Saturday, January 18, 2003

Dream Advice

Recently, with the return of insomnia, I've been lingering on the borders of sleep. This state of semiawareness leads to strange and apparently insightful mini-dreams: a single line, a single scene, a single image.

What they're saying:

"He's bleeding in ways you can't understand."

"He's afraid you won't recognize him."

"It has to be done with cell-model precision."

And tonight, after a couple of hours of utterly exhausted sleep, I woke screaming from a vision of a grave under a tree, and a hand emerging from it to seize me. The hard part is that the tree and the grave (or well, or spring) underneath it is familiar to me, part of my mental landscape for God knows how many years. Most of my life, I think. It's a real place that dates back to very early childhood. As the dream fades, so does the vivid picture of the place. What's left is the narrative memory that lets me describe it, a schematic idea lacking the brilliant sensory details, the memory of my drawings of it over the years. This is the tree I've always drawn. And tonight I was *there* — seeing, smelling, noting every twig, the texture of the bark, the color of the leaves.

I woke screaming, in terror, but the real sorrow of this isn't the nightmare. It's waking and losing that place.

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