Places between worlds
I don’t often wake in the night and when I do, I wonder if it is something I am picking up from my grown-up children, both so very far away and in different time-zones.
In that place between worlds which broods in the depths of darkness, and that way of walking between worlds as we have in sleep, I have no doubt we connect with those we love more often and more easily. And they with us.
I remember many years ago living in Bombay, India, dreaming that my son, then about eighteen, was dying and somehow I was willing him to live and ‘holding’ him in life. Some hours later I phoned him and learned that at the time of my dream, he was surfing off the Australian coast and was dumped by a wave and was drowning until he managed to push himself to the surface.
Or do we float within the parts of ourselves in that dark cocoon of possibility and silence where fear and joy can appear, disappear and drift through shadows? Then again it might have been a dream.
The days are growing warmer in Malawi as the first damp breaths of humidity begin to creep around, sighing that the crawl toward the Wet Season has begun. Cicadas sing in echoed click and the birds seem more joyful than ever. They know the rains are coming. The time of washing clean the dust and grime of the dry days and more so after the burning season has been, when dry grass is burned black because they say, it brings fresh green shoots for stock to eat. But they do it in Africa, even in cities and where there is no animal grazing. Habits are hard to break.
This time of waiting for the rains is also one of those places between worlds where expectation sighs alongside and the heat increases until one begins to crave in desperation for the salvation of the healing rains. It is the way of the tropics and the sub-tropics and while I have never come to love such climates, I do know them intimately and appreciate them for what they are. I am at heart a dry climate person and perhaps that is because, as a Virgo, I need my boundaries defined in seasons as well as in other ways.
We are all different and in a way we live in worlds of our own making and worlds which have made us and we connect in the places in between, if we can. Living in different cultures allow practice for this but how much we master this living in the spaces between worlds depends, I believe, on our inherent natures.
The more fixed our boundaries the less we move and are moved by our environments. But then living in a different culture ensures that however fixed our boundaries may be as part of our nature, they must learn to bend and move and flex if we are to not just survive, but to thrive.
I have noticed here in Malawi that people often seem to enjoy the misfortune of others, particularly where the person has done some ‘wrong’ or possibly done some ‘wrong.’ It is as if there is great satisfaction in seeing them ‘brought low’ and perhaps there is, because in much of Africa, including here, there is a belief that good fortune means one is in league with the devil or evil forces, which suggests that ill fortune must be seen as positive.
Or perhaps when things go wrong for others they feel safe because there is only so much evil doing which can be done at any one time. Witchcraft has a deep hold on Africa and where it is combined, as it so often is, with the fanatical evangelical form of Christianity, there must indeed be much to fear.
Africa holds more places between worlds than perhaps anywhere else.