Saturday, November 01, 2008

She should have been fathoms deep in sleep, but she roused early tonight. Fortunately, early for her means just at the end of a nightcap for me on this Halloween night. So I prepare a bottle and take it to her, and she feeds on it. Drinks the bottle nearly to the end, in fact.

But she has not been well lately, with weeks of congestion, an ear infection, and most definitely a longing for her mama who has been away traveling these past few weekends. So it is no great surprise to me - though none the less alarming - when she breaks from the bottle in heaving, phlegmy coughs.

My first reaction is to soothe her and to pat her back in a productive way. But another round of coughing seizes her. So I pat, and bounce, and try all the other learned routines I know of midnight feeding. I comfort her back to a heavy, warm (slightly feverish?) mass resting on my shoulder.

But the next round of coughs is so violent that I take her from my shoulder and turn her to look at me.

And for a fleeting moment she opens one eye and it meets mine, between coughing on her part and back-patting on mine. And in that instant I think I know what Melville saw in his deep sea divers. Just one glance communicates calm, acknowledges distess, and above all else makes me aware of am entirely different conciousness.

Perhaps we are all so otherworldly when we sleep, and perhaps babies even moreso. But the eye I saw gave me the sense that the mind it was attached to belonged somwhere fathoms away, even while connecting to me very intimately. It would not have been out of place on the side of a baleen head, lolling briefly above the surface just before diving down deeply again.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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