The dreams in which I'm dying

2002 01 07 - 17:34

When I was a young woman of 19, I died. Now, once every few years I live the last night of my life over again in the dreams of someone who never knew me, and who doesn't know my name.

What follows is how she sees me; how I appeared to her the last time I lived the last night of my life.

I've had this recurring dream for years now - a dream in which I am living the last night of a very pretty young woman's life; a pretty young woman suffering such great pain that I have no words for it. Sometimes I wonder why I have this dream, why do I walk this heartache over and over? It's always the same, except for last night. There were differences in the dream last night; and though the details of it are fuzzy, I'll attempt to detail it for you - as much as I can recall from any time I've had this dream.

Always, always it starts in an immense mall.

She begins to walk from one end of the mall to the other. She has a party or some kind of dinner function to go to, and it's in a banquet hall located somewhere in that mall.

She walks with purpose, and as she does she realises that once again she's reliving the last night of her life. It's not that she just lives that night over and over again only. She lives her entire life, spends this one night in my dreams, dies, then comes back to live her life over again. She knows it, and so do I.

Along the way she will meet up with the girl who's been her best friend since she can remember. They begin to speak in heavy tones, but not ones of depression. These are ones of knowing, of thick emotion; tones that know.

"I know you," she'll say.

"Yes, I was sent to you when you were a child. I was sent to you tonight to give you comfort. I know you're going to die again tonight," her friend will say; in such a way that there's no mistaking her whole and sole purpose in the young woman's life was to watch over her and give comfort. Particularly on this last night.

The young woman will nod, and pick up a bag that contains the ballgown and accessories she will wear this evening.

For some reason I, as this girl, suddenly notice I'm wearing ridiculously high heels, and every few steps I fall on my ass. It doesn't seem to hurt, but it gets annoying and frustrating all the same.

The dream is semi-lucid, in that I know I'm dreaming, and I know I'm having a dream I've had before. I think to myself, about the shoes, "I don't remember this happening last time."

She begins to walk again and asks someone, it might have been the friend, where the bathroom is. She needs to change her clothes.

She enters the bathroom and squeezes herself into a far too small stall. She hears giggling some few stalls down, and realises that there are four other people in the bathroom with her. Two of them she knows are female, and one of them is her father who has just married one of these girls who can be no older than she is. She suffers a momentary pang, and opens the stall door so she has enough room to don her gown.

It's a gorgeous gown; a simple floor-length of a dulled robin's egg blue satin. It has a sheen of green to it when she turns this way and that; but it's almost imperceptible. There is a matching shawl which she wraps about her shoulders.

Suddenly her father is there by her side. They hug, and he speaks.

"I love you," he says.

"I know father, I love you too. I'm going to die again tonight. This is my last night."

He knows, they hug once more, and she leaves.

She begins to walk through this mall again and realises that she doesn't know where Hungry's is. This is the name of the place where this banquet is supposed to be. "This didn't happen in the dream before. It was never a restaurant." Being unable to find it she enters the grocery store and asks for directions from two Asian stock clerks who remain stoic and silent.

"I know it's this way, but where exactly?" She looks around and out at the darkness of the night. It's 11 p.m. "I don't recall her ever being this late for the party before," I think to myself.

This time I woke at this point, though there are times I wake after she's been to the party. I don't remember if I ever know how she dies; but I know that after that party something tragic happens to her. Perhaps it is because of something that happens during that party.

There is more sorrow to it than I can describe; there is such an aching sadness of knowing and necessity throughout the whole thing. She hurts so much, and is powerless to stop living this night over and over.

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When you go out to the woods today

2002 01 06 - 17:39

In the town of Ancaster there is a place called the Hermitage; an old, burned out, and supposedly haunted farm house. The stories of why it's haunted are many, and no one can be sure which is true; at least I'm not. All I know is that the place does have an aura about it; a very strange feeling.

What's left of the house - hollow and gutted - stands alone in a clearing; remnants of stone walls that have managed to survive several fires. In fact, if you look into the corner of two of them, you can see a burnt section of wall that was more likely left by the smoke rising from someone's campfire than anythng else. We all, in our minds that need ghost stories and explanations of everything, imagine that the smoke pattern on the wall is in the shape of a young woman; the young woman who supposedly haunts the place.

You can see her at night, they say, framed in the misshapen remains of an upper window; forever waiting for her lost love.

Being in the middle of the woods the house and clearing are a favourite haunt for the bush parties of teenagers, who flock there at night during the warmer months, and hikers. The Bruce Trail touches there, in fact; a series of hiking trails that snake all over the Niagara region of Southern Ontario.

One sunny, summery afternoon my friend Diane and I drove out there to the Hermitage. Neither of us had ever seen it during the day; in fact, I bet most people haven't. We walked around the farm house and then went into the trails.

We had a stroke of genius, "Hey, let's pack some sandwiches one day, and walk from here to Tobermory." which is another town you can reach through the Bruce Trail. Somehow it had escaped both our minds that Tobermory isn't exactly... nearby. We abandoned our plan post haste when we got back to civilisation and someone told us just precisely how long it takes to drive there, nevermind walk there.

It's wonderful out there, the trees are so tall and straight, and the light filters down in a light golden green. They're close, but not choking like some forests. There is enough space for you to wander freely and sit comfortably. It's these kinds of woods I like best, where I can feel cocooned, but not strangled.

I was looking up, trying to see the woodpecker I could hear rat-tat-tatting somewhere high above, and was about to take a step forward when I looked down at my feet; and immediately got down on my hands and knees to get a much closer look at what was there.

A trillium, with it's trefoil petals, so clean and white and solitary.

They're very rare, the Trilliums. Having a growth span of seven years, and being illegal to pick; they've won their place as the provincial flower of Ontario.

It never occurred to me to want a camera; even though I'd never seen one before, and haven't seen one since. It seemed right and perfect where it was. Right and perfect and sublime in its nest at the foot of that tree.

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The piper at the gates of dawn

2002 01 04 - 20:33

In life there are moments. A piece of time that captures all that is good, lovely, and profound. These moments can heal a soul, elate, and encapsulate some Zen-like, inexplicable sense of perfection. They are perfect.

In all my life I've experienced only three or four such moments, but all that comes to mind at the moment, is one.

Having my own money and time to spend, I went to visit the place of my birth when I was 19 years old. There is nothing remarkable about this trip; outside of my surly frame of mind and one foggy morning.

At too-damned-early o'clock, before anyone else had risen for the day, I got up and went out onto my aunt's front porch. I stood, with my arms folded across the porch railing, looking around at sights that had been part of my life - albeit intermittently - since the day I was born.

It was a gorgeous fog, rich and blanketing, but not at all choking, and not at all chilled. It was easy to imagine, in a fog like that, that I was the only person awake and alive in the world.

Everything was so preciously still and silent, but slipping up on me unnoticed at first, came what is still one of the most gorgeous sounds on this planet; to me, at least. It's sad that it's so dischordant and uncomfortable to some, particularly when it's done improperly.

Plaintively and lovely, it came slipping through the mists. Somewhere, somewhere out there sharing my morning with me, a piper played his homage.


Footnotes: Bagpipes, by the way.

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Whatever your heart clings to

2002 01 03 - 20:36

Millions of people over thousands of years, have debated the nature and purpose of what they term as god. Wars fought, families split, hate aggravated... over something we are - on the other hand - supposed to see as an entity of peace and love. So much distress over whose idea is correct.

They all are, and none of them are. It's a fruitless debate, and a cyclical argument that cannot be won.

I don't believe in God; I don't think I ever really did. Not even when I was young and going through the pretenses of trying to be a good Catholic. Then again, it seems to me that religion has nothing to do with God, and more to do with the faith of humanity, or the need of humanity to find a sense of belonging in something and a higher power to explain the things for which we can - as yet - divine no answer.

To some, God is nothing more than power; that which they may use to bend, bind, and control, others. The deities of fame and fortune to serve the master.

That seems so empty; so devoid of substance. Basing a faith or a way of life upon so fleeting a thing. Inner strength seems so much more worthwhile, though it be as fleeting a thing as the others. Still, ephemeral or no, it seems a better practice to build upon that which we can carry within us; rather than to build on that which has no real connection to us at all - that which exists completely outside of our own bodies.

So, what's best and better? What is God? What is love? How can you explain any of it?

You can't, but at the same time you can.

As simplistic as this might be to some, and as open to use for negative purpose as it might be, the only explanation that can satisfy everyone, is the following quote:

Whatever your heart clings to, that is your God.

So, what is God? God is that which is central to your being; that which is core to you; that which is most important to your life; that which you love.

Love is no more easy to define than God, even though we bandy that word around so lightly, and often so limply. We put so little weight behind a word that we can - at times - cling to so strenuously; more dependant on it, it seems, than life or breath itself.

There's another confusion though, the mistaken perception that sex equals love, or that somewhere on some level you can't have one without the other. Why is it that we've bred a world full of individuals who think sex and love are the same thing?

Anyhow...

There are as many different kinds and interpretations of this chameleon creature we call love, as there are interpretations of that entity some call God.

We can't, much to the chagrin of many, and much to the consternation of others, all live life with the same definition of love. We all have the same ideal of what it is; the same larger concept. But each and every single one of us has a different spin on it; and each and every one of us has a million little different ways in which we express it, and to what we express it.

What is love, then? Love, also, is whatever your heart clings to.

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Moments

2001 12 27 - 21:06

It's a wonderful, heady feeling, when you realise that you can still surprise yourself; when you realise it's still there inside you someplace.

The weather conspired to snow, and I am cooped up comfortably in my flat, trying the various ways I know to keep from feeling chilled straight through. Flannel jammies in blue and green plaid, a big sweater, hand-knit purple socks, and a warm cup of freshly made tea. Look, I never said I colour-coordinate when I'm lounging. So there.

This would be a night of cocoa, but I haven't any; and frankly, I'm just not prepared to put on proper clothing and walk 'round to the store to buy some.

The weather conspired to snow, and it lays like infrequent lacework across the streets, and lawns, and parked cars that huddle against the curb looking for even an ounce of warmth. There they sit, their dirt covered or washed away by the whiteness; looking fresh and clean and nearly new.

I remember once coming around a corner in the dark of a winter night. The air was cold, the sky clear, and the moon fully bright and visible. There, there stood a tree covered in ice. Each branch was like crystal, sheathed in perfectly clear ice; stalactite and pristine. It glimmered. It was one of the most beautiful things I'd ever seen.

Often I wish I had a photograph of it, some kind of keepsake to remind myself of its loveliness. Some things, though, are better fleeting. They are meant not to last in any measure but our memory. They are meant to be of the moment and momentous.

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Value

2001 12 20 - 21:16

I think we're all prone to wanting to be what we aren't, simply because we get so used to being what we are that we lose sight of its value.

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When We Were Young

2001 12 03 - 22:26

Oh when we were young,
And the future was only tomorrow,
When all we saw,
Was a brand new day,
And all we knew of sorrow,
Was yesterday.

Oh when we were young,
And hope meant a sunny afternoon,
When all we wanted,
Was for the moon,
Not to come too quickly,
Too soon.

Oh when we were young,
And knew we were immortal,
Knew we'd live forever,
Never a better day than today,
Never a better time,
Than right now.

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Unintentional quasi-haiku

2001 11 29 - 22:29

The point of changing,
Is rearranging what was,
Into what will be.

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It's not only a journey of sight and mind, it's also one of sound

2001 11 28 - 22:30

I can set my clock by the noises I hear.

The sprinkler on the lawn across the road in summer, means it's 3:35 a.m. precisely. The whooshing breath of the neighbour's dog, means that it's 6 a.m. on the dot. The overly loud television sounds from downstairs, means that it's past 6 p.m. on the weekends.

I don't know that people pay all that much attention to the ambient noises in their lives; those noises blend into the background so easily. They melt in, and we stop noticing them after a while. Sometimes we only notice the absence of them, too.

When I first moved into this flat I stopped hearing the trains, and missed them. I missed the rumble of thousands of tonnes of heavy metal scraping across tracks, the whistles as they crossed streets. It was a small hole in my day that took a long while to get filled in with some other noise that I now no longer notice; some other sound that's lost its meaning admist the conglomeration of other sounds that bury it.

Some mornings it's interesting to sit and listen to the world waking up around you. One sound, then another, then a few more. They're like layers of icing on a cake. Too many, as I said, can bury the flavour of the cake underneath.

One layer, then another, then another still. They build.

I can't sleep in dead silence. I remember once during highschool I slept over at a friend's. At the time she lived in what I'll term "the middle of nowhere". I was so used to the noises of major streets and inner cities, that being out there in the dead of night was near numbing. There was nothing; no sound at all. Not even her dog barked or made noise. It took me ages to fall asleep in the wasteland of deadness that pressed around me in the dark.

Some morning, if you can, sit in silence before dawn and listen to the world wake up around you. Listen as the layers of icing on the cake coalesce to form a day.

What do you hear?

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Four-letter words

2001 11 23 - 22:35

Like is a four-letter word,
Linking in kindred empathies.

Love is a four-letter word,
Like opulent, voluptuous entanglement.

Hate is a four-letter word,
Helps aggravation to eternity.

Fear is a four-letter word,
False evidence appearing real.

Pain is a four-letter word,
Pulsating, acute, intense nausea.

Hope is a four-letter word,
Having opinions positively expanding.

Time is a four-letter word,
Trust it mends eventually.

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