Monday, November 25, 2013

Forever young

At dawn my lover comes to me and tells me of her dreams
With no attempt to shovel the glimpse into the ditch of what each one means.

Bob Dylan, Gates of Eden

Sometimes I actually do this: I take my morning coffee and curl up on the leather sofa next to the Lazy Boy my husband has preferred for something like 30 years. And I tell him. In the manner of nearly all dreams, these will soon sublimate into the air like so much night frost and disappear, though I sometimes try to get them down on this blog (i. e. Whatever Happened to the Wildwood Flower, about a young Sissy Spacek-like woman preparing to get married in a church where no one knows her). I tell my dreams as an attempt to fix them in time and memory, and mostly it doesn't work, leaving Bill with the usual baffled look on his face.

This one, well, it was even stranger than that.

Like Bob Dylan, I think the eternal question "what does the dream mean?" wrecks it more often than not, like analyzing poetry until it's nothing but fragments of phrases and unmoored words. But it's interesting to behold what bin-ends of thought and experience re-emerge in scrambled or rearranged form, unrelated jigsaw pieces suddenly revealing a picture you never thought of before.

I was in some sort of big theatre, a movie theatre I would guess, and it reminded me of the theatres of my childhood in Chatham. We had two, the Capital and the Centre, and I remember we felt considerable civic pride in the fact that we had more than one. In the dream the theatre was huge, cavernous, more like the Orpheum in Vancouver, though I am sure the Capital and the Centre were rather puny and not grand at all.

There were only three people in the theatre: myself, Hassan (a colleague of Bill's from 30 years ago, a fellow engineer relocated from Saudi Arabia) and Paul, a spiritualist medium I have known for many years. He was sitting facing away from the vast silver screen at some sort of monitor, and without saying it Hassan and I knew he was going to tell us what would happen to us, what our future would be. He seemed, in retrospect, a little like the "man behind the curtain" in the Wizard of Oz,  except that there was no curtain.

He worked away. Apparently he was "doing" Hassan first, and I was rather jealous. All the while, ghostly images appeared, more on the ceiling of the theatre than on the screen, giant people, like blowups of characters from silent movies, though I didn't recognize who they were.  I wish I remembered the middle of the dream, but most of it has already faded and gone all patchy and jumbled like a poorly-restored movie from 1915. He finally did tell Hassan his "fortune" in a fairly straightforward way, and he listened intently, obviously taking it very seriously.  But it seemed to me that time was running out, that there would be no time for my own fortune and I would be left hanging.

It was true. As Paul began to pack up his things (what things? His henbane, his Merlin hat?), he told me I would have to "wait until next time" to hear my fortune. I was frustrated by this, and even wondered if something would happen to me if I had "no future", if it had not been laid out for me.  Then I realized he had been using something that looked like an old overhead projector to "see" and project that seeing into the future, and I wondered how that worked.

Then I had this bold idea. Since I couldn't wait for my fortune, I would write it myself. So I started writing it down on something unusual, maybe on an old piece of parchment, but it flowed easily. And I have almost no remembrance of it, though it struck me as quite specific and in detail. I do remember one line, something like, "Sometimes friends will be the greatest comfort and help to you, and sometimes they will vanish and you will be left completely alone." I had a sense of a lacuna or a round hollow space in some sort of rock formation.

Sometimes this, sometimes that: it was a bit like Ecclesiastes and "to every thing there is a season". But when I came to writing the last line, it reminded me strongly of Bob Dylan's most heartfelt song, "Forever Young".

May God bless and keep you
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.