Last night, I dreamed of a cave...
I'll explain it all in a bit.
But first, some background.
From a very young age, I have always had vivid and fantastic dreams. I would sometimes tell them to my mother, and she would think I was lying. Granted, I could also spin quite a tale without batting an eye, but the dreams...the dreams were real.
Some were humorous, inspired from television shows I watched, or books I read. Most of them, however, were strange, dark, and creepy. Not surprising, given my innate personality, that my brain would enter the realm of oddities while I slept. I can still recall a handful of those childhood dreams, the ones which have repeated more than once I describe below.
The first dream I remember included a giant perched atop a telephone pole, waiting to jump on our car as we rounded the corner. I can picture the giant exactly, as my brain borrowed its image from a book we owned. I loved the book and I recently searched for it, curious to see if I could compare my memory to the actual image.
I thought the illustrator might have been Mercer Mayer, so I searched for that first, including the word "giant". I scrolled down through the images until I found this:
Not Mercer Mayer, rather Philllipe Fix as illustrator, but I think there is a similarity between the two. Anyway, the giant on the cover was not my giant, so I continued searching the images for that book until I found him.
Here is my giant. Okay, technically it's the same giant, but he looks a little meaner than his image on the cover, and this picture is exactly how I remember him, sitting on the telephone pole, peering down at me. He doesn't frighten me anymore. In fact, I ordered a copy of the book for my library.
The Ghosts Are Crying
The next dream I recall is from around the same time as the giant dream, but this one was a lot more blatantly morbid.
I was spinning on the tire swing in our back yard and I avoided looking into our neighbors yard with each pass. I was afraid. Later, as I walked past the house with my other, I noticed a small airplane had crashed in their front yard. People had died. Beside the wreckage lay three imprints of teardrops in the mud. They were filled with blue water. I said: "Look, Mommy. The ghosts are crying." A few days later, we walked past the crash again, but the teardrop shaped imprints were dry and empty. I said: "Look, Mommy. The ghosts aren't crying anymore."
White-eyed Alien Witches
I was an older pre-teen when I had this dream a few times in one year. The plot is hazy, but it involved white-eyed witches from another planet who infiltrated our neighborhood and wanted to kidnap me. They actually looked like a cross between the Wicked Witch of the West and Wonder Woman, (that's a lot of W's) but they definitely meant me harm. The final image imprinted on my brain is the face of the head alien-witch, her milky white eyes coming closer and closer until I screamed and woke up.
Imagination, Dreams, Writing
As you can see, I have always had an active imagination, which has helped me in my writing. The dreams probably induced me to begin writing because I felt compelled to chronicle all the crazy thoughts and dreams swirling around in my head. It continues today.
Which brings me to the beginning of this post. What sort of mind marries a dusty cave and Mr. Cumberbatch within a dream? This mind, and if you're still curious about the dream that woke me in the middle of the night, compelled me to write it down immediately, and impressed me so much I had to write a blog post about it, here you go...
The Wind IS the Magic
Walking alone on an old dirt road, I noticed a large outcrop of rocks and boulders. Cars on the nearby paved road would slow down and gaze at the pile. I felt an inexplicable draw to them as well and decided to inspect them up close. As I neared the pile, I heard a low howl coming from a narrow cave opening hidden behind the rubble. Curious, I wanted to get even closer.
I worked at removing the rocks to get at the opening. I grew tired and sweaty, but a growing sense of a magical force that dwelt within the cave beckoned me to continue. I worked alone, steady, determined, but without haste. When passers-by slowed to watch, I felt protective of the spot and its magic. I hoped no one would question me or offer to help. The place was mine alone.
Finally, I uncovered the opening and peered inside. Of course, it was dark and I couldn't see more than a few inches inside, but I was drawn toward its depths like a magnet. Although I was mesmerized, I hesitated to enter. A howling, low moan came from its mouth, and a damp, cool air seeped from its belly. Whatever lay within, whatever magic or power, waited for a witness.
I felt excited to experience something so otherworldly. I had always hoped to find proof of the mysterious fantasies I'd imagined. Then a sliver of doubt wormed its way into my mind. I suddenly felt silly. Rational thought overcame fanciful creations as I concluded that the sound came from the wind blowing through the opening of the cave.
The mystery lost its magic as my mind worked out the mechanical explanation for what my imagination wanted to be mystical. It felt like the moment I realized Santa Claus wasn't real, a letdown as the curtain drew back to reveal a simple man. Science overcame magic.
Part of me clung to the impossible. I needed help, like a desperate addict clamoring for a fix to bring me back to the feeling of that first perfect high. An insurmountable task, it seemed.
Then a good friend happened by, enter the aforementioned Mr. Cumberbatch,(a dreamworld version of Deus ex Machina). He was walking with a colleague, and they were deep in conversation. I latched on behind, quiet and waiting for an opportunity to interrupt. After a while, I could wait no longer and I burst between the two men. I implored my friend to come with me to the cave. He was the only person who could help me.
He agreed to follow me back, although I could see he was only humoring me. No matter, I only needed him to witness the cave, discuss it with me, and help me come to a conclusion. Once we reached the cave, I explained how I removed the rocks. I confessed to the feelings of faith in a magical entity contained within, and how I had come, begrudgingly, to the realization that the howling sound came from the wind, a perfectly rational explanation.
He listened patiently to my story. I knelt down in the dust by the opening and lowered my head in resigned shame. "Part of me still wants to believe in the magic, though. I can't help it," I confessed.
My friend sauntered to a nearby tree, leaned against the trunk, and examined his fingernails, eyebrows raised in mock boredom.
"Stop it," he replied with a shrug.
The words slammed into my chest and for a few moments, he left me there to ponder them.
Then I awoke.
But what does it mean?
When I returned to bed, I spent a few minutes contemplating the meaning of the dream. I do believe I understand it now. There doesn't need to be a struggle between logic and mystery. I can wonder about things that have yet to be explained by science. Rational thought can coexist with an utter sense of amazement at the natural world. I don't have to choose between wind or magic.
The wind is the magic.
I write novels and poetry and this blog.