Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Rattlesnake Confusion - Dec 2006

I had another dream about the old home place last night. It was one of those typically disjointed sequences where familiar scenes are intercut with impossibly surreal situations. That’s what happens when the subconscious wrestles with Morpheus for the director’s chair. I’d like to say that Frank Capra, John Ford or Orson Welles wins, but inevitably my dreams are directed by either David Lynch or Tex Avery.

In this dream and in all my other dreams, the road that runs in front of the house is still dirt and the woods across the street have not yet been replaced with projects, losing lottery tickets and discarded fast-food wrappers didn’t swirl on the wind and then collect in the corner of the yard, and the kids on bikes weren’t runners for the crack dealer down the lane.

In these dreams, I am grown, yet the world around me is still that of my childhood. Albert Einstein believed that “the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion” and nowhere is this more evident than in dreams, where we slice open the past, insert the present and stir it with a spoon our subconscious picked randomly from the day’s events.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana said it and everyone quotes it, but hardly anyone practices it. Those who willingly wallow in the past by constantly reliving it are just as wrong as those who think that in order to live for the future they need to deny their past. Where we come from is part of what we are, but it is not all we are.

So the next time I dream of the old home place, and I feel the rich black dirt between my toes and I grab a handful of muscadines growing in the woods and I smell the salt marsh two blocks away, I’ll enjoy it. I’ll revel in it. I’ll savor it. I’ll remember it.

But I won’t remain in it.

The past: a great place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.

For Yesterday is but a Dream, And Tomorrow is only a Vision; But Today well lived makes Every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness, And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope.Look well therefore to this Day!Such is the Salutation of the Dawn!

No comments: