The Path Dream

Just did a walk-about writing break, and thought about one of last night’s dreams.

I was helping a man build a path. We each had a length of nylon rope. What I thought of as his rope was yellow and mine was white. The white rope was in my left hand, and the yellow rope was in my right. It was reversed for him. We were using the ropes to lay out the path. It was a long path, and were squatting down to do this.

So, weird, the path already existed in my mind, because he was laying the rope on a long and straight stretch of black cement. On either end was a platform that people were to use to arrive and depart.

Others were watching from grassy areas on either side of me. The man would shift the ropes one way and then the other as I followed his lead. I didn’t understand why he was doing this. “How’s it going?” an onlooker asked me.

“Slow,” I said. “I don’t understand what he’s doing. One, the path already exists. Why does he need another one? Two, why was he trying different paths? I don’t see what the difference he makes? Why doesn’t he make a decision? As part of that, I don’t understand why the path that’s already there doesn’t satisfy him. Three, shouldn’t the path, if you were going to make it, connect the platforms that people were expected to use?”

The onlooker said, “I don’t know.”

That dream ended.

Of course, thinking about it during my walk, I realized that I’m the other man. I have the path establish but doubt keeps me looking for another path. Why, I keep asking myself, just as I do in the dream? Clearly, it’s because I doubt the path, even though it’s already established.

 

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Hot

The heat wasn’t that bad. He thought that people were exaggerating, the way they gasped, shrieked, and ran, sweat running down their faces, eyes bulging and mouth gaping like they were imitating fish out of the water, as their clothes ignited.

A Volvo, BMW, and Jeep exploded as they passed him. Street lights drooped like limp noodles. Flames sprang from nothing to consume trees as the grass turned into black ash and a yellow fire hydrant lost its shape, issuing arcing geysers of water that turned into steam and blew away. Buildings began melting and crumbling.

Smiling, he shook his head and looked at the black-smoke inferno spreading behind him. If they thought this was bad, they should experience what he’d just been there.

Now that had been hot.

Just Mine

Debby told me and Emi a story when we were all visiting Mom for her birthday. This was about twenty-five years ago. Debby had a habit of making a coffee drink at home in the morning and topping it with whipped cream. She’d then go out into her Florida home’s backyard to enjoy it. Trying to rebuild her life, she’d started going to college while working at night, leaving her children up north for their grandparents to raise them.

A squirrel approached her during one of her early mornings. Debby thought the squirrel was interested in her drink. Debby put some whipped cream on a spoon and offered it to the squirrel. The squirrel hopped over to her and lapped it up.

That started a daily habit. Debby and the squirrel met every morning to share a spoonful of whipped cream. Their ritual continued for four years. Then, one morning, she went into the back yard and found the squirrel dead.

Debby’s life had been a struggle since a brutal assault in Jacksonville had taken place in her early twenties. She kept trying to rebuild, and kept getting knocked back. After a miscarriage, she endured a three year stretch that saw a business bankruptcy, personal bankruptcy, and divorce because her husband was unfaithful and a drug abuser. Then she learned that her husband hadn’t been paying taxes to the IRS for over three years. The squirrel had been a symbol of change. Now the squirrel was dead.

Debby cried when she told the story. Emi and I cried when we heard it.

Come forward to last week. Mom had passed away. Home to make her funeral arrangements, Debby, Emi, and I were remembering our lives with Mom. Debby recalled how her parents had taken her children in, so I mentioned the squirrel tale, because it was part of that same era.

Debby looked blank. “Nope. Wasn’t me.”

Emi said, “I don’t remember ever hearing that before in my life.”

Their response stunned me. I guess the memory was just mine.

It really makes me wonder.

 

First Floof

First Floof (floofinition) – informal or ceremonial title given to the housepet which has preferential standing.

In use: “She’d always had cats. Daisy came to her when her son went to war and never returned. Showing remarkable intelligence — for a dog, in her opinion — Daisy quietly became her loyal First Floof and was by her side when she went to sleep and didn’t wake up, staying there until the police came on a welfare check.”

Saturday’s Theme Music

Today’s song came about as a choice between it and a Shawn Mendes. A young girl with me was listening to Shawn Mendes’ song, “Stitches”, in my dream, and there were reports that a strange man was lurking outside of our building. In my dream, I assumed that this clumsy device foreshadowed Shawn Mendes showing up. I wasn’t surprised when he did, although the rest of my dream people were all happy and surprised. I don’t know he showed up. It seemed like some sitcom playing in my head.

But the Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus” (1967) replaced the Mendes’ tune. I decided to go with it. I went with the Beatles because Walrus part of the “Magical Mystery Tour”, a very strange movie. I was eleven when this song and album came out, and it left its mark on me. After a night of strange dreams, I felt it apropos for my Saturday theme music.

 

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