Monday, December 14, 2009


My house has burned down. In my dream I am fine with that. It had been a nice two-story log house, an older home with square, dark brown logs and white chinking. The ceiling of the living room, which was to the right of the front door, had been low and white with heavy beams made of the same logs. The house was located somewhere in New England. I sift through the ashes and lovingly place charred mementos in a small metal tray about the size of a sheet of paper. The tray is tarnished gold and the lip on all four sides is about an inch high. There is no top. I carry the tray in both hands in front of me, reverently.

With me inside the ruined interior of my former home is a horse I trained about 30 years ago. She is a bay Appaloosa mare and she is to my right, but stays very close to me throughout my dream. Often, I can feel her breath on the right side of my neck. I know that she is my trusted companion and is there to help me.

I finish looking through things and the horse and I emerge from the house to see Colby crawling around the front yard. He is about six months old and wears a white diaper and t-shirt. I shift the tray of mementos to my right hand and pick Colby up with my left arm. I hold him close and notice he has a toy in each hand. Both are red. One might be a plastic duck. He is gurgling and very, very happy.

We walk toward a garden on the other side of the street, but on the way several people intercept me. They already know my intent and urgently try to dissuade me. One of the people is a salesman in a light gray suit and large, brown-framed glasses. He has come out of a hotel that is up the street to the left, and up a small hill from my house. The hotel is two stories and is the kind of bed and breakfast you might find in a small town. It is painted light gray and has white shutters. There are flowers in the window boxes. The salesman is tall and thin with thick gray hair; he wears a white shirt and gray tie, and his suit jacket is unbuttoned. He is known to be untrustworthy. Some say he sells “snake oil.” The man hails me by raising his right hand and calling my name. He hurries to catch up with me. I know this salesman well, and he is especially firm that I change my mind. To his extreme disappointment I stay my course and go into the garden.

The people who have tried to get me to change my mind do not enter the garden with me. Instead, they stand on the sidewalk by the garden gate. There are maybe half a dozen people, including the salesman. Once inside the gate I walk to a specific spot. I know this is the right spot and I sit there, on the ground, placing Colby and the tray to my left. I dig up a small patch of grass to the left of some iris. I dig while sitting with a trowel and my hands. The ground turns over easily. Enclosing the iris in their special patch of the garden is a low, black garden border, the kind that sinks 4-6 inches into the ground and keeps the grass out of the flowers.

When the ground is prepared I place Colby on top of the metal tray of mementos and plant them both in the newly dug ground. Colby is still very happy. He is sitting on the tray with his legs in front of him as he is planted, and is waving his arms and holding the red toys. I plant him waist deep. Within seconds of the planting, Colby morphs into a small tree. The tree is about a foot high and has many tiny branches. Within minutes, however, the tree is fully grown and leafed out. It shades the entire garden and sunlight now filters through the leaves as they wave in a light breeze. While I don’t feel happy, I am pleased and satisfied.

I am not a dreamer. Not usually anyway. When I do dream, all I normally remember are vague colors and feelings. Since Colby passed that has changed. Granted, his loss is a lot to process, but the clarity and detail in which I remember these dreams is startling. There have been a number of such dreams and their frequency is increasing. I hope that, over time, if I put them together they will make more sense to me as a group than they do individually.

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