I can’t remember when it started, my deep plunges into the depths of depression. I think it involved from the time I graduated from high school through my first few years of college. I had a very difficult time falling asleep. I have had tinnitus from a very early age, and that ringing in my ears was a constant companion.
Most nights I kept the radio on. I got bored with the music on the top 40 radio stations. However, even back then, before talk radio became a thing, there were mostly men on the radio didn’t play music but talked. Sometimes it was interesting. Sometimes it did the trick and put me to sleep. Other times, many nights nothing helped. My bedroom and a sliding door that led to the backyard. It was a perfect way for me to leave the house and walk. I would sometimes walk for hours when I should have been sleeping. Eventually the weariness would overcome me and bring me the relief of sleep.
That ringing in my ears has been with me all that time, even to this day. I’m in my 70s and in right now I’m thinking about that sound in my ears it has become louder.
I lived at home throughout my college years. My freshman year I thought I would be a math major. I liked the logic of algebra and geometry. However, I took my first math class and I had no idea the professor was saying. I tried reading the textbook and it was totally incomprehensible. I didn’t understand a thing, and I finished the first college-level math class with the D-.
Maybe that was the beginning of it. I was 17 years old and I had no plan B. I didn’t know what I wanted. What gave me a little bit of comfort present many of my classmates said the same thing. I like being outside. I thought I could be a forest ranger and work for the National Parks system. That wasn’t going to happen. San Jose State didn’t have a program for that.
While I was figuring out what I could do, but I could take up as a major, that I would study Spanish. My parents spoke Spanish almost all the time, so I heard it and understood it. I just could not make it come out of my mouth. There is a term for that in the study of language acquisition. It always bothered me so I thought I’d take up classes and maybe my parents’ language that was in my head would be able to come out of my mouth.
This was the mid-60s. The time when people were taking it to the streets. Cesar Chavez, antiwar protests, civil rights demonstrations, the Chicano movement, even the 6 o’clock news stirred my generation.
I was proud to be what I was and the Chicano movement hit me at the perfect time. I wanted to speak Spanish. I wanted to talk to my grandmother and my aunts and uncles. Eventually I had taken enough Spanish classes to have it as a minor. I kept taking more classes and then it became my major. Even now in my shyness I still have difficulties speaking in either language.
This night time passing,
This darkened dome that reigns upon us all
in our hour of fear,
This nightly milling of the stars,
Showers down upon us its blessed meteors of darkness,
moistens the sighted eye
and brings rest to the lidded redness.
This ghostly passing,
this darkened dimmed Iris
breathes welcome to the great and silent shadows.
This nocturnal passing that shields us from the sun,
Bids is welcome, safe harbour,
Safe entry into the hollows of wondrous dreams.
This is the time of darkness.
It is the time to drift into the heart of God,
to touch briefly into the meaning,
into the timeless,
until the dawning unravels in a splash of brilliant rays,
until the dawning conquers.
This is the time to settle among the night sounds,
to utter the most ancient prayer:
One more, one more.
This is the time,
Let there be
one more day.
Let the morning
Let the sun glow upon us
one more time.