The body of man has in itself blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile; these make up the nature of this body, and through these he feels pain or enjoys health. Now he enjoys the most perfect health when these elements are duly proportioned to one another in respect of compounding, power and bulk, and when they are perfectly mingled.
It is with some apprehension that I write tonight, as I don’t really want to write about this dream. I don’t want to shine a light on such darkness, or let it out. And yet, I keep having the dream. As if keeping it in somehow empowers the thought and drives me to dream it again and again and again. So tonight: a catharsis in hopes that I should rid myself of this recurring unpleasantry, and to clear out the black bile of melancholy that visits nightly.
“The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss.”
A very short post for tonight, but one that needs writing as the dream that came to me this past Friday night seemed quite interesting and worth sharing.
Very rarely my dreams take on a voyeur-type scenario in which I am watching over someone’s shoulder as they read, write, or draw, completely unware that I am watching. In this way, I have seen messages, letters, and books coming to me weeks or months beforehand.
“I existed from all eternity and, behold, I am here; and I shall exist till the end of time, for my being has no end.”
Lately I have found myself quite often turning to the works of Khalil Gibran. There is something in his writing, the way he experienced life and emotion, that speaks to me and pulls at my heart. I find understanding and comfort in his poetry. A kindredness in how he felt and saw things through a similar lens in, even if he was far more talented than I could hope to be. Whatever it is about him, I love nothing more than to disappear in the beauty of his work. Some days I feel very Gibran in so many ways.
Given the Gibran saturation, it’s no surprise that he should creep into my dreams. This dream is a little more “out there” even for me, but I would feel remiss not sharing it. So it was, the other night, I found myself roaming a limitless white space when I came upon a single red thread…
“The cemetery is an open space among the ruins, covered in winter with violets and daisies. It might make one in love with death, to think that one should be buried in so sweet a place.”
–Percy Bysshe Shelley
Founded in 1852, Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington was the first planned, rural cemetery in North Carolina. Much like its sister cemeteries of Magnolia in Charleston, and Bonaventure in Savannah, Oakdale is a winding necropolis full of Spanish moss, alluring angels, and gorgeous flowering trees and shrubs that just begs to be explored and adored. Meant to be both garden and graveyard, this large, rural cemetery mixes the beauty of life with that of death and mourning. In the era of its conception, Victorian North Carolinians often spent many an afternoon relaxing in Oakdale with loved ones living and long gone, picnicking and reminiscing, and the cemetery became so popular that families paid to have their long-deceased loved ones relocated to its beautiful grounds.
“When he shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of heaven so fine That all the world will be in love with night And pay no worship to the garish sun.”
It has been a while, hasn’t it? For months now I’ve battled with writing, battled with dreaming. I feel stuck in slow motion, and in many ways stagnated. Given all that is going on in the world, I’m sure I’m not alone in this feeling. It’s almost like running in a dream or screaming under water; fighting so hard and getting nowhere.
So many nights I lay down and hope to sleep, to dream, only to fall into a fitful darkness that feels like sleep, yet still leaves me exhausted in the morning. Dark flashes of scenes, some good, some bad, dance before my eyes, but it’s nothing like the dreams I’m used to. After my surgery in December, my dreams had gone nearly completely, and I worried that they were gone for good.
But here and there I see breakthroughs. Here and there I see the light on the other side. And that’s enough to keep me pushing forward. And even though this dream wasn’t the happiest? It felt good to truly dream again.
For this month’s song challenge, I had to pick up the guitar as my piano is on the mend from a freak incident involving naughty cats. I chose to play “Tonite Reprise” by Smashing Pumpkins, as it is one of my favorite songs by one of my most favorite artists. The lyrics are so lovely and encouraging and I hope you all like it as much as I do, and I hope I did it at least a little justice. And I know, I need a new microphone badly! Any suggestions on a decent microphone setup would be seriously appreciated!
This month’s song challenge was quite the challenge in and of itself! Seasonal allergies made singing very difficult, which was disappointing to me as I really wanted to knock this song out of the park. Overall, my voice is deeper in parts than I wanted it to be, and flat in others, but I tried my best given my mild laryngitis. Also, I managed to get a new microphone, but it broke mid-play while I was practicing. I think I can fix it, but for now I had to go back to using my phone’s microphone, which isn’t the best. Despite these shortcomings, I figured I couldn’t just back down on my challenge, so I pressed onward.
The song, Mitski’s “Square”, is one that I have long wanted to play because of its complexity. I really enjoy the slow build in the difficulty, even though it makes for a challenging song for someone who is still very much a novice. The words too, have in the past meant a lot to me. But now? Especially now, I think there are rare circumstances where waiting is worth it….
It’s not perfect at all, but I hope you enjoy my cover of Mitski’s “Square”.
As a challenge to myself, I have been working on learning one song a month to post at the end of each month of 2020. This first song is a cover of Sylvan Esso’s “Slack Jaw”, mostly learned by ear from listening to their live recordings. A simple song, but one that has always resonated deeply with me. I did make some adjustments for my voice and skill level, so it’s not an exact replay of their version. I am so very nervous, but I hope you all enjoy!
“All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.”
Everyone is a dreamer. To what extent, depends on the individual. I’ve learned over time that, just as every person is different, so too is every person’s dreaming. Some people dream in sounds and colors only, with no detailed visuals. Others dream scenes from real life, but in black and white instead of color. I am fortunate enough to have extremely vivid and life-like dreams in living colors and sounds, but no one method of dreaming is better than the other.
I dream every night, and remember my dreams nearly every night. It is extremely rare for me to have a night without dreams, and usually if that happens, it is because I have been sick. I would wager that probably 80% of the time, my dreams are just background replays of my day or week, with a dash of the normal tropes of showing up to school naked, or a dream of being chased with the horrible feeling of treading water instead of running away.
Then there’s the other 20%. The dreams with messages I sometimes seem to receive in the dreaming realm. Sometimes they are of something happening in real time to a friend. Other times, they are events yet to come, such as dreaming of my cancer, or even something as innocuous as pulling an over-sized white envelope out of my mailbox 10 months before it actually arrived. Sometimes, they are symbolic, such as my kundalini snake dream, while other times, they are quite direct. Either way, I always know, while I’m actually in the dream, that it is different somehow from normal dreams. I become lucid in the dream and suddenly it’s like I’m not really sleeping anymore. My brain is cognizant as well to take heed of whatever information I’m about to be given. Sometimes that information is more symbolism, sometimes I am given dates and names and places. I cannot control my movements or actions in the dream, I am still passive to whatever will happen, so I don’t know if it can be called truly “lucid”, but I take notes as it plays out in front of me. It has taken years of practice to be able to do this, but really, I think anyone could, with time.
“If someone does not want me it is not the end of the world. But if I do not want me, the world is nothing but endings.”
— Nayyirah Waheed
And so the year has turned to its close, and as I heal from wounds of my own choosing, I find myself turning introspective again. Not only of the year, but of the decade. I admit that I started this writing before Christmas, but found the words sticky and unwilling to lend themselves to exactly what I have been feeling. I hope that tonight, I may do them justice.
I suppose it’s a tad cliche to write an introspection. Everyone is doing it, right? I’ve heard grumbles here and there, but for me, it’s an important process. I have to sit and think on things past, so that I may move forward in peace, and with purpose. And to the oak tree, what are the caws of crows but mere distraction in its reaching for the sun?