I woke up at 4:30 am this morning, wrapped in my sheets, my legs coiled over the side of the bed, and my head buried between my two pillows.
When my eyelids finally pushed past the sleepy-crusts that were dried along the edges of my face, I noticed that it was still dark out - and my TV was still running.
It was on some old drama/action flick. Some unknown piece of cinematic junk but regardless, I have a feeling that whatever dialogue or plot that was going on in that movie affected what was happening in my dream.
Now I don't dream too often. And I usually dream in sequences - meaning I will go sleeping for a while without dreams and then within one week, all of a sudden, I will have three or four dreams in consecutive nights.
I had this dream that I climbed into this black Scion, and it was mine, of course. I had the feeling that I wasn't supposed to be driving, so I realized that it is a present time dream - I have a license but I am still not able to drive by myself yet.
Anyways, so I find myself on this dirt road path. It's windy, and misshapened, and headed into this wooded area. Rather than be scary, it's almost peaceful and serene, and calming. I have the feeling that I have been here before, and there are bits and pieces of the scenery around me that I recognize from other dreams.
Finally, I reach my destination. I walk out of my car and towards this huge structure. Let me try to explain it to you - never at any one time am I able to see the entire structure for its full being - possibly because it represents a lot of different things for me. What I do know is that it is dark, but well lit when it needs to be by candlelight, or dim mood lighting - like in a theatre.
I get the sense that the building is very organic. Made of trees, dirt, water - completely one with the earth. And as I am walking through the hallways of this place (that seem to be made of dirt tunnels) I am passing by hundreds of people. People in groups, people in classes, people making art, people reading poetry out loud to each other. Everybody is dressed in this neo-bohemian chic kind of style. The kind of clothes I remember wearing in high school.
I am wandering through the halls, and I feel at home, and at ease - but I also don't know where I am headed. Suddenly, I find this lady. Her name is Grace, or Tanya...I can't really remember her name. But it sounded sweet, and it sounded familiar. She is a few years older than me, possibly in her 30's. She has long brown hair that is naturally wavy, and she has a head band keeping her bangs from her forehead. She has a gentle face.
There was something about the way our conversation was going that made me feel that she was an old friend. The way she spoke with me was as if she had known me for years. She would smile, and touch her hand to my cheek and nod for emphasis as I continued to speak.
I don't know the entire conversation, in fact, I only remember bits here and there of what we were saying. I remember telling her that I was having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. I told her I was having trouble finding myself through my dreams, finding myself through my day-to-day routine. Not "finding myself" as in my sanity - as in finding myself on a deeper scale. On an emotional and spiritual scale, the confidence that I used to have in that part of my soul that I have long become a stranger to. But I didn't have to explain all of that to her. She already knew exactly where I was coming from.
She told me to sit and to wait for her to come back. So I sat propped up against one of the dirt covered tunnel walls and waited patiently. It didn't seem like she was gone for long. When she returned, she had a pile of papers.
"These are you, E," she said offering me the pile of papers, "I have known you all your life. Remember the first handmade card you sent me from school?"
On top was a construction paper handmade card that I had made for Fourth of July when I was in preschool. It was tied with red ribbons on one side to keep the pages together. It was white on the front and had the American flag on the front.
"Yes, I remember now. I remember...but it just seems so long ago, and I don't know if my mind and my soul can remember who I am," I said feeling tears come to my eyes as I sat running my hands through the pages in the pile, realizing that they were every single short story, every single poem and art project that I had ever written or created since a little girl.
She put her hand on my shoulder and crept down to me.
"No matter what, these are you. They were you, and they are you. You never left your soul - you just took different roads - different paths- but they are all paths and roads within the same place that you have always known. You just need to patient to get back to the main road and the main journey."
She gripped my hand and bade me to follow her down the dark tunnels. We passed by people that looked familiar to me: people I had met in workshops in New York, in Philly, people who I had taken writing classes with, people from my high school, people that I had encountered through all my artistic journeys and endeavors. They were selling wares - their art, their poetry, or they were reciting poetry, and writing. The whole world in these tunnels was extremely comforting to me, and I felt like I never wanted to leave this place - or at least make sure that I came back more often than it seemed I had been going.
Finally, we reached one of the little kiosks that were within the tunnels. It was close to the main front entrance of the place because I saw a ray of light in front of us. She smiled and went through this kiosk of books, rummaging to try to find for me what she thought was exactly what I needed to get out of this slump.
She pulled out a book full of pages and pages of stories and pictures of crowds. Paintings, photos, artwork of people's faces, and groups of people in one place.
"If you read these stories, and these poems that are inside here, you will find that they are filled with a message and feeling and sense of hope and calmness. You will find the words are soft to the sound - soft to the lips as you pronounce them...and you won't have problems sleeping ever again. These will give you peace of mind. If you stare at the pictures of the people long enough - you will find that you know each and every single one of them by heart. They are your friends, they are people who love you, they are your family. They are here for you, as much as I am."
With that, she placed the things into a sack for me and handed it to me. She grabbed me into a big hug and held onto me tightly, kissing my face on the forehead and both of my cheeks twice.
That's when I woke up. That's when I started writing this blog and going through the massive piles of poetry and prose books all over my room.
The first book I picked up was a Pablo Neruda book of poetry and as I flipped through the pages, the first page I stopped to was this one:
Too Many Names
Monday is tangled up with Tuesday
and the week with the year:
time can't be cut
with your tired scissors,
and all the names of the day
are rubbed out by the water of the night.
No one can be named Pedro,
no one is Rosa or Maria,
all of us are dust or sand,
all of us are rain in the rain.
They have talked to me of Venezuelas,
of Paraguays and Chiles,
I don't know what they're talking about:
I'm aware of the earth's skin
and I know that it doesn't have a name.
When I lived with the roots
I liked them more than the flowers,
and when I talked with a stone
it rang like a bell.
The spring is so long
that it lasts all winter:
time lost its shoes:
a year contains four centuries.
When I sleep all these nights,
what am I named or not named?
And when I wake up who am I
if I wasn't I when I slept?
This means that we have barely
disembarked into life,
that we've only now just been born,
let's not fill our mouths
with so many uncertain names,
with so many sad labels,
with so many pompous letters,
with so much yours and mine,
with so much signing of papers.
I intend to confuse things,
to unite them, make them new-born,
intermingle them, undress them,
until the light of the world
has the unity of the ocean,
a generous wholeness,
a fragrance alive and crackling.