If I was a voodoo priestess
(Maybe I am, maybe I am)
I’d keep your tongue in a jar
Your eyes on a shelf
Your heart buried in the yard
Behind my house.
If I was a voodoo priestess
(Maybe I am, maybe I am)
I’d keep your tongue in a jar
Your eyes on a shelf
Your heart buried in the yard
Behind my house.
I had the worst dream of my life last night.
In all my 39 years I have never experienced a dream like that one. I hope I never will again. Give me demons, give me suffocation, give me any of the other dreams that have scared me awake in the past. I’ll take them gladly, in exchange for this one.
I woke up choking on my own sobs, absolutely breaking down in my bed, somewhere in the middle of consciousness. When I finally looked up and realized I was in my room, I cried louder but this time they were big, hot tears of gratitude and relief.
It was only a dream? I walked over and checked on my kids, placing a hand on each one to feel them breathing. I sighed. I stood up and paced around fora while.
In my understanding, dreams are not just thoughts we have while sleeping. They are another level of consciousness, an alternate reality. In sleep we travel to the dimensions we cannot reach when we are awake. Dreams represent the subconscious mind, intuition, possibility, and the unknown realms. Sometimes they offer solutions, sometimes they offer us greater insight into ourselves. Sometimes they destroy things in us that need to be destroyed, and that we are resistant to releasing, in order to move us forward towards our highest selves.
Consider me moved.
Recorded in my dream journal for future exploration, or maybe just to get it out of my head. It could have easily been real, and I will always be grateful for the moment I woke up.
If you got a tattoo
What would it be?
My eyes? My nose?
A beautiful rose?
I think it must be
A star, or better
A whole constellation
Yes that’s what it will be
A constellation on fire!
Than a supernova
Than me or you,
So would you?
She grew up here, in this garden.
Rooted in the soil, watered by the rain and heated by the sun. Not nourished by the sun, exactly, as she had never been brave enough to expose herself to its light. Not refreshed by the rain, exactly, since she never let it touch her face. But this was fine. This was life.
She was a tightly closed bud with delicate yellow petals, and even shut into herself like this, she was a wonder to behold. Every day people walked by the garden on their way to – she didn’t know where – and sometimes they’d stop and look at all the flowers and plants. Their eyes were always drawn to her, because she was tall and graceful and otherworldly. Still, they could not truly see her, as she remained tightly shut, afraid to let in the light.
One day, a man stopped on the sidewalk to peruse the flowers, as people often did. He noticed her like all the rest before him, for she was tall and graceful and otherworldly. But he didn’t just look at her and walk away. Curious and inspired, he knelt gracefully beside the garden, leaned his face over her, and began to whisper in a voice so low that only she could hear.
He told her she was lovely – a treasure, if truth be told. He told her she was a gift too precious to stay so tightly shut. He told her she was unique, and he had never known another like her. He told her it was safe to look upon the sunlight – that even though it might seem scary to expose her true self, the risk would be worth it.
When he was satisfied with all he had said, the man stood up, brushed the dirt off his hands, and walked away.
She – the tightly closed bud with delicate yellow petals – stood tall and motionless, but the man and his remarks touched her deeply. His words echoed in the raindrops that fell heavy and loud over the garden that night.
The next morning, she decided to face her fears, and she began to stretch out her long, lovely petals. For the first time she felt a bit of the sun’s warmth inside her and she knew she could never be shut again.
Over the course of the day the beautiful yellow flower opened herself completely to the bright sun above. She allowed herself to be vulnerable. She allowed herself to be brave. In doing so, she revealed her nearly indescribable beauty to the world around her, and she made it a better place. People now stopped to photograph the garden and several of them gasped at the ethereal, glittering light that seemed to radiate out from the tips of her petals. She was happier than she had ever been.
She had bloomed.
A few more days went by and the once tightly closed bud, who was now a fully realized golden garden goddess, began to notice some changes in herself. Her leaves were drooping a bit, her petals sagging and falling off. She knew what was happening, but she hadn’t expected it to happen so quickly. Just as she was pondering her newly wilting countenance, she felt the cool of a shadow over her. It was the kind stranger who had awakened her days earlier, come to whisper to her once more.
Ever so gently he leaned down and again spoke in a voice that only she could perceive.
He told her she was lovely, but more than that, she was brave. He told her that her courage had transformed the world. He pointed out that ladybugs, bees, and butterflies had been attracted to her radiant aura, her honey-like scent. He told her about the crowds of people who had come to see her. He told her he had painted a most incredible portrait of her and he thanked her for her gift.
When he was satisfied with all he had said, the man stood up, brushed off his hands, and walked away again.
By nightfall, the beautiful flower had wilted completely to the ground. She lay there, cool in the dirt, and pondered her long life shut away from the sun – and her short but glorious time under its rays. It was worth it, she knew.
She had been closed off for so long, until a magnanimous stranger simultaneously enlivened and doomed her. His near-silent, secret whispers had provoked her to the edge of her greatest fears. He had introduced her to the sun. Oh! – the hot, beaming, delicious sunlight – and how it playfully danced and glided over her magnificent petals. That was her favorite part.
She prepared herself for the slow and peaceful fading back down into the earth that had born her, and she considered the irony that in destroying herself she had finally learned what it was to live.
Her life had not been the garden, or the breeze, or the people walking by or even in how long she stood there, afraid and tightly shut. No, all of that was simply existing. For the tightly closed bud with the beautiful yellow petals, the meaning of life – and the measure of it, too – was in the blossoming.
My perfect date is
Dancing in the kitchen
“…tell me what is Heaven if
our souls are split in two?”
Baking and making
Dishes no one’s
Ever heard of
Like we did when
We were kids
Consumed by joy
Falling but unafraid
Oh, and World Peace. ✌️
Sending little notes
Emotional bread crumbs
Into the ether
Straining eyes and ears
For the slightest response
As if a ghost –
A vapor –
Might take the bait
And, hearing my words,
Whisper them back.
The goddess is the moon
The god is the stag
They are separate, they are one.
Of course it was always going to be this.
Here’s to running
Wild and free
Into the moonlit night.
Driving today with my elder son in the back seat, a Sarah McLachlan song came on the radio. I smiled and sang along.
I will remember you/Will you remember me?
Don’t let your life pass you by/Weep not for the memories.
There’s a surface meaning to the song, as with any song, and at first I was only thinking surface thoughts. Swiftly transported to a simpler time in my life – high school and early college days – when love was messy and dramatic and fascinating and painful and I wanted every part of it. I also thought about my brother, (who is probably Sarah McLachlan’s number one fan), because he used to burn me CDs and make me notes on what to listen for. He’s an audiophile, I can’t hear the things he does, but I still loved getting CDs from him, and I listened to them dutifully and repeatedly.
As the song went on I started thinking about the lyrics having a deeper and more profound context. I imagined a conversation with my Grandaddy Curtis. He’s been on my mind the past few days. I see him standing in front of me, smiling. He was always smiling.
“I will remember you”, I say. “Will you remember me?” He nods at me silently. It’s like a verbal handshake – a pact – we make. “Weep not for the memories,” I say to myself. I miss him, but I am not sad. I have been loved more earnestly and well than some people will ever dream, and I can only be grateful for it. Sarah kept singing:
You gave me everything you had, you gave me light.
I leave the imaginary scene and focus my attention on the road ahead. The sky looks a shade or two grayer than it did this morning. I’ve heard it said that for as long as you are remembered and loved by someone you never die, not really. Your love becomes your legacy. So in my imagination, Grandaddy and I made a deal to keep the other alive, through love and conversation.
You know that age old question – “If a tree falls in the woods…”? Well, let me put it to you another way. If a person exists – if a human life is lived – and there is no one to bear witness – is it truly lived? What proof is there to point to that person, what certainty can we have about them? I suppose the answer depends on how much you think existence has to do with things like community, connection, love, family, and legacy.
Isn’t that what every person wants? To be remembered? To have mattered?
Existential crises are a part of the Human Condition. We all, whether we realize it or not, whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not, yearn to matter. I believe with all my heart that this is why we are driven to create. Most of us (maybe all of us), usually from a young age, feel a compulsion to make. Writers, painters, singers, dancers, even people who create in different ways, like businessmen and inventors, all respond to the familiar call to make something of their lives – and by extension, of themselves, of their time here.
To be honest I think this is (at least in part) why some of us have children. We want to leave behind something of significance, and we want someone to bear witness to our lives. We want some assurance that the stories we grew up with – the recipes, the traditions, the places and people we love, even the dimples passed down on our father’s side – don’t cease to exist when we are laid to rest in the damp, dark earth. We hope that the generation we raise will be better than us, we hope they aspire to greater heights, we pray they will work as hard as we have to make some kind of mark on the world, to give their contribution to the collective.
We want it all to mean something.
It’s futile. It’s absurd. It’s romantic and brave.
And isn’t it a lot like writing a manifesto in the sand? We toil and sweat and bleed and give of ourselves, mining the depths of our hearts to produce something raw and true and worthy. The tides of time will likely wash it all away eventually. We know. In the back of our minds, we have always known. Yet we can’t seem to help ourselves.
Stranger still, there is inherent value in the markings left on the beach, even if they aren’t seen or acknowledged on a global scale and even if they only last a fraction of a second. Ironically, the value isn’t as much in the words as it is in heart and motivation of the person desperately scrawling them; not as much in the thing created as in the creating.
Sounds like one big, terrific, cosmic joke.
Perhaps the punchline is this: Love is what lasts. Love is what transcends. Only love. Real love is eternal. It exists here and it exists in the after, and it is the only thing that does. So really, all this creating is nonsense, and all our sleepless nights and working lunches and grand projects are useless, except for the loving. Who we love, how well we love them, whether and how we express it, where we allow it to take us, how much of that love we pour into others and into the universe is what bleeds over into the cosmos and echoes in the night sky after we are gone.
I’ve heard it said that for as long as you are remembered and loved by someone you never die, not really. Your love becomes your legacy.
I will remember you. Will you remember me?
He was enchanted
By her luminous glow
And sought at once
To possess her.
He reached up high
Pulled her down low
And put up a fence
She was no longer worshipped
No one admired
Her grace, her magic,
No songs were sung
No petitions, no prayers
The moon had been plucked
From her beloved sky
And put in a box.
Never again would she
Call in the tides
Or cast ocean waves
But she was the moon!
A goddess, by right!
And she simply refused to
Give up the night.
So she kissed him goodbye,
Among the stars
In the heavenly realms.
Now when a man is enchanted
With our goddess moon
And bids her
Please come down
She winks and she shines
And she sweetly declines
Preferring her crown.
I’ve been visited by dead people before. It’s pretty common for me. When someone I love dies, they will visit me in a dream. We may chat, or have a picnic, or cry together. It’s a sweet way to get closure, and I can always tell when a dream is not just a dream, but a visit. I’m grateful for whatever part of me is open enough to let them through. Sometimes other people’s loved ones come to me in dreams, too, and ask me to relay messages, which I do. I know there are plenty of people out there who don’t believe in this sort of thing, to which I’ll now respond with my favorite Nicolas Cage quote (from City of Angels) – “Some things are true whether you believe in them or not.”
Last night, I had a dream that was a visitation. It was about Tom Petty. Yes, the celebrity/singer/songwriter/cowboy/Traveling Wilbury. That one. I have always felt a special connection to Tom’s music, since I was a kid I’ve loved his songs and identified with his lyrics. I was sad, as a lot of people were, to hear of his passing and disappointed that I’d never been to see him in concert. It wasn’t something I dwelled on, though, and as life does, mine moved on.
So the last few nights I have had some strange and colorful dreams. I attribute it to the full moon + partial lunar eclipse in Capricorn (don’t get me started on Capricorn). Last night’s dream was colorful and lively, but different. If you’ve had visitations you know what I’m talking about. It’s almost like lucid dreaming, in that you’re aware something is different and this moment should be cherished, you try to look around and remember things because you know it will be over soon and you don’t want it to be. At the same time you’re trying to listen and pay attention to whatever wisdom the visitor is there to impart.
I won’t detail the whole dream, but I will say that the part that felt most important had to do with my boots (navy blue Doc Martens with a zipper on the heel) and his boots (unknown brand). We compared boots. Tom Petty gave me some tips on how to care for mine, and how to make the leather feel smooth and buttery like his. (Yes, I felt Tom Petty’s boots, and yes, they were as soft and luxurious as you might imagine.)
The other important part had to do with him having daughters. One a brunette, she had a little chubby-cheek face and a dress on and she was precocious and chatty. I mark this as important because it wasn’t something I knew about him. I didn’t know TP had children at all, and I had to look it up on the internet to confirm it. Two daughters, according to Google, and according to Dream Tom. That, for me, is a confirmation.
All of this has left me with a sincere curiosity, and a hope that maybe the great Tom Petty is one of my spirit guides. He’s not the first person to visit me after passing, but he is one of the most interesting and I hope we get to chat again.
A couple important notes about dream visitations: Our loved ones, guides, anyone on that plane can take on any form. My grandfather sometimes visits as the “him” I remember, and sometimes as his younger self. Tom Petty went back and forth between young and old, seeming equally comfortable with all of his different human “selves”. Also, visitations are not usually romantic in nature (unless the person was a romantic partner, and even then it’s not likely.) If you dream about making out with Steve McQueen in the back of a limo it is probably a wish-fulfillment dream courtesy of your own subconscious, and not an actual visit.