Wait five minutes

4:30 AM

I awaken in my tent. Oh, perhaps ‘awaken’ is not completely accurate, for I have been restless all night. Perhaps it was the 7pm turn-in time, when the unrelenting elements left no recourse but to climb inside the relative warmth of tent and sleeping sack, which offered at least some semblance of comfort to my shivering body.  I have awakened warm at last, my clothes completely dried by the heat of my body inside the mummy bag, drawn tight around my shoulders and face.  The deep – bone-deep – chills have yielded to the indescribably luscious feeling of heat emanating from inside of me. The one-more-layer combined with the camp pillow placed as a baffle atop my chest must’ve been all I needed.

I awaken in my tent. It is astoundlingly quiet. Still. I listen for a full minute, then another. No tempest. No wind. No rain….other than the occasional drip, which I quickly realize is coming from inside the tent.  I zip open the window flap to let out some of the condensation, expecting a rush of cold air, hoping to see a slice of sky, but all is blackness -too thick for my eyes to penetrate with their light reflecting mirrors, too thick to discern inside from out.  I’m curious, I want to see what’s out there…but I don’t want to be cold again.

I awaken in my tent, and I realize it is as much the restlessness of my psyche that has me fully awake as it is restlessness of my body from lying prone in this sleeping bag for the last 9 hours. The words in my journal as I succumbed to weariness last evening attest to this truth – all has not been well with my soul. I have had to face the wilderness within …. fears of woeful inadequacy and stark aloneness…. that have had little to do with the elements without.   Oh, but perhaps they have, for it is true that the unrelenting elements have mirrored my internal environment providing the perfect atmosphere for my inner sense of vulnerability, exposure, powerlessness to be revealed. ‘Surrender’ has been swirling in my psyche, dancing me like a dervish.  ‘Let go’.  ‘Follow me’, it has alternately whispered, then howled, in my ear.

I awakened in my tent 2 nights ago with a howl of my own.  A nightmare…a rapist inside my tent…. forcing himself upon me…. pushing him away… ‘get off!!’….crying for help… until finally I found my voice and screamed, an Hitchcockian belt, which awakened everyone else in their tent.  We made light of it the next morning, in a sympathetic and knowing way, but I knew, beneath the surface light, what the dream was expressing. I was feeling oppressed, feeling a loss of respect, feeling silenced, losing my sense of self-value, losing my voice… and I knew it was something in me that was doing this to me. Something in me that desired to conquer me, not love me. To be in control of outcome, not trust in goodness… my own and the Other’s.  Something in me that was resisting the surrender to Love, that needed  to force it, that believed I needed to make Love happen….to make God show up!

I awaken in my tent, and of course now that I am awake, ‘nature’s call’ beckons me from the warmth of sleeping sac and tent. The wiggle and squeeze is no longer working to hold it at bay and so I unzip my bag, slip my feet into the plastic Ziploc bags that offer dry heat inside of soaked boots and make my way to a nearby tree.  As I am squatting there I lift my face to sky and am greeted by a thousand-million light-bearing bodies.

‘Wait five minutes’ has been our mantra on this trip. Just when you think you know what the weather will be, ‘wait five minutes’ and it will have become something else.

4:35 am

I leave my tent to drag my sleeping bag and my pad to the shoreline, out beyond the canopy of trees. I lie down on my back and let myself be poured upon by the darkness and the light in the same way I felt the ancient gray clouds hovering over me as I lay back in the water 2 days ago.  Fall on me.  And they do fall…. 6, 7, 8…. falling stars, letting go, raining blessing. The barred owl joins the song, there along the shoreline of Farm Lake, at 4:35 am. In five minutes time the night has turned from miserable to magical and I have nothing to do with it at all.

But I do. I show up, lie down, receive, witness, behold.  Surrender. My eyes open to see.  Beauty is everywhere.  I need not make it happen at all. Suddenly all of my fears of inadequacy and unworthiness are released in a moment of grace and I am enough.

The others gradually rise, mill about, and gather near the water’s edge, opposite the foggy mist that has gathered on the far side of the lake, remnants of the tempest that toyed with us last evening, drawn to the beauty of the dawning. The sun makes her spectacular, breathtaking appearance, rising, glowing through the remnants, causing each and every one of us to bow down in some part of ourselves in reverence and awe, in communion after the night we had just shared.  Stillness falls spontaneously on our motley crew, silence follows and then deepens. It is, of course, we who have turned our faces toward Her.

We have been blessed.

I awakened in my tent.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bruce Druckenmiller
    Sep 22, 2010 @ 14:31:23

    WOW! Thanks so much for sharing. What a powerful message…you certainly have a gift for writing.



  2. Anna Pruett
    Sep 23, 2010 @ 08:49:29

    Wait Five Minutes took me back to our week together in the Wilderness. I am grateful that one of us has the heart and the giftedness to articulate our experience. Thank you dear one, you are loved.



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