The Star-Crossed Wanderers

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. — Edgar Allan Poe

I have never been one for blogging. Not one for much public exposition on the whole, honestly. My social media activities consist of occasionally posting pictures of pets and places, my son, tangible things, but rarely sharing anything of my self. Part of that is more due to my past than anything. A stray dog like me has many secrets.

So of course, when someone dear to me told me that I should be writing down and blogging about my all-too vivid dreams, I balked. For months. Hemming and hawing, hedging every time he brought it up. But what’s this? My first blog post? Clearly, he wore me down.

So, here it goes, guys. I can’t promise I’m any fun, but my dreams? They’re pretty damn impressive. I welcome any and all interpretations!

It should only be fitting for my first post that I write to you about one of the most impressive dreams I have had to date. I suppose that is what finally spurred this creation to life, after all.

Last night, like nearly every night as I’m drifting off to sleep, I got caught up in the hum of the universe. That distant vibration that you never can quite isolate but is always there? Sometimes, if I lay just right, close my eyes just so, I can hear it. Trap it. Feel it wash over as I let myself sink into sleep.

Most nights, after I fall asleep, I open my eyes and stretch my legs in some new world. I’d describe the sensation as slowly falling into calm water and being dragged beneath the surface, only to realize that up is now down, and underwater is now above water. A pineal back flip,  this is my transition from the waking world to the sleeping one. Sometimes I stay a while in this state before wandering off into what dreams lie ahead, and some nights it’s just a brief passing before the journey begins.

Last night I stayed a while in the warmth. My surroundings were a dark blue void, a navy velvet cocoon that I never quite like leaving. My mind had other plans though, and so my quiet darkness was pierced by a beam of silver light. I shrugged my shoulders and wriggled out of that dream womb.

Instantly, I was on the water in a kayak. No doubt, this was a recycling of this past weekend’s adventures on the Pamlico River in Bath, North Carolina. The sun was setting, casting reds, yellows, purples, and pinks into the sky, painting the clouds as if on fire. I paddled for a time in the peculiar quiet. No sounds came from the water sloshing against my boat, though the white caps frothed around me and slapped the starboard side enough to make paddling a fight. No sounds either, from the birds that flew in eerie silence overhead, and the fish that danced on the waves. In fact, the only sound was that of my heart, chugging away in my chest, reminding me of Plath’s powerful words regarding her own ill-fated heart: I am, I am, I am.

I paddled for a long while, heading toward the setting sun, fighting the wind and current with every sweep of the oar. Before I knew it, I had left the river and sound behind all together, finding myself on a glass-still sea. The flames of the sunset were dying embers now. The once powerful strokes of my paddle became smooth pulls along the water, an effortless glide across the mirror surface that now reflected the glimmer of stars. No moon in sight, I noted, but the stars? Mesmerizing, and so numerous that the horizon became non-existent. I was in an orb of stars; my own little interstellar snow globe.

Heart still  pounding the only song in the world, I carried on. I decided that I had to reach the end, whatever the end might be. If I fall off of the edge of the world, so be it.

The sky had transitioned to an inky purple-black in the few spaces between the clusters of stars. I could pick out constellations: Scorpio, Draco, Taurus, Cancer, Ursa Major, Orion. Their reflections were the only way that I knew I was still heading toward any sort of line where sky and sea meet.

In dream time, it felt like days of paddling. I never tired, however, and kept moving, listening to the beat of my heart and the rush of blood through my veins. Finally, and very unexpectedly, my boat hit something and sent me floating gently backwards. The ripples from the collision reverberated in crescents around me, chopping the still water. I furrowed my brow and cocked my head, paddled forward, and hit it again. Rebuffed once more, I noticed how the ripples of water around me splashed gently against what seemed like a wall. The thing was, I could see through it, as if the horizon still stretched on into infinity. I chewed my cheek and turned the boat sideways, feeling along the wall with my hands.

Leaning to the left and right, paddling to and fro, I found that the barrier seemed to carry on horizontally for a while, if not forever. So logically, my next experiment was to evaluate the vertical. To my surprise, I found it to be short, only about two feet higher than the surface of the water. And even better, I could lean forward and feel that there was a solid platform beyond.

Clearly, there was only one obvious choice here. Carefully, and far more gracefully than I can normally muster in my waking life, I planted both hands on the wall and hoisted myself out of the kayak. As soon as I was crouched on the platform, suspended now amongst the stars and their reflections, my boat began to glide quickly away. No worry for me, however. I had no intention of going back.

I walked ahead, my footfalls joining my heartbeat to add another layer to the physiological melody I had going on. At first, I wondered how long I’d walk. Surely, I had been paddling for what felt like days if not weeks at this point. My eyes still soaked in the night, caught the starlight. And then, I tripped.

I prepared to catch myself in the free fall, fully expecting to face plant on the smooth surface. Instead, I found myself suspended, sprawled against stairs that slowly twisted out of the invisible ground, lifting me into the air. I gasped and reeled backwards, landing squarely on my back on the platform, the harsh thud of my body echoing through the hushed landscape. Who said you can’t feel pain in a dream?

I sat up, legs splayed out in front of me, weight on my elbows. As I brought my gaze skyward, the spiral stairs shimmered to life in front of my eyes, turning an opaque white of frosted glass. They seemed to go up an impossible distance.

“You want me to go up there?” I asked no one. My voice sounded quiet, but harsh compared to the sounds of my existence that were so familiar to me now. Foreign, these only words spoken this entire trip.

Yes. Not a word in reply, just a feeling.

I shook my head, rubbed my back, and picked myself off the ground to begin the ascent. Up and up and up, I climbed. Time immemorial had seemingly gone by since I had last seen land, cloud, or sun. Only stars here.

The further up I went, I began to notice that the stars were coming closer. They did not become any bigger than they already appeared visually at the surface, but they soon fell around me like quiet snow. Lighting on my shoulders, nestling in my hair, and kissing the bare skin of my arms as I continued the climb. I was draped in little shimmers of light. If I moved my arms, the air around them would churn them through the air in a lighted dance, like so many fireflies. I took a deep breath and filled my lungs with them, enjoying the warmth. I was truly made of star-stuff; Sagan would be proud.

Through all of this, it never occurred to me to look down at how far I had come up the spiral. I was far too enchanted with the dancing stars around me, little nebulas floating by, novas bursting with color before my very eyes. It wasn’t until I reached the top of the stairs that I stopped and gave anything but the stars consideration.

I suppose I hadn’t expected an end to the stairs, but then again, I hadn’t expected an end to the sea, though I found it. Finally I looked down and around me, and saw the world from on high. My eyes traced over the familiar shapes of the land we know and love: those parts of the world we all learned in school. Yet beyond that, I saw more land, more shapes. Forests and deserts and icy lands, far bigger than anything I had ever seen on a globe. Fluorescent arcs of blue and green bands shifted endlessly in the sky above. An aurora in murmuration of light.

I was in awe, and my breath hitched in my throat from the raw realness of what I was seeing. I tried to blink it away, but in obstinacy, the vision was there to stay. Fear washed over me then, giving way wonder, then sadness, then happiness, then back to fear, as if all of my emotions cycled in an attempt to handle the overwhelming reality.

Words unspoken came to me then as I stared at this alternate Earth:

What you see, not many have, though this sight is greatly desired. There are those who seek this world beyond above all else. They have killed for it, kill for it now, and will continue to shed blood in an attempt to reach this land. They fancy themselves destined to take it. Rule it. But this land is not meant for them. No matter how many plans are concocted, how many lives are lost, theirs is a mission doomed to failure. For no being who wants this land as his own shall ever see it. It is not theirs to take, or have. It cannot be owned. They are but star-crossed wanderers, destined to roam forever, grasping for lands they cannot reach. 

This is the land of its children. Only they may inherit it. Treat it well, when you receive the gift.

I was dazed, confused, and full of questions. Still clothed in tiny specks of light, I searched for the feeling. I turned this way and that, but the presence was gone as soon as it had come. I wanted to call out to it. Ask it what it meant by all of that. My breath came in short puffs, frosting the star-laden air around me as I looked around in vain. Deafening silence. Not even my heartbeat could penetrate this choir of mute. My breath caught, and just as I thought I was alone for good, the reply came.

You already know the answers.

Suddenly I was tumbling as the stairs vanished beneath me. I was in free fall for eternity, until I wasn’t. My body broke through the still glass of the calm sea I had traversed seemingly a century ago, and as I sank beneath the rolling depths, I felt the flip. I awoke back in my bed, my racing heart the only sound to be heard in the early morning calm.

Whether that was entirely a dream, or an out of body experience, I don’t know. Either way, it was truly otherworldly, and I find myself still processing all that I saw. Until next time!

Best wishes and sweet dreams,

-Megan

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