Walk me out in the morning dew today ...
The Grateful Dead, 'Morning Dew', 1967
At the end of March, 1986 I was wrung out from a long winter of navel gazing and deep thought. I had dug deep into myself to try to unpack all my inner world and now felt like an empty house on moving day with all the furniture on the sidewalk. I was tired of introspection and needed to be with people, but I also had all the contents of myself unpacked, so I found it hard to talk to people. It was like having friends come over for a home-cooked meal on moving day; there is no way to make it happen because you can't find the pieces you need to bring it together.
I had heard about a party on campus at UNH that evening, and so I rode the Karivan from Portsmouth to Durham. It was starting to warm up a bit, but I was still feeling dark. I was wearing dark clothing too; jeans, a dark shirt and a jean jacket. I felt dark and tried to get out of that funk, but it was no use. I was a dark guy in a dark place and so I rode into town in a dark mood.
I never actually found the party, so it was partly disappointing, but partly a relief. I walked around Durham, glad to be out of Portsmouth for a little while and glad to feel the Winter beginning to give way to Spring. It was getting late, so rather than catch the bus I went looking for a friend that I had from working in the market the previous Fall. She would sometimes let me sleep on her floor when we worked late and had to be back in the morning. I went to her room, but she wasn't home and I let myself in (she'd given me permission) and went to bed, deep in my funk and resigned to be that way.
I don't remember dreaming about anything specific that night, but before I opened my eyes I knew that something was amiss. I remembered right away where I was, but there was something very different from when I went to bed and I was filled with an apprehension. It was as if I had gone to sleep in one place and woken up some place completely different and unexpected. It was sunny and bright out, but I'd seen plenty of winter sunshine, so that wasn't it. I looked at my dark clothes laying on the floor next to the bed and they looked foreign to me, almost as if they were not mine. I sat up in bed and felt a strange sensation that was familiar, but something out of the distant past.
I finally realized that it was lightness.
I don't know what happened, how it happened, or why it happened, but on that morning I felt like Ebenezer Scrooge awakening after a night with the Spirits. Nothing had changed in my world, but something deep and fundamental felt like it had changed within me, which made everything look completely different.
I got dressed in the strange dark clothes and caught the bus home in glorious sunshine. I smiled all the way and once again felt like that person that wanted to talk to people on the bus and whistle while walking down the street. When I got home I peeled off my dark clothes and dug out my white pants and a billowy pink shirt I had bought on a whim a couple of years before. With that I walked out my door to find people to share the day with.
I had the feeling that I had been reborn.
I half expected the dark cloud to return as quickly as it had left, but it did not. I had been transformed, and that transformation seemed to be permanent. From that moment forward I felt like a new person in a new life.