There is a groke that comes to visit nightly, waiting outside our bedroom window patiently. Just as three in the morning strikes, we find ourselves awake, eyes closed, but very much aware of the rustling sounds on the other side of the bedroom wall. Laying there, silently in bed, we wait for it to move on, which sometimes happens, other times not.
You maybe asking yourself, a groke, what the hell is that? Surely you must mean Grok, not groke (which of course we know an idea is different from a phantom). But I contend, it is a groke, certainly with a name perhaps, or one that we can choose to identify it with, as being unique to our nightly visits.
I doubt that it is The Groke, the one that wandered the Finnish countryside in the Moomin tales written by Tove Jansson. No, this is one that is unique to Los Angeles, to the wilds of the mountains and canyons that lay just to the north of us. I don’t doubt that it makes its way through the roads, stopping at various houses, disrupting the sleep of those inside, eliciting a chill from its icy core to couples and individuals secure within their dreams and rest. And then without reason it slowly moves onto the next home on its route.
The Groke, Tove’s creation, is the outcropping of winter depression and long periods of darkness looking for light. The specific archetype of a creature that longs for warmth, yet is rejected out of its own inability to communicate or overcome its own physical limitations, is a common fictional character that pops up in literature and art throughout history. The phantom or spirit that looks on as lovers sleep, disrupting happiness with worries and concerns. Yet, the shadowy figure is not there to destroy the bond or the individuals, but acts as a provocateur inciting riots of possibilities and alternatives.
So if you find yourself awakened in the middle of the night, lost in concerns about whether the work that you are doing is good enough, smart enough, challenging enough, for your peers, the world in general, listen careful for the sounds outside of a groke standing silently as a sentinel, peering in your direction. There is nothing to fear, in that all it is looking for is warmth and love. And if it arrives for years on end, realize that just maybe, you are doing something right, creating work and thoughts that are drawing it to your doorstep, it wishing to feel just the smallest glimmer of warmth.