Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I wish I was still dreaming

I had a lovely dream last night. No interpretation required, it was rife with symbolism and full of promise. The colours were vivid, like autumn in Ontario, reds, golds, harvest hues and rich with the glow of the setting sun.

I am at the Fen (I've had two dreams about the Fen now), only the Fen is more like a farm than a writer's retreat. People I know are there - the people who came on the retreat, and some family members. Cara (my SIL) is colouring Peggy's hair (Peggy is one of my best friends from high school). She's trying to cover the grey underneath Peggy's dark curls. Under the layer of dark hair, peggy's hair is very grey, it looks as grey as her mother's hair used to be. She looks up at me and for a second she is wearing her own mother's face. Her mother passed a year ago. Darinka, a former co-worker is there as well. Darinka is spreading her unique brand of darkness everywhere, complaining about everything. I lived with that negativity for two years, and I was never so happy to see the back of someone as I was when my job and I parted ways. She doesn't spread light and love very easily - instead she focuses on what's wrong and what could go wrong, spreads gossip, anxiety and cruelty.

It's the last day of the retreat. Megan and Emily seem to be there too, at least some of the time. We are getting ready to leave, cleaning our rooms, putting furniture back. Someone (woman, blonde hair, English accent) comes into my room and advises me on how to make my room look right, just the way it looked before I came. I won't do that, but I don't tell her. There are things I am not moving because I like them, and I'm planning to use the room again next year, or sooner. Things like the Christmas lights that are taped to the windows, the arrangement of bed and chair.

My window looks out into the garden, and I can see everyone gathered for the feast. There are enormous piles of uncooked chrimp on the table, people are eating it, but I don't think it's safe. There is other food there, more food that we can possibly eat. Abundance. I am distracted, going to find Emily, admiring the enormous flowers growing around the house. A bed of yellow Zinnias has replaced the back steps. Beyond the trees is a vegetable garden. EWven though it's the end of summer, the garden is full of luscious, ripe strawberries.

The sun is beginning to set, the trees are starting to cast a shadow, but I'm not ready to leave. We eat shrimp, Darink complaining all the time. A live cricket crawls out of the shrimp, and ferron says that I'm not supposed to eat that one. I let it hop away. (I think that crickets are symbolic of good luck in Chinese folklore)> We are relaxing, we know it's almost time to go, but I feel like I'm not going, I feel like I can stay in the yard with the zinnias forever. The shadows over the yard are longer, and I feel like I can stay here forever. In my non-dreaming life, I've lacked a sense of place for months, for longer, because I don't feel like I fit anywhere. I fit here, the land is the glove I wear around my work-roughened hands, the adornment of my body, the rbeath I take. Emily and I prepare to gather strawberries. I get a sense that I've helped prepare the land, the feast we're eating, and that I get an equal share in the harvest.

On top of a cupboard in the house (an old farmhouse, well-kept, beautiful wood floors and antique furniture) are many packages of seeds, arranged in neat rows, ready to plant for next year. I feel like I am ready - in waking life, I'm not sure what I was ready for in the dream. Whatever's going on around me is irrelevant, because I've decided that I'm going to stay. I open the back door, look at the beautiful yellow zinnias, watch the sun go down and realize that I've found the place where I belong. No one will aske me to elave, they all know I'm going to stay, except Darinka, and I don't care what she thinks. I let go of any responsibility I felt towards pleasing her more than six months ago.

When I wake up, there is this delicious warmth around me. It feels like someone else is in the bed with me, I am warm and comfortable and loved. I keep my eyes closed for a while, drinking in that feeling of closeness with someone (who? who is she?) because I know when I fully waken she will be gone. I wake up alone, but the warmth lingers.

And then there's real life. The older daughter owes me money and can't get it together. I've lent her more than I should have, and now I've put myself in a tight spot, and I'm really starting to feel the weight of her dependency. No more of that, and now she knows. And when we call to hash things out, she tells me that she wants to sell sham-wows at the local market, that she'll make hundreds of dollars a day, and she can pay me back, and this was the answer to all her problems. Two days ago she wanted to travel around through the states and start singing her own music, and meeting new people. In my strange way, I liked yesterday's option better, even though both fantasies are born of pure desperation. She really needs to move home, even though we're going to have to do some work to accomodate her. And adjust her fantasies to create a new reality, where she's not living on the edge of despair and poverty. I've sheltered her from that up until now, but my own finances will not allow me to go any further. She's telling me she's ready to grow up in one breath, and in another, she's dreaming about finding the easy way out of her current situation. That's life when you're eighteen, I guess. I probably did the same.

Another golden day. Time to pull weeds and plant flowers, walk to market and enjoy a coffee on the way.


Maria said...

What splendid dream recall you have!

Enjoy your coffee..

Camlin said...

I did...and then I spilled it. But I enjoyed what was left in the bottom of my cup, and walked home smelling like Tim Horton's.

Shani said...

Wow. Deliciously vivid. I used to remember dreams like that; once in a while I can, but usually not to quite the sensory-oriented detail.

I hope you got some of that weed-pulling in! I know mine will help me sleep well tonight!

Be well, Arial.