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…

Read More »

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.

Read More »