Grey Eagle

MY SHADOW WORLD

I lay sleeping a peaceful sleep. My dreams are pleasant, my breathing even. As I sleep, I feel rather than see the gray shadows that slip into my minds on little cats feet, unheard but present; dark malevolent forms that cause my breathing to quicken and my muscles to tense. Even in sleep I’m alert to the slightest sound, the slightest changes in the shadows.

How many times have my nights been like this both in the before and now; how many times have I waited for the shadows to come? How many times must I hear the whomp of the mortars as they leave the tube, how many more times must I hear the crash of those mortars and the cries of agony afterwards? How many times must listen for the click of a rifle or the chatter of the automatic weapons fire?

I tense and I am ready; all senses attuned to the sounds, smells and feel of my jungle home, my ears straining for the slightest sound, my eyes searching for the slightest variation in the shadows. My nostrils flare to gather the slightest smell that does not belong; I have become my forefathers.

I see a shadow moving towards me in the dim light; I hear voices in a language that, in my dream, make no sense. The voices separate and the shadow comes toward me; I step back into the foliage and let the shadow pass, as the shadow passes. I reach out from my own shadows and put my hand across the mouth of this shadow and pull him into my shadow world. As I prepare to kill this shadow, I look into a pair of eyes that hold no malice but rather terror and the certain knowledge of what is going to happen. As I look into these eyes, I think to myself: I have done this before to this very same man, and as I prepare to silence him again, I wonder how many more times we must meet in the shadows before we can both find peace.

This time is different though; as I prepare to do what I have to do, I hear a dim voice calling my name. I hear a voice that is as soft and sweet as an angel’s; her words are melodic and comforting and somehow begin to break the spell of my shadow world.

I feel a touch as light as an angel’s feather on my arm and the touch reassures me and I feel the dark shadows retreating and my mind leaves this terrible but oh so familiar place.

I open my eyes to find myself looking into the soft brown eyes of my wife who is crying and saying, “It’s all right… you’re home… you’re safe and you don’t have to be afraid anymore…”

As I look into her eyes, I see fear, not fear of me, but rather fear for me as she wonders how much longer and how many more times must I pay my price… as she wonders how much more can I endure.

She touches my lips with her fingertips; she wipes the sweat from my face and brow; she brushes her lips over mine and says quite simply and yet with her entire being, “I love you.”

Once again this magnificent woman has brought me back from the shadow world of my mind with just a simple touch, by the sound of her voice and by saying three little words; she has once again made my world safe and secure and has forced the shadows to retreat, even if only for a little while.

Once again I am stunned at the power that her voice. Her touch and her love holds. Once again my dreams are peaceful as she hold me tight against the dark foreboding shadows of my mind. As I drift off to sleep again, I hear the voice of my angel say again, “SLEEP MY LOVE, I AM HER; I LOVE YOU.”