Dream Images

I had to go to the mainland for an errand and was returning to the main ship on the ferries.  We dock and rather than jockeying for position I look at the view until I end up at the back of the line without a care about it.  There is something I loathe about being in a hurry in a crowd. Sooner or later, everyone gets off so why bother feeling an ounce of stress over it? But as I walk up the ramp, the hydraulics start operating and it begins to elevate the ramp closer to the ceiling.  I have to crawl to try and make it before it closes.  And then I start rolling toward the narrow opening but get stuck.  It holds me there with my face pressed between the ramp and the ceiling. The others board on the other side and we return to the mainland while I watch the main ship take off and recede toward the horizon.  And I see my squished face from a bird’s eye view trailing the boat and I look so ridiculous. Like some foolish clown or comedian stuck in a pinch. I wonder if I should’ve cared about being first off the ferry in the first place. Because now I’m paying an absurdly heavy price for being so nonchalant. But at least the ramp didn’t crush my head so I’m lucky in some respect. Finally we dock and the ramp releases me. Abandoned, I wander through the streets wondering what to do and where to go until I hear people screaming around the corner. Something is happening and it sounds terrible. A major flood of water rushes and swings from around the corner. Waves smash into the streets. I’m running as fast as I can.  Many people are running up some stairs. I follow them to a third story balcony of some corporate building and we watch the city float by as if we were back on the main ship.

Here are some images I put together based on this dream of monoliths floating down the old archetypal river.

River Path

I’m a child again.  The car seems like a cavern on wheels.  Mom and dad are yelling at each other. I slink to the back row and slump down to look up and out the window.  I brace myself for each violent bend in the road by the river. The gravity pulls me with a force greater than my entire being.  I fear we may slide off the road.

My sweaty little hands hold on to the seat as I press myself into it with my feet. The momentum hurls forward as the brakes squeal.  Dad bites his fist then punches the ceiling rapidly. Mom screams bloody murder.

We take another turn and I feel that dread of being on a rollercoaster beyond my threshold.  I stare up at the trees pirouetting away, as my body is jostled at the whim of this death car. Gushing downstream, they are heading for their abyss, and I, unseen and forgotten, am along for another ride.  

Decades later, I return to the river roads of Colorado.  I sit on the rocks at the bank of the river. It’s movement is as big to me now as that car was when I was a kid.  The turbulent water mimics the chaos of my parents. The domineering boulders loom over me and cast blue shadows on the whitewash.  My eyes catch momentum with the tortuous river. Its roar drowns out the distant screams of memories.  

And the flow carries me to another river.  A smoother river with gentle turns and a wider pathway.  An ancient river who has the most curious objects floating down it.  On the banks, I wait and collect whatever comes my way. The water has particles in it that sparkle with the warmest light.  It washes over the rocks in a cleansing way. The soft sand molds itself to my foot. If I swim in it, it’s as wide or narrow as I want it to be. 

This is an ancient place of sustenance for people of cultures formed along rivers all across the world and ever since we’ve been a species. There are currents of this water that flow from the oldest rivers of consciousness.  It’s where Charon waits with his ferry.  

My familiarity with this deep river feels etched into my biological self.  The habitual patterns of ancient people gleaming along my nervous system like the golden light slipping over the surface of the river. 

And the feeling of being in a vessel far bigger than me returns. Only this time, the car has transformed into a ship who forms to whatever shape the river takes.  

And so I play River Man by Nick Drake.  And his melancholic tone twists and turns into the most delicate sentiment.  The beauty of sorrow transformed by the flow of guitar playing. There is an immensity of courage in this kind of work. 

Where tragedy becomes art. Where trauma and loss are whitewash, more process than cause for resentment. Where everyone must navigate a path within this overwhelming flow of shared consciousness.