Catching dreams

On the first wintry day of the season frost crisps the landscape.  My breath billows in clouds of white.  The sun is honey, oozing through the heart of the cherry tree and turning the last of the leaves to gold.  It is a moment of between, when the earth makes me pause.  The chill shivers the leaves from the trees.  I can hear them falling.  They crackle like flames as they detach and float to the ground.  The fire is a cold one, but I feel as though I’m standing in its heart: the crackling is everywhere, the air is gold and a blackbird trills.  It is a precious, dreamlike morning.  There won’t be another one like it this season.

I sometimes dream of searching for places that don’t exist. I dream that behind the field at my aunt’s is a path that leads to a group of small ponds I’m desperate to get to. On the way,  a seahenge has been revealed on the shore, covered in light snow.  I never find the ponds. I’ve searched for them before without success.  I can picture myself bathing there, yet I only remember their existence in dreams.  When I wake I struggle to recall whether they are real or not and I grieve for their loss.

The leaves are moist and turning to mulch now.  They no longer glint with gold but have browned and darkened.  They are fodder for the dreams of worms and woodlice.  But the remains of gold still cling to the trees, like sheets of gilding.  Willows dip long tresses of yellowed leaves into a pond crowded with birds.  A man is feeding the ducks.  Black headed gulls screech and dive.  Moorhens peck the shore.  Three swans sail among them like a vision: a pair and their cygnet.  The cygnet is bigger than its parents, snowy feathers offset by soft beige.  I walk past yellowing reeds and bright berries, the last of the season’s lights.  I look up at the moment two swans soar over, softly whooping as they fly.

I have been recording my dreams again.  It is one way of confronting the darkness and what lies within it.  Some are slippery, some never ending.  Creatures flit through them: barn owl and crow, polar bears and bison, and a strange hybrid of mole and teddy bear that clutches my fingers with tiny pink hands.  In dreams I am myself and not myself.  Sometimes I begin as me but become someone else.  My dreams are mostly prosaic: processing real events and populated with people I know.  But among the ordinary are those moments when I wonder if I really have visited another place and brought a little of its enchantment back with me.


Blogger book of the month: Pamela S. Wight – Molly Finds her Purr

illustrated children's book, picture book, cat bookPam’s blog RoughWighting is full of funny, intriguing and quirky stories both fictional and true.  She has a fellow Piscean’s knack for visiting other worlds and bringing back a little of their magic.  Pam has written two exciting and enjoyable romantic thrillers for adults and another children’s picture book, Birds of Paradise but today it is Molly’s turn to step into the limelight.  In Pam’s newest book, Molly Finds Her Purr,  Molly is a stray cat who doesn’t know how to purr. Birds run away from her, dogs bark and squirrels bombard her with acorns. She tries her best to find a playmate, but it seems she’s destined to be lonely – it’s no wonder Molly doesn’t know how to purr! But then a squirrel called Petey takes a chance on friendship and Molly soon has a whole circle of friends around her. It isn’t long before she finds her purr. A heart-warming, comforting and gentle book, with beautiful illustrations, Molly introduces themes of difference and friendship in a lovely way for young readers.  A great Christmas gift for a child in your life!  You can find Pam here and her books are available at Amazon.

Dreaming

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November is a month of darkness and dreams.  Relentless storms with the hint of winter in them make the days darker, the skies greyer.  The air freezes, riming the roofs and crisping the grass.  Horizons are misted by rain and fog.  And when the rain pauses, the wind stills, and the sun peeks above the horizon, the world is flushed with gold.  The beginning of winter has a surreal quality.  The contraction of the body against the cold, the contraction of the mind against the darkness makes me feel that I’m not truly present in the world.  It couldn’t be a better season in which to dream.

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Dreams are the space between sleep and waking.  Borderlands, where we exalt in our whims or become trapped in the thorns of our fears.   They are night enchantments, where we live other lives, or distorted versions of our own,  a gossamer existence on top of our reality.  Perhaps we leave our bodies in the night, as some cultures believed, to participate in the events of our dreams.   Perhaps it’s true that there are deities who send us dreams, demons that curse us with nightmares and creatures that feed on our essence as we sleep.  Or maybe dreams are simply a way to understand the world without the intrusion of our conscious mind.  It’s no wonder that for thousands of years we’ve sought meaning from our dreams.

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Dreams don’t give up their secrets easily.  They conceal meaning behind layers of symbol and distortion, a jumble of reality and imagining.  Dreams are wisps of thoughts and impressions left behind in the memory.  Things often don’t make sense, or our recollection of them is so hazy when we wake that we can’t grasp the sense of them.  They are fluid, merging into one another.  Sometimes they are effortless, sometimes frustratingly tangled.

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Daydreams don’t have the chaos or mystery of the dreams that seek us out in the night.  But they are another borderland: a place of drift and retreat; a slice of enchantment conjured just outside the real world.  Night dreams visit me unbidden, but I create my daydreams.  I tend to daydream when I’m stationary because daydreaming requires focus.  All those adults who have ever told a child to stop daydreaming in the misconception that they’re being idle, were mistaken.  It takes time and effort to construct a daydream, to build a world that can be seen, heard and tasted.  The line between daydreaming and visualisation is thin, lacking only intention.

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My life is imprinted with thousands of dreams, remembered and forgotten.  There are many ways to dream and I do it with a pen in my hand.  I write my daydreams down and call them stories.  What are stories, if not dreams of the imagination?  When I conjure a story it’s a type of dreaming.  There’s a space in the back of my head where the story unfolds like a reel of film.  Ephemeral and sometimes disjointed.  Like a foggy day or the blur of rain, it can be difficult to shape or grasp the sense of it.  But story-making is like lucid dreaming.  I can step inside the story and midwife it into being.