Barely even seven and the house becomes silent, the boy gone to bed, dark hair on the pillow, his soft snoring a steady sound I hear from beyond the opened door in the room next to where I am writing. Even the cats are sleeping; one, his long body stretched out near my chair, the other inside a basket, curled into the tiniest ball she could make herself become. All 3 of the living beings in this house besides me sleep differently, yet sleep they do, a kind of deep, easy sleep I am in awe of.

Last night I wandered the house at two a.m. as I am prone to doing, like some kind of lonely sentinel keeping watch over slumber, listening to the sound of their breathing, listening to the sound of the earth’s breathing, as its wind went past the windowpane, as it ruffled the trees and moved the leaves. I could have named what from the dream had woken me, could have even given it a body, but I did not want to give it a voice and so instead I watched the lamp lit roadway from the window, some rain’s slight shape, the way the light hit the water just so. I watched instead the impermanent design of rain on the glass until I was tired enough to fall asleep again, this time, without dreams.

I thought a lot about acceptance, how in its most basic form it is “the act of taking or receiving something offered.” The word itself, seemingly benign, rolls out of the mouth in a way that hints at its complicated nature, the “accept” pushing forward with a rush of breath, the “ance” lower and slightly pulling back. What is being offered, after all, is not always a gift. Instead it is sometimes lesson, sometimes wound. How do I accept these things too, the things I need to learn? What am I to do with the shape of a wound?

Tonight I am accepting the sky devoid of stars, the glow of porch light on the pumpkins, the cold wind outside the house. Tonight I am accepting small rock piles, brown leaves on the lawn. Tonight I am accepting beauty, the unseen moon beyond the trees, the soft peal of wind chimes on a house, any beauty, maybe even my own.