They arrive in sleep. When I do not stir or shift my body, my mind is finally at ease, in a place of calm, one I seek during waking life but cannot find. A place I crave during consciousness but cannot locate. There I am. Though, I am neither sleeping nor waking, conscious nor unconscious. The millions of roots that find my body as it rests upon the earth, still wrapped in her arms, find me there. They caress my hair, touch my lips, and gently grace my eyelids with soft leaves.

My ear received whispers; they were the day's delights. Thoughts and desires stir dreams from which I hope never to wake.

A voice from somewhere calls me, beckons me. It is an echo from within me.

I open my eyes only for a moment. It is a measurement of time that is not of this world. I am held in a central place, an in-between state, one within the dream world and one within the waking world.

I must rise partially, rise enough to control the visions. I must return to the surface and witness my nakedness, the naked beauty of creation, a beauty that causes such a craving for understanding in both unconscious and conscious, in both dreaming and waking.

I want to understand this place.

I said, my voice echoing. I could, however, not see any walls. It was dark, with shimmering light coming and going at random intervals. It was mesmerizing; I wanted to take my eyes away, but how could I remove my attention from something so unearthly, so stunning?

There is only one way to understand it: to move between here and there, between you and me.

I instinctually understood the meaning of this. I understood the shifts that needed to occur, that would happen even without my willing it.

We breathed as one, inhaling and exhaling together, a rhythmic cycle.

The old maple and I were intertwined, leaves and branches wrapped around fingers and limbs. She was still so I could remain at rest and stay between worlds of dreaming and waking, unconscious and conscious.

In my mumbling semi-sleep state, I kept saying,

o, the beauty of peace

let us stay until the seasons return

again

again

and forever onwards - again

The old maple gave me her vision. She cradled me securely in her branches. Old though they were, I could feel the energy of a hundred seasons within them, a thousand suns. She placed her leafy fingers on my eyelids, allowing the images and wisdom of those seasons and those suns to flow gently and enlighten me.