WordPress asks me what new skills I learnt recently as the text cursor waits for me expectantly. Well I learnt nothing and why it’s important. For a long time now I’ve been scouring various theogonies and mythologies from the Mediterranean to the Steppe. Nothing seemed to resonate till I returned to the one tradition that provoke the most resistance in me, Daoism. Of course the inscrutable I Ching was the least comforting guide in an urgent but dreadfully prolonged search for meaning. Yet the Tao says that a vessel is only useful because of the emptiness inside. Somehow I am a broken bell that now rings and I have been having the most pleasant dreams of the last few years. I’ve been mixing a little bit of Jung’s active imagination to the mix and yesterday I saw a forest in the fall, leaves brown and sweeping downwards, the forest floor aching for someone to trod on the leaves that yearn to crack and offer music to the scene. Nature is indeed a teacher as the Tao says, but I also saw a guide in black robes, face obscured with a dry leaf, beacon me closer into the dark of the dry forest – as though the season and the empty world beneath the canopies yearned to be filled by my curiosity. Nature is indeed a teacher and my master wields a leaf.
Yesterday, the same day I came back from my trip home, I dreamt I was back in the manor I grew up in.
It is an old bunglow with old walls thick enough to beat a canon. I am in my parents room, old white paint lathered on crumbling and thick walls, dusty windows covered with stickers I put up twenty years ago. Water damage and cracks sneak along the corners but are never enough to bring anything down. The walls have been flaking and crumbling for years but the walls are deep enough to take a hundred more years of decay.
My parents aren’t in the room, because it’s a makeshift classroom. The are tables from my college and my English department too. I see a water-can in the corner filled with white pebbles and glittering deco. I reach it, examine it while I turn it over. A woman is talking about lost papers.
A professor, one who looks like a hippie met a gorilla with a personality that made him a few feet taller, is near by. Sitting on a bench close to the window with the thick iron bars. My grandmother is next to him reading the veins on his hands and praising the wisdom of the ancients.
I put the water-can back but I can’t get it back to the way it was. After I’ve examined it, it’s shaky and to my surprise twice as small. My grandmother is done devining disease and fortune from veins. She hands me a green paper box to place over the water can. The paper is a beautiful aged emerald green, with golden threads running under its thin and discolored spots.
It’s edges have sleeves, and when I examine it I find four smaller wood coloured papers tucked delicately on one side. It cannot be placed back, it doesn’t make sense that it was ever there in the first place. The 4 papers have fifteenth century Japanese art on it, painted with golden ink ingrained in the paper.
It’s not the kind of art you’d expect, fifteen century Japanese art was very close to Chinese styles, the more familiar variety comes after the Edo period. It shows the Buddha and his deciples being promised Buddhahood and Indian mythology probably the Ramayana. That was where the dream ended or where my memory fails me.
Still water, I reached down
to reach the tree tops
I remember this is a dream
that’s on repeat
A lesson I’m yet to learn
I follow my dog, into the woods
Dreamt of a dog I used to have, Honey, who looked like a really short Sheepdog . I couldn’t tell you if she was long lived or short, it’s hard to time someone’s whose been a part of your early life, but she was beloved like all dogs you dream about.
I hadn’t thought of her in a while; I ran my hand through her fur and felt it like 10 years ago, like time stood still to let me meet an old friend. I awoke and realized I couldn’t remember how or when she died and felt a little surprised she was no longer alive.
I mentioned it and a lecturer offered a little Freud. I was the dog, a symbol of loyalty, a trait my friends vouched for. What I didn’t say was that I had had another dream the night before, one where I met a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a while.
So there you have it, two dreams of mine talking to each other, telling me to wait patiently for my friend. Of course if you’re careful there’s a lot to read between these few lines but this is just the surface not the whole Freud.
A dream I had
I dreamt back to when it was was four am, when our cat lay a sparrow by the nightstand. The bird’s chirps sounded like twigs breaking. Its eyes looked like they’d eaten the night sky. My voice cools when I try to talk to it, a cold I remember from a bicycle.
The frighting artistry of rust, it’s slow cobweb cutting through metal, pulsating as it feeds. Sharp corner and residue where once I ran my hands across cold steel after I rode through elephant grass. To shine it would have needed year after year, day after day but abandonment brought to a cycle- introspection, madness and nostalgia. It’s jagged edges threatening, the past takes on it’s own life, decays and rots on it’s own terms.
I remembered the bird, the cold monsoon night, the water in the air when I woke up to rain.
Relativity in Dreams
March 23rd, I wake up from a dream 12 hours long, after a night of 7 hours. Day after day I remember dreams far, far too long. A week later, my dreams took a month but I was back by morning. In time, years seemed to go by.
Soon I was gone for longer and longer, I sought council- doctors, shaman and mystics, but the dreams pulled longer. They weighed on me, pulling my sleep down, down through my bed, breaking into the earths core.
Years of cramming for a test, flying through glass doors, when I came back it felt like decades but they talked to me like it hadn’t been two days. You fear of course, dreams that grow to centuries, millennia in vortex and reading though life in subtext.
You can’t live a million years and come back, the horror of real life.
Moonlight flows off his bed
The reflection seeps in a dream
Fern Lake, Lotus pond but a mile long
His feet push the clear waves
Drift through lilies, open up a path
An ode to moonlight.
Are very slow fireworks;
The densest part of a dream
Is when there’s nothing left to feel.
Night by the sea
That summer we stayed with her aunt who smelt of cut grass and ghee. We walked the beaches, pretend nomads with face scarfs till a dog rushed out of a patch of wild flowers and begged for a game. Bored cattle strayed past, watching the sea while grazing. That night the sea’s breeze and scent carried through the window. The dog sat happy after the meal we gave him. She put on some music and the dog tried to bark in tune. She danced till her footsteps on the hardwood floor was all I could hear. When I woke up the french windows were open, she had a flower under her foot and a smile on her face.