Blackberries in the Dream House

Chapter 46: The Bridge between Night and Morning

Sometimes I think the moon is a silver bowl with God in the middle and flying fish swimming all around. Maybe that's the truth about what some people call falling stars. They actually aren't falling - they're flying. Maybe they'd look like fish swimming through the sky if you could see them from the moon. Or from the back of one of the other fish.

I know, I dreamed about one of these fish last night and took a ride on a wide arc through the sky. The fish are what some of the Buddhists call bodhisattvas - saints who have received a spiritual illumination but come back here to help other people see it too. These people don't have to be born, but they come back out of compassion for the rest of us, lit up from inside. They become teachers or quiet saints who live around the corner and never claim to be different from anyone else. The only difference is that inside, they know something that the rest of us are trying to find. But in between lives, when they are out of their bodies, they fly around the sky inside of stars. Even people who don't know this make wishes when they see them burning their path of fire through the sky.

I know that it is possible to speak to God face to face, but how? Everyone has to find her own way. Maybe at night when I am flying between the stars, I can find a bridge to cross over and meet him on the other side. Or maybe build my own bridge on a path of sculpted wood over a koi pond. I want to build my bridge out of wood I find in the forest or on a mountain. I want the bridge to twist and bend in unexpected directions, the way life does. That feels realistic to me. And I want to plant flowers in unexpected places. Jasmine, lilies and hibiscus.

What I like best about flowers is their unexpected beauty. A gentle surprise, like the strong arms of a lover. I always forget in between. My memory for touch or beauty can keep me in another world for three days. Like the scent of a yellow rose. But then the vision fades, and I need to be reminded again.

Loving Kenji is like walking across a bridge made of sand. Or flying stars. I walk across his back, but it has become a constellation of asteroids, lost in the Milky Way, or stones in a Japanese rock garden. We swim all night and then he disappears. In the morning I am naked, covered with sand.

Anyhow, here is my plan for meeting God. I build my bridge of twigs and logs over the koi pond, but the pond gets bigger and bigger every night. I gather wood for the bridge from different places in time - the forest, the mountains, the edge of the river, my memories, and my dreams. The bridge is a bird's nest, but in a different shape. I put it together like a nightingale gathering twigs and string and bits of silver. I carry the pieces through time with my mouth, and after midnight I shape the pieces into a web of living sculpture. But still, it's a spell created out of mud. It's a bird's nest, and it exists out of time.

The twigs are artifacts of time, but I can walk across them. I am a sculptor, and everything I create with my hands becomes real. I am a nightingale, and this is the way I create the shape of my world.

I gather the moonlight in a silver bowl and pour it over my hair. I am a room full of light and shadows. I am a night with the breeze blowing wisteria and hibiscus through the open window. I am a night traveler on a bridge I built with my hands. I carry my brushes and rice paper as I walk, and I leave the sumi-e shapes of my journey everywhere the bridge unexpectedly turns.

Now I am walking across the bridge I have built, which is also the bridge between night and morning. I'm dancing, wild with moonlight in my hair. My skin is breathing hibiscus. Suddenly, there is an earthquake. This happens in Japan. The bridge completely dissolves, becomes sand, becomes waves, and I meet God underwater.