Saturday, December 08, 2012

from the landscape of dreams

I have recurring dreams in which I am wandering a city, a beautiful city with strange, twisting alleys and cobblestone streets. There are arched doorways and richly cluttered shops where I often meet people I know in this dreamworld, the magician with ice blue eyes, the old woman who often crowns her soft white hair with a wreath of red berries, a little dark haired child who is my daughter, lost long ago but here restored to me.

The landscape of this realm includes the sea, edging the rocky shore, and a river flowing between meadows. Across one of these meadows there is a white stone monastery. I never go there, but watch, sometimes, as the people come out and perform ceremonies. Once in a while I am part of a procession, as it moves through the town. There are flowers. Sometimes I walk beside a lion, in the thin winter sunlight.

In the shops I look through shelves and trays, looking for treasures. The blue eyed man has special things to show me, and has shown me these since I was three years old. Then I thought if I held tightly to the treasures I would have them when I woke. But my clenched hands were always empty—no blue crystals, no little carved stones looking like horses, no golden birds.

These days in that dream place I am often with some of my waking-life family (alive or dead) and friends (also living or dead—in that place everyone is alive, and we meet sometimes with a bit of confusion: Oh, I thought…but here you are! And we smile a lot).

But sometimes we are trying to cross that bridge, that wooden bridge that spans..sometimes a river, sometimes a space from one building to another, so high up..or we are trying to climb a hill to safety, scratching our skin on the rough granite. The city has turned precarious.

Sometimes I look and think “oh no, where is…?” For someone is missing, and I should have been paying more attention. Those are nightmares of responsibility, from which I am glad to awaken. They are dreams in which I think “oh no, what I have loved, those I have loved…I haven’t kept them safe”. I wake in tears and in relief, and listen to the breathing around me—my son, my partner, the cats, the snuffling and restless pitbull. It was only a dream. Oh, thank god, it was only a dream, no worries.

But these days, waking, something nibbles at the edges of my mind. Disasters, storms, changes, deaths. It has been an autumn of sudden deaths. Some I loved are…suddenly, elsewhere. It’s not new to me, this sense of fragility, or the litany of the dead. I often recall my friend, dead at 21, who burst into my dreams on the night he died and faced me laughing. “Oh, wasn’t it the most brilliant joke?” he said to me, impish, impossible, dramatic. How we laughed. I was..24 or 25, and when I woke I cried. But he would have liked me better laughing.

Waking these days it feels as if perhaps I am trying to cross that bridge of my beautiful dream city, where the ground is moving and all is complication, unknown languages, splendor and love.

I turn around and someone else is gone.

I turn around and someone is calling out, wounded by grief.

And yet…well, perhaps it is a brilliant joke. So what do we do with this, our lovely complicated life? I think we pay attention. I think we try to love one another, laugh with each other, be ridiculous, embrace our sorrows but more, embrace our delights.

I think we look at every rainbow and delight in every silly thing. And sure, let’s…well, let’s not save the world, let’s treasure the world, let’s cherish it.

Each breath, each moment, each choice.


Blogger Anne said...

What beautiful dreams. So much color with all that grief.

6:53 PM, December 08, 2012  
Blogger christopher said...

Yes, the older I get, the more the world does not need saving, but does need those who cherish it far past the human scale in all directions. We still suffer from our illusions of a self center. Yes there is a center. No we are not it in any way that satisfies our ordinary opinions about such matters... and yet that center is intimate and personal certainly.

You have dreams. So do I. We both write, as if it made any difference... and of course in some long distance way, it does. At least that is one aspect of my commitment, my faith in things. By now, several years along in our association, I am sure it is in yours as well.

Thank you.

12:49 PM, December 09, 2012  
Blogger Amy Branham said...

Hello dear one, it's been much too long...

Your description of your dreams puts me there with you. Lately I've been dreaming but I don't remember. My husband says I'm talking in my sleep, tossing and turning but I have no recollection. He's taken to sleeping on the couch on my more restless nights.

At least they are only dreams.


8:27 PM, December 17, 2012  
Blogger ocean lady said...

Fine and fascinating dreams indeed. I love that you walk with those who have already gone sometimes - and envy you that. Hamp has made only one brief appearance in all this time. The Tibetan lamas teach even waking life is in the nature of a dream, that, waking in the bardo between lives, we feel that we have been asleep here, and only at that moment are waking. Time will tell, wont it, if we only have the awareness to remember to notice. But not yet, not yet.

9:48 PM, March 05, 2013  

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