“In Our Time” and on my night table.

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.”
-T.S. Eliot, one of my favorites.

Last night before bed I scanned my night table for my glasses, and took a minute to note what I keep there, next to me, as I sleep.
I don’t have much, but everything is meaningful. I have one of my crystals (of course).
I have a mirrored frame, containing a small piece of art that reads “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.”
In the far back corner, hidden behind a silver carved wood box, I have a feather or two and (don’t judge me, please) my lucky purple underwear, folded and twisted up into a tiny little knot. Unidentifiable to anyone but me. My protection symbols. Ok. I know it’s weird. Whatever.
I have a photograph of Ernest Hemingway, older and bearded, writing at his desk.
And tucked away, behind it all, I have a few pieces from the hospital. They remind me of where I have been, where I no longer wish to be, and where I hope to go.
The pins are from a night earlier in my stay, when I was doing a partial hospitalization outpatient program and staying in a beautiful local boutique hotel. My dear, kind, amazing friend came up one night to sleep over with me, so that I would not be alone. Since my hospital was located a few miles from a lovely, quintessential college town, I met my girl at 6:30 that night, once my program for the day had ended, and we spent the evening walking around, through the college apparel shops, the pharmacy, clothing stores and savoring every second in their real, actual book store. We don’t have many (if any) of those around anymore. I must have lingered in the far back right corner between Hemingway and Fitzgerald for a good 10 minutes, just running my hands across the spines of “in Our Time” and “A Farewell to Arms” and “An Immoveable Feast”, like I wanted to inhale them.
At the checkout counter, they had these silly little pins for $1 each. We each picked out a couple, and I keep mine by my bed, because they make me smile. They make me think of this time of great transformation, but also of my great fortune to have a friend who would drive all the way to another state, after a long day of work, to spend 12 hours in a hotel room with me, just so that I wouldn’t have to sleep by myself.
There is also a beaded bracelet, that I accidentally made too big during a Sunday morning art therapy session while I was inpatient. I remember stringing each bead on carefully, knowing, as I did it, that I wold save this simple, silly little craft forever.
I guess subconsciously I keep these things, this strange collage of items, in the place that is closest to me as I rest,
hoping for healing, protection and guidance;
that somehow some of the powers of the crystals, and the safety of the feathers and the weight of the hospital stay and the wisdom of Hemingway and the reminder of eternal love will seep into me during slumber.
Hey, who knows how these things work.
Each night as I fall asleep I pray for a new beginning the next day; a new place from which to start. And, if nothing else, I can always rest easy knowing that, undoubtedly, Tulips are better than one.

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