Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dreams and a Rose

“What if you slept?
And what if, in your sleep, you dreamed?
And what if, in your dream, you went to heaven
and there plucked a strange and beautiful flower?
And what if, when you awoke,
you had the flower in your hand?
Ah, what then?” Samuel Taylor Coleridge
     I’ve always liked this observation because it begins with “What if you slept?” I don’t sleep a lot. Not sleeping a lot usually means you don’t dream a lot. My sleep is more like a crash and wake up type of sleep with little time to look out the window.
     There are two dreams that I do remember, both of which are quite old. The first dream placed me at the dedication of a historical museum in San Francisco. The dedication was on the waterfront overlooking the San Francisco Bridge. I was delivering the speech. Part of the speech has stayed with me like an old dog eared book. “It seems that as one ages a desire to bring the past forward becomes important. It seems that while one is still aging, that is to say, still young, the desire is to rush forward into the future, to leave the past behind.
     "This building is next to this magnificent bridge for a reason. It is here to allow those of us trying to bring the past forward to the present in order to understand the future, to meet with those trying to leave the present and rush forward into the future, because the past, to them, has little relevance – or memory. One cannot go to either side without looking into the faces of those going to the other side. To go “to” you have to go “toward.””
     The second dream is even older. I was sitting in a large waiting room resembling a cathedral or banquet hall. Names of the people were called out. I asked the person next to me how would they know we were there. When I was told we signed in when we entered total panic rippled throughout my body. They would not be able to read my writing. My signature and writing are notorious for awarding doctor’s for excellence in penmanship. All I remember is sitting there wondering if they would know I was there.
     There are days that feel like YouTube snippets of dreams. Sound bites of “one day,” “gosh I wish I could,” “if only,” and “if only nots.” Whatever the time frames, I am zooming from one side of the bridge to another, desperately moving from one video to another to find ‘what I’m searching for’. I am madly going “to.” Other days I suddenly look in the mirror, or I have to scroll up on the side bar to click on the year of my birth (more than one click sometimes) and I wonder where the dreams have gone. It is as if I’m sitting in the waiting room and for whatever reason, they no longer see me.
     And then there are days when I awake not to an alarm clock but to a voice that knows my name and calls me ‘toward’, no longer ‘to.’ My heart draws closer and I hear gentle laughter. Looking over my shoulder, there on my bed, where I slept and dreamt, is a rose. I pick up the rose and its crotchety thorn pricks my finger – a reminder to stay awake and remember. The fragrance tickles my nose making me giggle. And with that gift, whether from heaven or not, I hear my name, I have been seen and I cross the bridge moving toward.