rock I have extracted from the mountainside scree…
The scenery unfolds along winding Edwardian carriageways lined with dark ominous conifers. Bhutan cypress and monkey puzzle trees planted when my grandmother wore button up boots. Carriageways branch into a labyrinth of serpentine paths punctuated with ornate finial topped gazebos, miniature sanctuaries of introspection. Deco white marble angels stare off into the distance. Shiny black marble graves inscribed with classical golden lettering, mirror silhouettes of trees.
The urgency of someone to meet in this eclectic, sombre, city of the dead. Despite the depth of its inhabitants’ repose it seemed to be a tacitly rowdy place. Burke and Wills, Sir Robert Menzies, and Sir Redmond Barry rest alongside Quakers and koories. I wander through a democracy of the dead in Melbourne General Cemetery.
Its rich brew of funereal motifs and convoluted timelines was a means to an end. An appointment to celebrate diverse landscape eras abiding in peace. Yes, I invited him to join me on this Saturday afternoon foray He was non-plussed. We were both mature age students re-educating ourselves in various ways. We knew it wasn’t all about landscape design and finishing our garden history assignments on time.
The outing has the simplicity of a picnic in a Little Golden Book. One Perfect Day! A graceful oak arching shade across the simple fare. The cloth with bread, apples, Camembert and two stubbies of Tooheys Old spread on a slightly lurching gravestone.
I am perceiving him with my third eye. From his lived in face shone clear blue eyes and a bemused curl at the corner of his mouth that said Yes! He’d kissed the blarney stone. I hoped he would kiss me.
Beyond this expression of his face’s history I sensed a peaceful demeanor, an indefinable steadfastness of no frills honesty. He knew who he was. It reinforced the feeling that intrigued me from our very first meeting, it was ‘like at first sight.’
I re-enter wakefulness to feel him drifting beside me through the rush and rubble of scree. Some stones are hard as we slowly roll over in bed; others glow with a kryptonite energy. We hover to our own nebulous toehold on the spectrum. Someplace between the births of the Indigo and crystal children, and the departure of all our beloved elders.
I walk on... along the serpentine pathways, there’s a smooth washed pebble in my hand, and it feels warm. It’s his hand. Are you awake? He asked me softly.