A Room With Many Doors


Itís only seven-thirty, and Iíve already had a nap. It wasnít my intention. I fell asleep on the old loveseat in the next room just after I finished my first cup of coffee. About fifteen minutes later, I awoke from a dream that evaporated as soon as I opened my eyes and remembered where I was. My mouth was partly open. I felt as if Iíd been away somewhere. I half-expected to find my mother looking at me from across the room. Her bedroom light was on earlier, before dawn. I saw it from the end of the hall, shining under her door. She was up. I could hear her moving about the room. Then the light went off.

I sat down to work. As my mind drifted from thought to thought, I wrote several disconnected sentences, then discarded them. I read a letter from my nephew. I thought about Walt Whitman, then about Woody Guthrie, and about how hard it is to picture Woody without his guitar. I was certain it meant something important. A man with a guitar, restless, driven, forever on the road, playing and singing what he sees and hears, a witness to his time. Isnít that what life is for?

I discarded a few more sentences and watched my mind as it wandered further and further afield. Somehow, everything had become slippery and smooth, light, distant, elusive as mist. I was almost asleep. My fingers were resting on the keys. I knew it, but didnít know it. I cared, but didnít care.

Finally, I got up, took my coffee to the loveseat, sat down, and let my head rest against the back cushion. Within seconds, I felt the muscles in my legs begin to relax. As the tension drained out through my toes, it left a warm puddle on the floor. With my last remaining strength, I raised my cup, finished the coffee, and set the cup on the table beside me. There was no need to close my eyes. They closed themselves. I felt I was floating on air.

Welcome home.
Youíve been away so long.
Where have you been?
We missed you.

The other side of the mountain.
At the edge of a far-off shore.
On a train with ghostly riders.
In a room with many doors.

September 9, 2006







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