Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Alone in a Dream


Many times over the years, I have noticed that certain moments, even as they unfold, etch themselves upon the mind and enter immediately into the realm of memory:

Late one night in October 1982, when my brother and I were waiting at a cab station for a taxi to take us from Yerevan to Echmiadzin, the stars were so bright and the empty streets so sad, I felt I was part of an ancient dream. The 3,000-year-old Armenian city was home to more than a million people, but I felt more alone than I had ever been. As the moment washed over me, the loneliness was painful, but it also seemed eternal, sweet, and full of promise.

The taxi arrived. We sped off through the night — past the ruined cathedral of Zvartnots, past the massive fortress dome of St. Hrispime in the town of Echmiadzin and the crowded cemetery beyond, through scented poplar shadows to the iron gate of the monastery of Echmiadzin itself, where we were greeted by the white-haired, stubble-faced keeper, proudly waiting in his little stone room.

All the while, Mother Earth drifted silently among the stars — one side of her in shadow and the other facing the sun, the light of which streamed down far away upon the little house in the vineyard where my wife waited and our children played.

I went into my room with its old-fashioned wallpaper and its narrow bed neatly made, and was delighted once again to find the still-life arrangement of water pitcher and golden pears beckoning atop the little table near the window.

I closed the door and took off my shoes, then sat down to make some notes. Later, when I fell asleep, I wandered off into an even larger dream.

From Songs and Letters, originally published May 11, 2006.

Note: The links in the second paragraph were added for this publication.


Update:
In the Forum: chickens waiting in the drizzle for the tram.

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