The Try Again Dream

The dream’s setting was a chaotic quilt of thunder and lightning, and wind and rain as screaming and shouting people rushed around me. Through it all, I didn’t know where I was or what was going on. Sometimes I’d recognize someone and try to ask them, “What’s going on?”

Nobody would stop to tell me. I started trying to figure it out by myself, but I couldn’t find any clues. With a little walking on a narrow trail, I found myself in a forest. The wind was bending the trunks over, and the branches thrashed like grappling wrestlers. Sometimes the wind was so strong that all I could do was find a branch and hold on as the wind hammered me. Lightning seemed to be striking some trees, too. I decided that I needed to get out of there. Although branches slammed into my head and back several times, I bent my head and kept going.

I realized that I was going up. It was hard, because it was wet and slick, but I felt like that was the best direction to take. I often had to grab hold of branches and use them to pull me forward. During the final part, I ended up crawling forward on my hands and knees. After some exhaustive struggling, I cleared the trees.

Spent and breathing hard, I looked around. I was high on top of a granite mountain. It was bare. There was nothing to hold onto. I was afraid that the wind would sweep me away, but I was determined to stay there and learn what was going on. Other than the wind, I realized I was now mostly above the storm. With a little straining to see through the storm, I got glimpses of waves crashing far below in one direction. Almost everyone was heading that way.

Not thinking it was safe because it was so steep, I didn’t want to go that way, and did a full circle in place on the mountain top, hunting for somewhere else to go. I found a calm area in another direction where sunshine was spread over a green slope. I thought, that’s where I want to be, but it wouldn’t be easy to get there. Mountains, storms, and forests were in the way.

As I debated what to do, I looked back toward the beach where the others had gone. Something prompted me to look that way, but I can’t say what it was. What I saw, though, was a rising tsunami wave rushing toward the shore. Appearing like something copied from a disaster movie, I could see people thronging on the beach. I realized that they were all in danger, but I had no way to warn them. I tried shouting because it was the only thing that I could think of doing.

Then I realized, I could fly down. All I needed to do was throw myself into the air, and I could fly down to the beach and warn everyone. Looking at the approaching wave’s speed, I thought I could get down there with enough time to at least give people a chance. Yet, I hesitated because I would need to fly through the storm, and that was dangerous. I wanted to take myself out of danger.

With growing understanding that I could fly wherever I wanted or needed to go, I looked at the calm, sunny green space. Going there appealed to me. I could fly to it, but that would mean abandoning the people on the beach, and as much as I hated it, I couldn’t do that.

Searching the mountain top, I found a cliff where I thought it would be best to launch myself. A howling wind pushed me around. Heart hammering in my chest, I tried diving off. The wind threw me back onto the ground, driving me backward like a candy bar wrapper. Scrabbling to hold on, I dug my fingers into the ground and held on until I stopped.

Deciding the cliff might not be the best place, I checked other places to launch, but it seemed like my first choice was best. Accepting that, I planted myself about twenty feet back from the cliff’s edge and waited. When I felt like the wind’s strength had dropped, I ran forward and dove off the cliff.

The wind slammed into me like it had been waiting to ambush me, and pitched me against the granite mountainside. I managed to catch myself before the impact and lessened it some, but it still hurt like hell. That was a bad idea, I thought, and then, surveying where I was, realized that my position was precarious. I couldn’t climb down. I had to either climb back up, or try to fly from there.

Aware that I was high and it was a long way down to the forested mountainside, I thought it would be best to climb back up to where I’d been. But now rain lashed me. Swearing at myself for my stupidity, I grew hopeless. Nothing I could think of was going to work. I’d blown my one chance, but I hadn’t known that it was my one chance.

With all that going through my head, I saw myself in my mind. The me in my mind said, “Don’t worry. Try again.”

He sounded so confident, but it seemed so crazy that I scoffed at him, demanding, “How?”

He – me – answered, “Try again.”

His response didn’t inspire me, but I decided what the fuck. After positioning myself among the crags and rocks the best that I could, I threw myself off the mountain. Within a moment, I knew I wasn’t flying, and flailed at the air in fear and panic.

Then the wind calmed. It almost felt like a hand lifting me up. After a few moments of surprised thinking, I realized that I was flying.

Growing calmer and feeling more in control, I changed my body’s pitch so that I could climb higher, see where I was, and find the people on the beach.

That’s when I awoke to a cat’s whiskers against my cheek.

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