Saturday, February 24, 2007

Dream on, y'all

Rattlesnake Confusion

There are dreams that sail away to sea
And some that stay at home
There are dreams in need of company
And some that stand alone

-- Stephen Geyer

UPDATE: After last month’s Rattlesnake (“The Ballad of Hurricane Jimmy”) was completed, a mutual friend put me in touch with Jimmy. Seems he cut his hair, is looking for work as a Certified Court Reporter, and never picks up the guitar.

And that got me thinking about our dreams. Dreams imagined, dreams realized, dreams forsaken and abandoned.

And that got me thinking about a photograph.

It was the first thing I looked at each morning when I got to work and the last thing I saw when I left. It was tacked to a crappy shelf above my crappy desk, in my crappy office stuck in the back of a crappy loan business in downtown Savannah, where I held a crappy job. It was a photo of Five Falls, a spot on the Chattooga River in north Georgia, where I had been backpacking and camping a few times my senior year. After graduating, the best job prospect using my major was a CNN internship I couldn’t afford to take, so I moved back into momma’s house and hoped something worthwhile would turn up. It didn’t.

I ended up with a job thumbing through a box of well-worn 3X5 cards and calling people who were behind in paying a loan that they couldn’t get anywhere else and really couldn’t afford in the first place. When I wasn’t hassling poor folks, I stared at that picture. And I dreamed. My dream was a dream of freedom, of being someplace other than where I was.

One Saturday afternoon, after visiting a woman at her housekeeping job at a downtown hotel to collect her monthly payment, I went back to that crappy office, took my dream down from the shelf, and walked out.

Otis Redding had dreams to remember, Gregg Allman had dreams I’ll never see and The Drive-By Truckers’ Mike Cooley somewhat cynically remarked that “dreams are given to you when you’re young enough to dream them, before they can do you any harm.”

The dreams we have when we’re young can’t all come true; otherwise, the world would be full of football players, rap stars, princesses, cowboys, pirates and astronauts. I mean, does anyone really dream of growing up to be a middle manager or a plumber?

But dreams are realized in other ways. We can embody the daring of pirates, the valor of astronauts and the wild, brave freedom of cowboys in our everyday lives. If you are a loving parent, a caregiver or a volunteer, you are living your dream. If you give blood, if you give a thousand dollars to charity or if you give a dollar to the homeless guy sitting outside the convenience store, you are living your dream.

Dream on.

1 comment:

Brad Barnes said...

"They love me like I was a brother/They protect me, listen to me/They dug me my very own garden/
Gave me sunshine, made me happy

Nice dream, nice dream..."

That's Radiohead. I have no original thoughts.