August 3, 2021
Sleeping on Isle Royale
By Amba Gale
As you read this posting, I will be in Isle Royale National Park, where the pristine wilderness – the sounds of the day, and the deep blue silence of the night, can seep into my soul and speak to me, bring me on an inner journey where, like a pilgrim, I find myself anew.
Still at home, I am beginning to prepare: to prepare to being open, receptive to the land and the lake and the sky; to prepare myself for the gift of Observation, to being present, to bringing myself into the amazing land of Wonder, where the trees and the rocks and the lichen, the clouds, and the loons, and the eagles, the beavers, the great blue, and the moose can all speak to me, tell me that I am connected, that they are my brothers and my sisters, my companions, in our whole heartedness of living. With them, I can grow. With them, I can enter a new world other than the one I have been living in. With them, I can stop whatever conversation I have been in for the last year and a half, and come into knowing myself, newly.
Each year, except last, as it was closed, we go to this place in the wilderness. Each year, I ask the question: Who am I now? Each year, a stranger returns, and I see, and listen to, my old world with new eyes and ears, new perceptions, new possibilities.
Night at the island is a very special time. I can cross a doorway into the profound sacredness of sleep if I ready myself, if I invite the invisible world to be my companion, and to accompany me in my inward journey. In my sleep, I travel far into a new dwelling place, where my soul can stop for a while, and be nourished by the safety and comfort of profound rest, of the dark, of dropping beneath my own troubles.
There, the possibility of awakening into a new life is born.
One evening, in 2019, the last time I was at Isle Royale, two years ago, before I entered sleep, and as I entered that doorway, I wrote this prayer, or blessing, in behalf of ending one life and beginning another.
While you may not be in a national park at the moment you read this letter, may you, in entering the doorway of the night, where the body can take its deep rest, join with the unknown, and emerge anew.
What support from the invisible world of the night would you like to ask, tonight prior to dropping down deep into sleep?
What is your blessing for your sleep?
Sleep on Isle Royale
By Amba Gale
May I dream a deep, blue sleep
while fire eats hungrily the wood,
the stove top silent, content to be still,
as outside purple sounds of earth
settle into night.
May the waves of sleep carry me
to its farthest shores,
stilling my beating mind of worry,
healing my breathing heart of fear.
Let the waves break
there upon the land
beyond the current horizon
where lake shore rocks are ground
through the gift of time
into small pebbles, smooth to touch,
and soft and easy sand
that feet can walk on.
Loons eat them to get their food down.
May the awakening of the day over the lake
with eagle in the sky soaring free
bring me to a new horizon,
an unknown that I may befriend.
May I hear the call of this farthest horizon
and have the courage to follow paths
that have been hidden to me before,
see and sense them in plain sight
as the eagle sees so well from her height,
and take those courageous first steps.
May the blue-sky sleep of deep rest
greet me in the morning,
sing me awake
where, for heaven’s sake,
my life is saved.