Upon Awakening on a Weekday Morning at Three-Years-Old

Ama Reynolds, USA

Ama lives two minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. A professional copywriter by day, she is currently working on a memoir, as well as a poetry collection.

(Submitted by the author)

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. - T. S. Eliot.

For once, I was quiet. I walked through the house of hardwood floors and white walls and stacked newspapers until I reached the heavy front door. Mom and Dad and my older brother, Joshu, were still sleeping. The rooms were shadowy, heavy with sleep and the hum of easy, deep breathing. Dust swirled through thin slats of light coming in between drawn curtains. I stood at my front door, naked but for my pink quilted satin robe buttoned at my neck. Soft belly poking out and legs straight, I thrillingly released the dead-bolt lock, turned the smooth weight of the brass knob and opened the front door up to the outside.

I was three-years-old. No human is more alive before or since that age, I think. Consciousness blown open, wonder rising daily like the sun, magic roaring through the mind at the speed of light. Life blooms at three-years-old, and all of life is new, all of life goes moment by single moment. Not a thing but that moment.

I had awoken from one of those dreams I still remember. Floating pearls and trees racing past the back seat car window. These images would come up years later in real life, would replay themselves in digital clarity while I was wide awake and in the middle of something else, acting with purpose, at some point on the continuous swell of duty that makes up an adult life.

When I was three-years-old this image almost always came across my dreams just before I woke up, and in fourth grade - all the way across the country from Berkeley, California, to Norman, Oklahoma, to Saint Augustine, Florida - this experience would come back to me, beginning a still-continuing reel of my waking life catching up to the predictions of my dreams.

This reel of dreamy visions, I think, will stay with me when most of my consciousness has fallen away, when I am turning from full matter to pure soul, when my body says goodbye to this world, wherever, whenever, and however that may be. It all began at three-years-old.

So in Berkeley I had easily slipped from sleep into wide-eyed waking life and decided with my feet to go for a nice walk, alone. The morning was pink and orange with sunrise riding the grey of rolling fog. And it was cool and wet outside, and the street was wide and busy with the endless roll of cars, the flickering of traffic lights. I remember that our porch was narrow and painted grey. We had green plants in thin terracotta pots hanging from the ceiling, sitting on the white sill of the porch’s wide rail. And I walked forward, happy with the cold cement of the wet sidewalk.

To my left, the busy street. To my right, a long row of shining, quiet homes - yellow and blue and white with paint, red and green with gardens and climbing honeysuckle against wrought-iron fences. I walked with purpose, watching the day moving past me all around me, serene, separate still, from all of that.

I walked until I reached the first street corner. I remember buses roaring past. I remember the coal-black smoke of exhaust, horns honking and trailing, cars stopping at the cross-walk, tires against the grey of the street’s pavement - all in the direct line of my vision, brightness and the day on my tongue, between my fat smooth freckled cheek and the tiny hand against it.

I sat down - purposeful in this first solitary witness to the world - and watched the cars go by, watched people crossing the street. Adults would eye me with concern and I looked precociously back at them. I knew how to take care of myself right then. I knew not to run into the traffic, not to walk away with strangers. “This,” I thought to myself, “is life.” I swear I did. “I am watching life,” three-year-old me said to herself, of this I am certain. My first eagle-eyed observation, one that would continue for the rest of my life.

I was satisfied and happy in the now fully bright morning when two tall police officers bemusedly asked me what I was doing. I did not want to share this solitary experience with them. I did not want to tell them.

“I’m just watching the cars,” I told them, thinking they would leave me alone after such a strong and honestly dismissive statement. But they didn’t. They asked me where I lived. Instinctively, I thought I was in trouble, that the police should not find out where I lived. But the men looked at me with sweet faces and asked me to point toward the direction of my house. So I did and I followed them.

As we walked, the men kept asking me which house was mine. I still wouldn’t tell them and kept hoping they would at last leave me alone.

“I’m fine,” I said over and over again. “I know where I’m going.”

But they stayed with me all the way to the white house with black shutters, watched me race toward it, my pink robe flying bright, falling with the wind.

I opened the unlocked front door and found the house heavy and quiet as I had left it, counting my breaths until the rhythm matched the slow and deep-dreaming breaths of my still-sleeping family.

All of this is, of course, memory. My family indeed was awake, waiting for me. The police knocked on the door and I rushed to my mother and father’s waiting arms. But I hadn’t been afraid; I had woken up. And I still believe that morning was a shifting point, a catalyst, an awakening.

I still believe I’d never been more alive before or since that day. I still believe that morning to have been the moment my stories began, the moment my eye caught the light, the moment I began to never stop watching what is so huge and so small all at once, the moment I never stopped saying to myself in various ways, “This is life. I am watching life.”

Image credit: http://www.be-virtual-assistant-wise.com/image-files/child-road.jpg

Comments

10 comments

Submitted by home remodeling on Thu, 02/17/2011 - 16:55.

I've been searching in google for some new ideas and occasionally found your artoflivingguide.org website.
Big thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about info and I love to learn more on this. If possible, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is so helpful for me.

Submitted by Claire Terry on Fri, 02/18/2011 - 18:59.

You are very welcome and we're really glad it's helpful - that's what we hope for! The site is updated with about 5 new articles a week - so just come back to check! (If you have anything which you'd like to suggest to publish, please also let us know.)

Submitted by Denise Tsentas on Thu, 01/27/2011 - 21:19.

I love the last paragraph the most, Ama.

Submitted by MarMar on Sat, 09/11/2010 - 03:52.

What a delicious treat ... I finally read this beautiful piece tonite ... what a gift, for you, for me, us, the world!
Thank you and I want more!
love MarMar

Submitted by Jennifer Nix on Thu, 09/09/2010 - 19:37.

Beautifully written. I love the overall feeling of being part in a dream and part in reality. I wish my memory could reach that far back, but it doesn't. I was able to feel my little girl while I was reading this ... thank you for introducing me to her.

Submitted by Rachel Wise on Tue, 09/07/2010 - 23:19.

Thank you for opening my eyes to wonder and to wander. :)

Submitted by tricia booker on Tue, 09/07/2010 - 16:23.

What a beautiful way to jump-start my week! Thanks for reminding me of how wonder is born in all of us.

Submitted by Glenda Bailey-Mershon on Tue, 09/07/2010 - 15:23.

What a wonderfully wide-eyed view on life!

Submitted by William Hinson on Tue, 09/07/2010 - 15:22.

I love this! I can see you, little Ama, fearless in your pink quilted satin robe, letting the wonders of this life open your eyes to so many possibilities!

Submitted by Jess Wilson on Tue, 09/07/2010 - 14:46.

Beautiful!

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