Posted by: M.C. | 13 February 2010

4:45 a.m. meditation

That’s when the call to meditation sounded, wrestling me reluctantly from my sleep.

While my wife rolled over in bed, I climbed from beneath the covers, slid my feet into my slippers, and made my way quietly to the kitchen. There I poured out the offering–8 ounces of organic cow’s milk in a plastic bottle–and slowly climbed the stairs. As I opened the door to the room at the top of the stairs, I could make out my meditation master, my diminutive spiritual adviser, standing at the near end of his crib holding on to the bars. He lifted his arms in welcome to me, and as I picked him up, he nestled his head against my shoulder. I  reached down to retrieve his stuffed monkey from the floor and return it to the crib, and I picked up his blanket to wrap around the two of us.

In a moment, we had settled into the rocking chair, spread the blanket across both of our laps, and he had his bottle in his mouth. I rocked him gently while he drank, and the silence settled around us. His nightlight glowed in the darkness. At first, I turned over in my mind the early hour and wondered if I would get any more sleep. I thought about the grading that faced me at work, the meetings and planning my new job would entail, my sleepiness, and when I might be able to get in a run for the day. But as time passed, I found each of those thoughts falling away one by one. I felt my son in my arms, his body settling against mine and he breathed easily between gulps of milk. Then I began to listen to my own breathing and heard it ease and grow deeper. I lost myself in the rock of the chair, warm air from the heater rushing up through the vent in the floor, the muscles of my legs moving us back and forth.

I thought about how quickly time was passing, even as I attended to it, how still this moment was. I thought about the joy of having my toddler to myself in this unhurried, quiet time. I could almost feel myself stepping out of time itself.

Then, without protest or comment, he handed his bottle to me. I took it from him and set it on the floor.

“Ready for sleepy sleep?” I asked.

“Ya,” he answered softly, and I lifted him to my shoulder again, stood, and placed him back in the crib, alongside the stuffed monkey. I settled in soundlessly when I covered him with the blanket, whispered “Night night,” and walked from the room. I traveled down the stairs and back to bed, pleased for his easily slipping back into sleep, but even more grateful for the frozen minutes with him.

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