My heartbeat woke me. My pillow soft, the darkness of the cold Spring night, beneath covers, warm, hours of luxury to think, imagine, slip into underlying streams of thought, fascinated by wondering, exploring routes and trajectories, ideas and sensations, memories and future possibilities, yet sleep is crucial, work tomorrow, and so a mantra over and over, for stillness, to locate the cliff-edge of drowsiness, to fall into it. Why is it so loud, this beating? Blood filling with oxygen, the network of arteries, arterioles, capillaries and veins. Diastole and systole. I hear it in my left ear drum. It pulses, throbs with a steady beat. Pluck out the earplug. The clock ticks too loudly; my dog snores slightly. Squeeze the foam and push it back into orifice of ear. The steady thumping of a sea of blood thrown like a metronome against my inner ear. Usually I can't fall asleep on my left side because my heartbeat is too loud. But the thuds of heartbeat are loud no matter what side I lie on. How am I to dim the sound when it is inside me? All night, my beating heart keeps me awake.
At 5am I rose, let the dog out, made coffee, cooked sausages, eggs and toasted a bit of pumpernickel bagel. I read an email that caused me to Google Rilke, read some of his poetry and part of one of the Letters to a Young Poet. I imagined living at Chateau de Muzot, a small stone tower, where Rilke finished the Duino Elegies. How he carried them like a long delayed pregnancy, until, finally, they poured onto the page. Then I wondered if wax in my eardrum was causing a sensitivity to the inner sound of my beating body. I rose from Rilke to look for the Clary Sage oil. On the shelf of chaotic items, reading glasses, lip balm, books, papers, Tarot cards, sable paint brushes, I find it, tip my head, let some drops slide in to massage the ear drum. The pounding of blood through the heart is muted, distant, normal.
Later when I consider what to write, I remember the heartbeat in the night that kept me awake. Muscular organ of renewal. Ventricles and passageways. Central chamber for the maintenance of everything.
How do I approach it. Mortality, the thundering heart.
Qualia, or the subjective response to sensations of the body, is the subject of this piece on the heart.