Harvesting Nightmares

Nightmares can be a harvesting delight for the would-be storyteller….a juicy portal into the psychological “bump in the night” terrors…a rich cramming of subconscious symbols and archetypes.

For me, the latest nightmare sequence complete with freshly awakened “creep out” started with me simply chatting with someone (a blend of people) that I know. We are walking down a hall and we walk past a door from my childhood. I feel a shiver of cold across my shoulders.

There is a noise behind that door. It’s like a combination of a cat hacking a hairball, a child crying and something evil laughing, all rolled together. I’m not sure what it is but the more I listen, the more I can hear pull out the sound of weeping.

The person I’m talking to says she’s just laughing. She’ll fall asleep soon.

I said no. Something isn’t right. I grip the doorknob and twist.

The room inside is dark…. A wide contrast to the sunlight beaming through the windows on the other side of the door. And the feel of the air is brooding and heavy.

It’s a bedroom. My little grandson’s former bedroom but it’s my daughter at age 3 sitting there in his small bed.

From the faint light I can see she is covered in blood. Her hair is in her face and her eyes are rimmed with black….but it isn’t her eyes that are looking at me.

They are cold fire. I’ve seen those eyes before in other dreams but it never looked at me from a loved one’s face. It is a demon and it’s wearing my daughter’s flesh.

I stare at her heartsick, afraid and unsure for the space of maybe two heartbeats before I run. I scoop her tiny body into my arms and run for the bathroom.

The water is running in the sink. I can’t see where any physical injuries are. I’m chanting an Indian protection song because nothing else is coming to mind. It’s like my memories and knowledge have been wiped or suppressed. The demon says in my head that It’s useless…I can’t save her. But I keep chanting….

My daughter, in her sweet child voice, says she’s thirsty but I can feel the demon rippling under her delicate skin.

I can’t trust to let go to fetch her a proper drink.

I feed her water from the bathroom sink with my hand. She drinks. And then she struggles. I’m washing blood from her face using the water and my hand. Sharp teeth, a mouth, opens from the hollow of her neck. The teeth, unnaturally sharp, graze my hand. I want to cry but I don’t.

I keep chanting.

I am angry. I am heartsick. I am determined to not let go. I feel the demon’s presence receding within this tiny body but so is my daughter’s life force…what can I do? I have no good choices.

What can I do?

I keep chanting because that’s all I can do. If I let go the demon will possess her forever, she will be devoured and I will unleash a terror on the world. But if I don’t … I can feel her slipping away. There has to be a way that I can save her.

I wake up chanting. It was only a dream….but though I’m awake I feel a cold, brooding dark presence lingering beside me in my bedroom.

It was just a dream.

I remember Emily telling me an old lady died in that room. I remember finding another pin hidden in the bedroom carpet, not one of mine, making it five in three months. Have I disrupted a protection circle? The fan’s blowing. I’m cold and it sounds like the hint of dark laughter.

The feeling of something dark in that room with me increases.

I turn on the light.

It’s a long time before I sink back to sleep. I tell myself I am a warrior and I’m steeped in God’s love. And I realize if I find that demon wearing a loved one’s skin in another dream though I feel revulsion for the evil I must also remember to pour love as well because love and joy evaporates evil like sun to the fog and humans thrive on love.

So now….I am writing the entire experience down in case I can use elements of it later for story. Some sort of positive for the awful experience of dreaming it. I have some ideas.

And I wonder—how many storytellers and artists use their nightmares…

Quantum physics in heaven

Of course we who are on the physical plane really can’t know what happens when we die and where we go. But I wonder like so many others do.

It’s been said that in the afterlife we are reunited with loved ones… And our true loves. But what happens for those who love deeply more than once within a lifetime? What happens to those who have experienced marital bliss with more than one spouse? More than one lover? It is said there is no jealousy in heaven. How does that work? Is everything possible?

From what I understand with quantum physics, everything happens at the same time. It is only after it is observed that all possibilities snap into only one.

Could that mean in heaven there is no linear processes? If that is true then all possibilities happen at the same time. It means each soul is with each beloved at the same time. A soul could be chilling out with friends at the same time as taking a romantic walk with a loved one or three, checking in on those left behind in the physical plane as a guardian angel perhaps, sitting alone pondering God, and be nonexistent.

Perhaps our souls choose life on this planet and are born so we have the experience of a linear process. Sort of like one of those books that you read and the story can be different each time by picking another option at a crossroad decision…only our story has billions of crossroads or more. All possibilities until an observer observes.

So who constitutes an observer? Our departed loved ones watching over us? God? Angels? Devils? Ourselves? That which we call to ourselves?

I mention God only because to be the observer would not he/she be interacting with free will? Our greatest and most challenging gift.

If all things are possible can it be true we could fold space and time? Stand before our departed in the spiritual realm before death or millions of light years on another world.

Do we live in a land of observers and observers influence possibilities? Do our perceived limitations become a sel-fulfilling prophecy?

Sometimes I feel if I think too much on it I could pierce the veil and fall off the world.

Where do we go when we die? Living on in memories, of course and in everything. Could we be that which makes up the universe. If all possibilities be endless, is each one of us an infinite burst, a long note in the cosmic choir eternally? We could be subatomic particles which stunned the science world with the trip down the rabbit hole sparking the concept of quantum physics. We could be all and everything or nothing all at the same time. Where do we go? Do we become?

A Staggered Catch

Mere weeks from now – how poignant, the leaves at summer’s close to die with exquisite riot of fire and color.  Nature’s ovation ‘fore the green world’s sleep and even now the evening sky mirrors fall’s dying breath in warm shades of flame and persimmon.  How lonely can the mortal sun be as it arcs across the heavens in last throes of season’s heat? A staggered catch ‘twist tree and sky as the winged ones soar with soft caress before the year’s wheel spins again. 

But even before the season’s turn, the world pulses against my naked feet like muted breath.  I reach, limbs wide longing for every bright moment to bake within my skin.  And if I become cold, I would grow wings, ignite into light, and gaze from the celestial sphere safely removed inside myself.  But perhaps, if fortune smiles, like scattered leaves yet to come and heaped high for ingenous sport, the peal of joyful freedom will ease the sting of what must be.

Dreams are Doors to Other Worlds and at times, We Travel Back

How many times have you felt brush of childhood while snuggled deep in blankets at night and the sea of fantasy washes up? I woke this morning feeling as if I went back in time to where life was simpler and more dastardly.

This is a world that takes my breath away. It’s where little fey creatures take offense too easily. It’s why I was trying to save my sister/daughter/niece/friend from the wrath of Bugaboo Prince. She called him a sweet little girl. But it wasn’t her fault. He was merged half in and half out of Faerie land. I suppose any one of us could assume a wisp of fancy floating on the breeze in decorous otherworld fabrics might be female.

And, oh so many faerie creatures floated on the wind this morning. I watched transfixed! This garden is where the colors of flora transcend into more than sight and smell and feel. It’s where the green and flower colors explodes throughout your very heart and cross-links every cell like a warm internal hug.

I didn’t realize how much I missed the giddy free sensation of floating weightless and it’s strange that I questioned its logic. I wouldn’t have when I was eight years old. I think that was the age when I floated weightless for the first time. I turned somersaults in my parents’ living room before I floated out to the garage. I would soar into the sky and travel to Venus but my mother stood before the door like a Samurai warrior, broom in hand and even though I flew and became invisible, I could not pass. She saw me despite the fact I defied reason.

This time traveling to a place where I could float, I wobbled at first but the more I breathed in the dew-drenched morning air, the more I lost my reserve. I sailed between tree branches, brushing dainty petals and smooth leaves, weaving around the bumbling bees. I sailed up into the blue, blue sky and I lost myself for a time. I became sidetracked, I think, by a warm bath sitting in a crystalline room with little songbirds trilling on spindly vines wrapped daintily around the walls. The water called like a siren song. I could see out a tiny window above the enchanted garden but I hesitated, uncertain of what I wanted to do first and in that hesitation, I woke to see a little cherub’s face grinning up at me.

I’ve had versions of this dream countless times. It’s one of two reoccurring dreams: the weightless floating and the door that isn’t always there. And when I wake from these particular dreams, sometimes I leave a part of myself behind unintentionally. But the sea of fantasy deposited me gently upon reality’s door when I opened my eyes. I sit here typing, occasionally looking out my backdoor window to April’s green.

An Old Childhood Memory

(I was working on an writing exercise.  If fear was incarnated into a walking, talking entity, what would it look like?  How would you react?  This is what came out. )

Fear came to me when I was six years old as a twisted tree, warped and ancient. It lived a half mile away from my house, over the railroad tracks along an old dirt path. I could never bear to go passed it alone, especially after nightfall. Its limbs hung like murdeous hands, stretching out to hurt, to maim, to kill. And it had a face. No other trees had a face. But it was its overwhelming presence that frightened me most. I could feel it looking through me to my very heart and I trembled at the pleasure it took.

It watched me. It didn’t stay locked into place like any other tree. It warped itself. It tiptoed on knarly tree roots down the path to my house. Yes, I was afraid of the shadowy figure who crept and lingererd in my closet, staying quiet except for the occasional creak, motionless, except for the occasional thump, until all the grownups went away and the lights went out. But when the lights went out, I didn’t know whether it would be the dark killer or if it would be the tree. The shadow killer would jump out of my closet to shoot me. I could lock my closet door or at least, I remember a lock. The tree though, it would push itself twisting through all the knotholes in my paneling with skinny knobby arms and jabby long fingered hands and it would rend me apart. There was no way to lock it out. I never slept near any of the walls.

Perhaps its coincidental that the fear of that tree happened around the same time as when my uncle was murdered. Over a five dollar pool bet. Shot five times. Stood over by his killer until he bled out. His wife’s jaw blown off. Their baby temporarily missing. My aunt found lying on my uncle’s grave throughout the night. The grisly details are lengthy even when recited in short sentences and as many times as I heard my mother crying into the phone as her grief spilt out, I knew them. I knew every sentence. I knew them all.

And more sentences came until my mother blended into the dark story and functioned without really being there. Six is so early to try to figure out how to fill in the gaps. How to keep a family together. I had no power. I couldn’t make my mother smile but I could keep from causing her more harm. I kept my feelings to myself. I didn’t talk about my fears. I didn’t talk about my sorrow. I slept on the edge of my bed away from my wall with my closet door firmly shut and locked.

Dearly Almost Departed

Dearly Almost Departed

 Time spills out like paint across a canvas in rich and muddied colors but we never know how much canvas we are given, do we?  Live life to the fullest, live life to the richest, die well with no regrets.  Cavalier words in a cavalier world.  But a grain of truth still resonates within these almost insensitive words. 

I don’t live life to the fullest.  Do you?  Do any of us?  Perhaps a small percentage, maybe.  Perhaps my life is not lived to its fullest but it still feels pretty busy.  My husband recently said so many people fill up their time with thin things but I know it isn’t thin things my life is full of – it’s full of responsibilities that aren’t totally my own. 

I wonder what life I would have if I had the selfish life where all I had to do was go bungee jump into all my hopes and desires, all my aspirations, but I am no island.  I am a candlestick maker.  And I remain connected to many souls.  They both buoy me and weigh me down like I’m sure that I both buoy and weigh. 

So what is living life to its fullest?  What is its definition?  Is it the people we touch?  Is it the goals we achieve?  Is it how people remember us when we die? 

I sit here on a deathwatch and ponder a life that could have been close to mine, perhaps should have been close to mine, but never was.  A life I heard about in snippets and secrets and I don’t know what I feel except a gentle sadness for what will never be known. 

Written on Tuesday, January 26, 2010.  I had just been told that my grandmother, my mother’s biological mother, has gone downhill quickly.  Instead of the miraculous recovery after 10 days in a coma, respirators and feeding tubes, coming to, consciousness and no brain damage, she has a matter of days at most. 

I discovered on Wednesday morning that she didn’t even live out the night.  It was 12:30 am Tuesday night/Wednesday morning when she left the world.  The funeral was Saturday, January 30, 2010, the coldest day so far this winter.  Standing at the gravesite when its 2 degrees is strangely appropriate.  I wonder now was it possible for tears to freeze?   At the time, I only wondered if my feet would.

I did get to meet family for the first time and reconnect with others I hadn’t seen in some time.  Its been a long weekend.  Between this and other stress which is my life, I’m out of sorts today.  I wrote this (below) earlier today.

There’s a fang laden beast dwelling about three inches deep on the left side of my chest and no good intentions seem to have any affect of purging him.  I want to pull my Pollyanna mask back on but it seems to be missing and my fingers aren’t cooperating because they are balled up into fists.  I don’t know if I want to don on hard skin and go charging out into battle.  The hit, either giving or receiving, would almost be a relief.  Or do I want to hibernate into the furthest reaches.  So, like a lumbering bear I vacillate at the entrance of the cave, neither coming or going, attacking or retreating.  Only one thing is certain.  I cannot escape. 

Ah, the Pollyanna mask…a little torn, a little worn.  Tomorrow is another day.

The Baked-on Bits

Our bodies are the physical containers for the souls within – like a cauldron full of stew.  Our cauldron can be full of juicy delectable things such as a birth of a child, a happy marriage, the joy of attaining a goal, satisfaction in our hobbies, family, and friends; and of course, a few tart undesirable things will swish about like our pet peeves, disappointments and regrets but when life is simmering in a gentle warmth, all is good. 

 But life never remains simmering only on a low and gentle setting.  It flares at times.  It curls around us.  It threatens to melt our very being.  And what happens when it rages too hot for too long?  For a lower-grade pot, perhaps it warps and cracks but for the higher-grade pot, it “bakes” the contents into our very being like the scorched bottom on a Dutch oven, that kind of blackened debris that we must scrape out with a spoon.  But we don’t scrape it out, do we?  Scraping is painful and after a burning, it’s easier to forget and let it be, to never pull that blackened mess up to the surface.  We might not even realize that we never stir near the bottom of our cauldron. 

 I used to say that “the monsters in the closet” only got bigger each time I tried to shove them back into the closet, that closet each one of us have in the corner of our minds where we stash those awful things away.  I thought I had battled and attacked and vanquished each and every one of them but I forgot about the baked coating sticking to the bottom of the cauldron.  I forgot that that baked-on cauldron bottoms soften over time and small flakes and clumps bubble up to the top. 

 I wonder if I should reach for a spoon to sift and sort, to pull these repulsive clumps out but as I touch upon each one, I find a mixture of both bad and good.  The bad, so easy to throw away.  No second thought.  No regret.  What I didn’t expect to find was good mixed in.  What do I do with this tainted good?  Should I recoil away?  Should I look closer and embrace this blackened clump that once was my life?  I find myself perplexed and I don’t know the answer.