Sunday, December 4, 2011


you showed up in a dream of mine recently--most people do, now and then. For a dream, this one was oddly plausible, except that the details were "wrong." Like, most of what happened was possible in waking life, even ordinary, and in character for the people in the dream, except some of the details were different than in waking life. You were visiting me for a week at my Mom’s house, and we went to a nearby natural history museum (example of a detail being wrong; there are no such museums nearby my Mom’s house) where we bumped into my friend, Jasmine, whom I introduced to you as an expert in sea otters. In waking life I’ve never heard her express any interest in natural science; all I remember her wanting to do professionally was to design cars. She loved cars. Of course, that was fifteen years ago, and I know nothing about her adult self, other than that she likes photography. She’s no slouch at photography these days, either. But she COULD have become a world-class expert in sea otters, for all I know. Anyway, in the dream, in the museum, there were live birds running around, all through the halls and exhibits. Running, not flying. I think they were semi-tame. I caught one in my hands, it was like a cross between a poorwill and a willet, and I asked you what it was, but you were on the other side of the room, paying attention to something else, and you only gave a smart-ass answer; "it's a brown one."

I said "that's not very helpful," and I tried looking at it, to see if I could notice anything worth telling you about, so maybe you could recognize the description and tell me what the bird was. What I noticed were its eyelashes, which were very long and also branched. I think the branching is typical for bird eyelashes, since they're modified feathers, but in the dream it totally fascinated me.

When I dream of birds, they're always specific--that is, they belong to species, even if I don't always know what the species is. They are not vague. Sometimes I know what they are, but more often , recently, I don’t. I feel like I should, like if I look closer I’ll be able to figure it out, but of course I can’t. And they’re dream-birds, so I can’t ask you (except when you’re in the dream, and you wouldn’t tell me). When I dream of plants it’s much better; I know, even in the dream, when I’m looking at a dream-plant. I know it’s nothing I’ve seen before, so I’m ok with that. Usually, they’re maples. I remember, one had dark, reddish, furrowed bark and small leaves. The shape was like Norway maple leaves, but they were smaller, and covered all over with brown fuzz.

But then waking life takes over and meets dreams halfway. Tonight, my husband and I walked out to the little beach on the bay at sunset. You couldn’t see the horizon, and the water was “slick cam,” as my husband says, the waterline nearly as stable and even as a bathtub. There was honking, and the occasional quacks, and fast wing beats going back and forth, or building to a crescendo, like a motor revving up, and we couldn’t see any of these birds, except for the occasional vague shadow, though they sounded so close. The geese were honking here and there, and when new geese flew in a flurry of honking erupted and then settled down to occasional honks…but spread farther out, like the patch of geese was getting bigger. And we couldn’t see any of it.

What were the geese saying?

-best, C.

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