Murmuration

Soyez comme l’oiseau, posé pour un instant

Sur des rameaux trop frêles,

Qui sent ployer la branche et qui chante pourtant,

Sachant qu’il a des ailes!

(Be like the bird who / pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight / feels them give way beneath her /and yet sings / knowing she hath wings)

–Victor Hugo

When I was a young girl, I spent many summers abroad in France, my grandmother’s country. I remember how exciting it was to count down the days until the trip every year. I would wish for time to speed up, even through Christmas, just to get there! Each summer, we would spend a few weeks in Paris, then Is-en-Bassigny, and then finally, Roquebrune-sur-Argens, which was my favorite. Built into the mountainside just off of the French Riviera, Roquebrune offered beautiful views of the Provence from its great heights.

My most favorite part about the townhome we owned in Roquebrune was my bedroom window. Situated at one of the higher points in town, I could see for miles out of that window, and I spent untold hours in the evenings sitting on its thick ledge of the 300 year old house. This was a nightly occurrence for me, because I loved to greet the starlings as they danced their murmuration across the sky in the evenings. Appearing over the horizon like a great, black ribbon, they would dive and turn, undulating through the twilight to an erratic dance of birdsong as the sunset burned orange and ember behind them. Eventually they would come closer overhead and completely dominate the sky with the moon rising behind them. Then as gracefully as they came, they flew beyond our town and out of sight. I was entranced each time, as if every night was completely new to behold.

It has been 16 years since I last sat in that window and watched the birds dance their nightfall ballet. I think back to those memories often though, despite the time. Some people imagine a pristine beach as their happy place, and I imagine the starlings at my window, and I can seem the just as vividly as they looked so long ago. It’s no surprise that I should then dream of them, from time to time…

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Black Bile

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.

–Hippocrates

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.

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A Book Unread

“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.”

–Revelation, 9:1

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.

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Unravel

There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.

–Aldous Huxley

It’s been a while. In all honesty, I have 12 drafts written and yet I can never seem to hit the “publish” button. I’m hoping to break that streak tonight as I write of a door, of all things, that has come to me a few times now.

The first time I dreamt of this door was a few weeks ago, on a lovely trip to Georgetown. That trip deserves its own post, and will get one eventually when the time is right. In that first dream of this door, I was in a field of green grass at dusk. The door, just a typical wooden frame and old style door that you could find in any old house, was placed directly in the middle of this clearing. And the closer I got to the door, the more foreboding it became. It throbbed and seemed to contort my field of view as I approached, menacing and hot with malicious energy. I was too afraid to open it the first time I saw it.

Too afraid then, and the next time, and the next. I believe I’ve dreamed of this door 3 times now.

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The Thread

“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.”

–Khalil Gibran

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…

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Catacombs

“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.”

–William Shakespeare

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.

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Dreams Darkly Dreamt

“They’ve promised that dreams can come true- but forgot to mention that nightmares are dreams, too.

–Oscar Wilde

As the world locks down around me, so too does it seem that I am running into a bit of trouble in the dream world as well.

Most nights, nightmares have replaced my normal dreams.

Dark dreams of despair and hopelessness.

Sometimes they are vague. Many dreams of inky black, sharply shaped creatures, tearing at me with their terrible black claws as they visit me in the night. They tear away my clothes and scratch at me until I am raked over with fine red lines on my pale white skin. No matter how bare I am, it’s never enough for them.

Other nights are worse, as I witness terrible things happen to those I love, most painful of all being dreams of Liam being wounded.

I relish the nights that these malevolent visions leave me be, as rare as they are right now. They do shine through like sunlight in a dark forest, giving me hope.

One sequence in particular keeps replaying. The dream usually starts off as something innocuous, like being at work or going to a movie. Something totally mundane…

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A Known Stranger

“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.”

–Kahlil Gibran

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.

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Peacock Hydrangeas

“Take me to the land of lovers where flowers bloom with love, birds sing with love, and hearts long for hearts. ”

–Debasish Mridha

I must admit, I have neglected the blog as of late. Part of it has been due to writer’s block, which I struggle with often. But the other part has been life in general, and juggling hobbies. I somehow try to fit music, writing, drawing, and poetry all into a life that is already full of mom and work duties. I make it work, I suppose, but the piano has been winning out a lot lately, much to the chagrin of my guitars.

Then there’s the dreams themselves. I’ve gone into another period of deeply dreaming that is much too personal to share now, if ever.

And now, in the midst of finals week, worn out, and with a tuckered out kiddo passed out in bed, I finally felt I had something easy to share. Something to at least break the silence, anyway. I was actually sitting at the piano, languidly pecking out the notes to a very lazy, half-hearted rendition of “Jingle Bells” when I finally decided to hit the computer keys instead.

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The Blue Serpent

“Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again.”

–Gautama Buddha

When I was a little girl, just barely 7 or 8 at the oldest, I met a snake at the local wildlife center during a field trip. I had seen snakes before, and had been told they were dangerous. In fact, many a serpent met its end at the mercy of my grandfather’s garden hoe. My grandmother often spoke of snakes in terms of the biblical snake in the Garden.

“Never trust a snake,” she would say in her thick, French accent, “they are all bad, even if they don’t poison you, they will squeeze you dead! Always stay away from the snakes.”

So at that moment, as the handler came up to me and offered for me to pet the snake, I gazed at it with a little fear, and a whole lot of wonder. That moment may have every well been my first act of rebellion. I remember thinking, just before my fingers shakily reached for the snake’s coils, that it must be so smiley, and oh, how my grandmother would be so upset!

And the surprise that it was not so was even more delightful. Fingertips touched smooth, cool scales, instead of slime. So soft, almost like velvet, with the exception of the slight ridges of each scale. And even more, it did not poison me, or squeeze me dead. Right then, in that moment, I knew that one day, I’d have a snake of my own.

And very soon, that knowing moment will come true. But before then, a snake came to me in a dream …

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