Dreaming

I am a Dreamer; that would be a Pagan person who remembers, analyses and interprets dreams. We also help other people interpret their own dreams. I've been a dreamer for as long as I can remember, and have an uncanny knack for remembering dreams that I've had years later.

Of course I don't remember every dream I've had, and often not even important ones; but I do remember. That's what I'm going to write about today, dreams. I expect this post to meander quite a bit, because I'm writing it at quarter-to-eight in the morning, on a Monday, but bear with me, and we might get some where interesting.

Saturday we went down-town and watched the St. Patrick's Day Parade. Tucson is big on "remembering our Founders", as most South-Western Mormon-founded towns are. Partly, I guess because of the way Mormons view death, and the afterlife. Tucson was founded roughtly 1500 years ago by the American Indians that scientists have called the Hohokam. Of course, up to 12 000 years ago there were people roaming about down here, so there is a lot more history than Tucson admits to. I'd love to see a Founder's Day where we practiced making pottery in the Hohokam style, or were able to see artefacts from the archeological digs, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

Anyway, celebrating the Irish people who came out this way. Irish immigrrants were predominatly Catholic, and Tucson was visited roughly 500 years ago by Jesuit priests-- so the Cathlolics would at least be comfortable hearing mass when they got here. I realise that the Spanish Cathlolics and the Irish Catholics don't always get on, I'm just musing "aloud" here.

The parade was awesome! I have always loved parades, being in them, or watching them go by, they are just outstanding. This one had a route about eight blocks long, and by the time the end finally got started an hour had passed, and the front was almost back to us (we were watching from the corner near the end)! Very cool, if you ask me. There were food booths, and games for the kids; the local SCA had set up some tents and were acting, and over all, I thought it was great. Even the roller derby girls came out, and I have to admit, I love love love me some roller derby girls!

That night we got to bed pretty late, it was after midnight, and we were still talking about everything, and nothing at all. That night I had a very strange dream, one that got my thinking about dreaming-- which I admit, I think about often, and the one that led to this blog post.

I dreamed I was a crane, a red-crowned crane (I looked it up). I had a long necklace, or chain of wooden spindles, about seven of them. The spindles were rattles, and sounded like rice in a jar; they were white at the tip, with a strip of red, then the body was mostly black, before going to another strip or red and a white tip. Each one, was about half the length of my hand and upper arm, so maybe 9-12 inches. I used my beak to drape that long hoop around my neck, and motioned to my chick. Off we walked.

We walked from a dead forest, it looked like it'd been burned down, and into a desert that reminded me of White Sands National Monument, white, stark, salty and bright. I didn't think of anything complex, nor did I question what we were doing. My chick couldn't fly yet, so we were walking, across the desert, where there was no food, no water, nothing for us; and toward the water, where I knew everything would be all right.

We got to the edge of the water, lapping at the white sand, and throwing more salt into the air. The water was thick with froth and foam, and a deep grey colour. The ocean didn't look angry, but was not calm, either. I looked over at my poor bedraggled chick, so tired and helped him climb on to my back. I stretched out my wings, fully, and marvelled at their white and black feathers, so beaitufl even after such a harrowing trip. I was hungry, and thirsty and so very tired.

But I stepped into the water. Using my wings for balance, like you would hold out your arms, I stepped further and further into the water, feeling it wash away the salt from my feathers, cleansing me and my chick, refreshing us. I felt a flash of unease, of fright when we were deep enough, I felt the water lapping my neck and my chick wrap his neck against mine. I can't swim, you see, so being in water that deep scares me. It was the only flash of "me-ness" in this dream. But the chick and I, we took deep breaths and I stepped farther in, letting the water wash over our heads, completely submerging us.

Suddenly we were standing on the beach. It was a small peninsula, so we were facing the beach we had walked into the water from, and were standing on a dark-stained dock, attached to a building that looked exactly like a stereotypical Japanese hotspring's main building. I looked down at my chick, now a boy, dressed in black pants and white socks and shoes, and a bright red shirt. He was soaked, thin, drawn by exhaustian and hunger, but he smiled at me.

I saw my dress, long sleeved, was patterned after my feathers, black and white, and when I felt my head, there was a little hat or some thing, on my head. My h air was down, long, thick and black as raven wings. My shoes were orange. We walked into the house, the building behind us, and there was an old woman there in a bright red kimono, with white flowers, and a pink and white obi (the wide ribbon-like belt). She motioned to an old man, and they brought warm blankets, towels for our hair, and hot tea and vegetable soup.

We sat, shivering in our blankets, near the fire and drank our soup. I could feel the warmth flow through me from that little cup of sea weed broth with carrots and something that I think was radishes. It didn't matter what was in it, though, just the warmth and care the old man and woman gave us, two soaking wet refugees who stumbled to their home.

My chick, now son's, shirt, the old woman's outfit and my shoes were the only things that weren't muted in colour. The entire world was a smudgy grey, black, white, dark blue, sea-green. Those little splashes of colour really stood out to me when I woke up. Everything was the colour of a stormy ocean, except for those bright things. Even the old man was dressed in grey and deep blue, almost black.

Much later I went into a wash room. My chick/son was sleeping in a nest of blankets, his face relaxed and at peace. The old woman nodded, and I knew she'd watch him while I cleaned off the salt from my dip into the water. I looked into the mirror there and saw the face of a young Japanese woman, with long black hair, and a strange patch of red on the top of my head. I didn't try to remove the scarf, ribbon, whatever it was, just patted it, and then undressed to take a quick wash and soak in the bath.

I knew everythign was going to be OK. Everything we'd suffered, losing my other chicks, I don't know how many, in the fire. Losing everything, even ourselves, really. Because now we weren't ourselves, we were humans. But I didn't feel that we'd lost ourselves, just taken a different form-- like putting on the right clothing for the right function (ie. professional for going to the office, and scrubs for doctors and nurses). As I got into the tub, after scrubbing the sea-salt off of me, seeing the faint markings where the feathers would change from white to black on my skin, I woke up.

My dreams are always very clear, very colourful, always like being in a movie, or living in the waking world. This one being so dark, like being in a fog was very different. I can't remember ever dreaming one like that before. Usually my dreams are brighter than normal colour, more like "cartoon" colour. I think that makes sense, considering my dreams often include being small enough to live in a flower and riding a bumble bee to work! This dream was calm, the colours were soothing and cool, almost like a meditation in colour. It was by turns strange and utterly beautiful. Even now, two days later I'm still thinking about the colours, the way they blended together, and how lovely it was.

I have no idea if that dream of being a bird, a crane, meant anything. Often when I dream of being a bird, I fly, high in the sky, revelling in that feeling of freedom. I'm afraid of heights, so those dreams are a welcome relief from the often crippling phobia I have. Not flying, the walking all that way, it was very strange.

And you know, science doesn't even know why we dream. We know animals dream, even lab rats dream. We know we problem solve in our dreams; that we review the day, and can solidify information into our long term memories. We even know that dreaming about doing something is almost the same as actively practising that thing. But we don't know why.

I think that not knowing is one of the things that makes dreams and the act of dreaming so wonderful. Granted we have nightmares, horrible dreams that make it feel like our brains are torturing us. And yes, some times we have very strange ones that turn the skies green or break the laws of physics as we know them-- often leaving us scratching our heads in the morning wondering what chemicals, exactly, our brains are bathed in while we're sleeping!

I dream about my mother at least twice a month. She's herself, and I'm myself, even if the dream is set in the past. They're strange that way. They are a way of rehashing my decision, I know. Making sure I'm really OK with it, and my never-completely-receding guilt for being brave enough to walk away from the lies. It's hard to walk away from your parent/parents. You're supposed to love and respect them, not tell them to fuck off, or die in a fire! But some times the latter is the only thing you can do for your sanity-- I just wish my subconscious would stop reminding me about it!

Dreams fascinate me, as does analysing them. I'll analyse a dream randomly here, I think. But not today. Today, I just wanted to share a dream that I had, that I think was beautiful, calming and made me wish I could paint-- I'd paint that ocean, beating the white sands, foaming around the feet of a crane. I'd even put the baby crane on the back of the mother crane, just because that's how I dreamed it-- it doesn't have to be correct, or even make sense.

I hope your Monday is soothing, beautiful and calming. Just like my dream was.

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