At 6:00 a.m. this morning, as I lay in that lazy haze between waking and rising, a lyric from the early 60s suddenly played in my head: Running Bear loves Little White Dove/With a love as big as the sky/Running Bear loves Little White Dove ... That was it. Nothing more, nothing less.
My first thought was that the synapses were seriously misfiring. Early warning signs of dementia, perhaps. My second thought was indignation: I am a student of literature, a former English teacher, for God's sakes. Why not an Emily Dickinson poem, a snippet of William Blake or a stanza from William Butler Yeats? Hell, if it had to be a 60s lyric, why not a few lines from Eleanor Rigby? But, no, it had to be some drivel from my pre-teen years.
I tried to trace whatever stream of consciousness might have dredged up this silliness by reviewing last night's bedtime routine. Going on YouTube and catching the Colbert monologue and the latest clips on MSNBC and CNN to check out the chaos and then watching the PBS Newshour to remind myself that not all news centers on the malignant narcissist in the WH and there are still places where some degree of sanity and civility hold sway. Playing a few hands of Spider Solitaire. Snuggling down to dreamless sleep. Nothing out of the ordinary. It was the same pattern that has been in place for months.
And then I understood. The last time I expected to wake to nuclear winter was at age 11 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I remember the nuns marching us all from classroom to church to have our confessions heard and then reminding us not to argue with our siblings on the walk home or commit any other sins before bedtime so that we might go straight to heaven in the event of a bomb hitting NYC. The surreal aspect of all this was that it made perfect sense to a Catholic child of that era.
That Catholic child no longer exists. But life has become surreal again. Hence, an absurd lyric for an absurd time.
Running Bear loves Little White Dove/With a love as big as the sky/Running Bear loves Little White Dove ...