Two in the Morning

At two in the morning, I awakened from a dream. Working alone on his hands and knees, my father was planting seedlings on a barren slope, a bleached patch of earth that had been forsaken and ignored. Because the ground was so dry and hard, he was using a short-handled pick to make holes for the tiny trees. He was in pain, but he wore a proud, determined, satisfied expression.

When he was done, there were about a dozen seedlings in all. Then, before we could say a word, we were magically transported forward a year in time. A few of the trees were struggling, but most were thriving, and had grown into coniferous bushes about three feet tall. It was the humble beginning of a new forest.

In a room at the other end of the house, our eighteen-year-old son was playing his guitar and harmonica and singing. For the next ten minutes, I listened as he played a song by Bob Dylan called �Desolation Row.� Earlier in the evening, I had mentioned to him that it sounded like it was time to replace the strings on his guitar, and he had agreed. He plays so much, the strings need to be replaced every few weeks. Now, at ten minutes after two in the morning, the need was gently magnified by the dark.

At almost three, I was still awake when the music stopped and I heard our son lean his guitar against the wall in his room.

Before I fell asleep again, I thought about my father�s forest, and how it was growing. Since the image was so brief and clear, I wondered what it might represent. It took only a few moments to recognize the similarity between my father�s dream-work and my
own � and our son�s, and that of his mother and sister and brothers, and of all others
in this world who know and understand the beauty of work.

Sweet night, grant us rest beneath your blanket of stars.
When daylight comes, may the world find us ready.

February 1, 2006

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