The Dream of Ruts.

As far as dreams go, this one was a garden variety anxiety dream, things left undone, slight guilt involved, and nothing dramatic or scary or even incredibly interesting happened, except the detail of the dream, the vividness, the sheer sense of reality, and how even when I was awake and sure it was a dream, I was not at all. 

The setting was here, at Hickory Head, and my neighbor owns an overflow pond which is mostly dry. In the dream, someone I don’t know in reality, but was a main character in the dream world, okay, let’s pause for this. 

The dream character was a man who clearly was involved in the day to day operation of my neighbor’s farm. He was a middle aged guy, long hair and a beard, friendly, fair, but concerned.

He came to ask me what I planned to do about the gouges in the bank of the overflow pond. Apparently, he had pulled my truck out from near the bank, and it had left deep grooves in the grass. He wanted me to fill them in, and smooth out the area. 

This is how it should be. If you leave a mess on someone’s property you ought to fix it, and no one should have to ask you about it. Of course, I was aghast at this, and even though we were inside my house, I had a memory of the event, and how it looked after I was pulled out, and I knew if it rained, and it had, the ruts would get worse with erosion. 

Now, the event itself, of me getting pulled out was not part of the dream, but inside the dream, I had a memory of it. 

My mind created a memory out of nothing, inserted that memory into my dream, which it had created out of nothing, and the two creations were part of a whole, even though they were different. 

In the dream, I quickly agreed to repair the damage, apologized, and the dream shifted away from that event and into something I cannot remember now. Yet when I woke up, somewhere around three this morning, my mind made plans for the work. I would fill the ruts in, compact the soil as much as I could, and transplant some grass there, to keep it all from being washed away. 

Then, my mind sought a memory of the event, and found it filed under Dreams, and I slowly became aware none of this had ever happened. Dream, and dream memory, fought with reality, and finally lost. But it took a few moments for the feeling, the emotions, to dissipate. 

When we listen to someone with dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease, and wonder how is this possible, remember in your own mind, waking up terrified of some dream monster, or anxiety ridden over some unfinished dream task, or aroused and ready over some passionate encounter in a dream, all of this, every moment of it, exists entirely within the realm of your mind. 

Take Care,

Mike

In Memory of Clouds

Memory is a strange, fluid, ethereal part of the human mind, and we are constantly reminded memory is flawed, perhaps tragically so, yet we rely upon it, swear that it is true, even as we search for some lost item, convinced it is somewhere it clearly is not, and was not, at least not this time. 

But time too, is something we both worship and ignore, like a god we know that one day will kill us, yet we spend time staring off into space, wondering what to do with it before our death comes to us, when our time is finished. 

Yesterday’s dawn brought me clouds low and fast moving, and clouds above them, two different colors, the contrast exciting for I remember seeing clouds like this when I was a small child. I was in the city pool, watching the clouds, standing in cold water up to my shoulders, amazed at the two layers of atmosphere which both held clouds. We adults tend to forget that children experience life as a series of wonders, the planet and life still alien to them, the colors still a mystery, the names of so many things still unknown, and perhaps unknowable, and there in the cold water of the early summer pool, I had no idea if what I was seeing was common, or rare, or had never happened before.

What I was certain of was school was out. School was prison, it was torture, humiliating, and to have three months of my life free of school was like learning to fly. And there, in the water, a liquid world of weightlessness, and pure pleasure, I looked up at the clouds, more water, and full of delight at being alive. The sharp sense of cold from both the wind and the water, the sight of clouds moving above, the feel of bareness of my feet on the concrete of the pool, and there in that moment, memory formed and stayed forever. 

Or did it? 

But now the pool is gone. Crushed and buried on site, the vacant lot seems tiny in comparison to what I remember, the poles that held the lights are gone, the tanks that cleaned the water are gone, and nothing remains. Children, very young children, have grown up to have children of their own, and they too have kids now, and some of those children whose bare feet paddled them around in the water have been long since dead. Their memories circled the drain of life, like the last time the pool was emptied, and now, nothing remains of those moments of wonder they might have experienced.

Was it ever real? How much has been transmogrified by time and polluted by remembering, and therefore changed in some way, until like a painting touched up too many times, only a template of the original remains, but no one notices. Yet the sight of clouds under clouds, clouds over clouds, scurrying away, different colors, different winds, still delight me. I still feel the cold water, the cold air of early June, the feeling that just above me, out of reach, was something beautiful, wonderful, magical, and transient. It was glorious. It was exhilarating. It was incredible.

It was life. 

Take Care,

Mike 

Those Who Can, Teach.

The lockdown proved parents were unable, or unwilling, to teach their children. It proved that the public school system is day care, not education. Parents, by and large, had no idea how to interact with their own kids for more than a couple of hours at a time, and people were totally lost without having a job to escape their parental responsibilities.

Test scores across the board have tanked. Students didn’t absorb as much information from remote learning as they did in the classroom, and to be fair, their parents were not, and they are not, qualified to teach. 

            You might think there’s an object lesson for parents here, that they would come to a fuller and deeper, and undying, appreciation for the work teachers do, and for the school system that provides their children an education, and provides parents an escape from their own failings to learn, and their own inability to interact with their children when it comes to teaching those children anything greater than how to operate a microwave. 

            But of course, you would be wrong, horribly wrong. 

            Since 2021, the year after prevention of the plague became a political issue and not one of public health, local boards of education have been swamped with people, usually parents, who suddenly have time for education, as long as that education exclusively consists of banning books. The same people who could not improve their children’s reading scores at home are now seeking to get rid of books they themselves have not, or cannot read. 

            Like the plague, suddenly education is a political issue, but not for the betterment of schools, or students, or math, science, reading, language skills, or any other subject, oh no, it’s all about banning books. 

Those who can, teach, those who cannot, politic. 

Take Care,

Mike

I struggled through Yoga this morning for the dream would not leave me. The dream itself was unfocused, vague and shadowy, unformed yet it persisted far into the practice. The more I tried to focus on reality, the more the transaction of the dream spoke to me. 

Now that I am home, and writing, the realization comes this dream is not transient of anxiety and daily woes, but it will return some night, and it asks that I prepare. 

Last night’s dream was a parade of personalities that had no form but were living ideas that floated and dissipated like clouds in the darkness. No light, no real images, but I could see them inside my head, and I could feel them, as if their very existence was nothing but feelings and free form emotions. Then towards the end, something, someone, the thing that was driving this all, came and sat down on my bed, and it its mass was real and significant. 

I woke up to discover the dream, and nothing was left of it, no real memories of what was there and what had left, as if in the dream I existed, and in waking, did not.

Abyss

We’re not supposed to be here, like this, we never were supposed to, and now that we are here, none of us really know what we’re supposed to be doing. That’s lost, long gone, so far removed from who we are it’s unattainable. There is no path back to us. We are going to die and the only thing that’s barely possible is not to drag the entire planet down with us. 

We are our own asteroid.

Imagine the fate of trillions of lives, our lives, the lives of plants, animals, insects, fish, whales, birds, bees, snakes, earthworms, all of those lives, everything, depending on some aging white guy somewhere not starting a nuclear war over someone else’s territory. 

That defines who we’ve become, until of course, it doesn’t anymore. But since white people first used nuclear weapons on someone else’s territory, it’s been a constant threat.

Don’t think of the term “white” as a color or a race. Think of it as a culture, a sort of system of values that determines how its members treat the earth. In nearly every town, large and small, all across white culture, the largest structure they have created is a landfill. Their waste is bigger than any building they have erected, it is more massive than any school, any hall of learning, any museum of art or hospital. Their waste is packed into the ground, poured into dying rivers, pumped into the air, and it is so ubiquitous, that no square inch of any human city can be seen without some piece of waste, trash, a cigarette butt, a plastic detritus, or litter on it.  

Unlike cultures from this distant past, whose stone tools and cave painting leave us scant evidence they were here, our existence is going to be a scar, long, deep, colored in the hues of massacre and extinction. But only for a little while longer, until we fling ourselves into the abyss we have worked so hard to create in our own image.