dreams must be

The early morning, still dark and star-strewn, makes the space for dreams — the wisps of the inscrutable ones begging to be deciphered, and, too, the waking dreams of substance, dreams of the heart, the aphrodisiac of aliveness. 

These are the dreams that make us more of who we are, who we must become, as surely as a tender sprout must one day flourish with extravagant blossoms whether seen or unseen by human eyes.

Some of us are happily, if not easily, driven by those dreams. For others, we must allow ourselves to notice them— these dreamy sprouts — then nurture them.

Our dreams prescribe wholeness, not careers or salaries. Especially in a time when we are more and more reduced to and perceived in our roles as commodities, we must dream, and go there, even if in bits and pieces. There is nothing inconsequential about it. Do not look to the status quo to place a value on your dreams.

Dreams, big and small and in between, are crucial to our own lives, our social underpinnings, and to the globe we trod. They are not defined by the marketplace. The shapes and colors and sounds of our dreams make our world shine with love and creativity and freedom, irrespective of what can be bought and sold. They assert our very existence. Dreams are revolutionary.

If dreams die, if we forget how to dream, we must see it for the existential crisis it is. We must find our way back to dreams any which way we can. 

It may mean finding a guide or a friend to help, or it may mean revisiting childhood dreams and experimenting there, or it could mean learning something entirely new to break the hold of the entrenched thought patterns that trap us in our dreamless state. It could be a new language, or a craft, or a place, a history, a skill, that turns out to be the trigger that allows our dreams back into our lives. 

We must try, because dreams must be. Dreams are fundamental to life. And when we fan the flames of our dreams back into existence, we must tend the fire. Dreams hold our gift, to be cherished and honored in love by all. The world needs the revolution of our dreams more than ever.


quote from “My Star” by Robert Browning

deep summer means going down to the pond in the early evening to wait for the meteor shower. we all roast marshmallows over a sleepy fire. dragonflies flit past. conversation drifts soft and sparse. on my blanket i stare straight up as night creeps in, an occasional hiss from the fire. we breathe into the night sky. minutes pass. “there’s one,” someone says, and i know they’re pointing in the dark. soon, we are transfixed, watching as the stars streak, brilliant in their heavenly falls. the hopeful quiet moments of waiting are always answered with the promise of a wish.


Many thanks to Eugie’s Causerie for this week’s prompt, “brilliance.”

open wide the doors

open wide the doors
this one and this one and this one
and don’t forget that one
open them wide, fling them, waste no time
nothing is forbidden.

you don’t even remember
what you left inside there
you can’t quite recall
the delight the surprise
the warmth of each treasure.

each one locked away
safely hidden behind the doors
while you manage the mindless particulars.
i am that little devil on your shoulder
here to tell you the truth though:

you are running out of time.
forget about the heavy wagon you keep pulling
just leave it in the road, right there, for now
and run to those doors
open them all, now, 

while you still can.

march eight two thousand one

We had named it long before we ever set eyes on it. To the boys it was a certainty; to me it was just a dream. Then, one day we drove by at 55 miles per hour. It was AW who turned the car around, drove up to it, and knew it for what it was. It was our place, our dream, our hope, A’s harbor, and J’s low-tech farm. To AW, it was perhaps unfettered messing about with old cars. It was every invention the boys had ever imagined. To me it was … open windows in the summer, birds wheeling overhead, space, time, freedom, paint on canvas, love.

And to all of us it was a delightful, unfolding mystery. We had no idea at the start of it all what a mystery it was. The house itself was at once a naked statement and a truly guarded secret. The past it held was hidden from us, but tempted us and drew us in. The land and its relationships, its actions, seemed so apparent from the road as we drove past, but proved to be a complex puzzle and, in a way, one that couldn’t be solved – though that was the daily battle.

Now, though still new to this life, we are immersed in it. We find that after all the other paths we walked down, and there were many, this one is new and it’s fresh and it’s a little scary.

One day, as the windows of my bedroom blinked without opinion upon me poised silently on my knees, I heard two words. My heart paces a little now as I think of it.

I am still wondering about those words. I’ve waited a while to comply, but comply I must. Halfway will not do the job.

Pray. Write. It almost frightens me to say it.

Pray. Write.

The prayers flowed, but the ink would not. Write. Write about what? Why should I write? What do I have to say? What, may I ask, do You have to say? There are many messages I could send with my pen. Unfortunately, it has been my conviction that the truths I’ve arrived at would just drift off into space rather than explode with effect on my targets.

Perhaps, though, it is possible that a finger is poised near the veil, ready to lift it off and let one see. I suppose that means I should be very careful about my target and my intent. I think I know, however, that it is not my intent at all here. And not knowing or understanding the will of that intent, but in humility and fear, I will write with love, out of love. Perhaps I may even find that it is I who wears the veil.

Writing is a journey in itself.

Words discovered hand-written on the two sides of a single page buried in what appeared to be a new notebook, the one I took with me to start my new job.

Pray. Write.

by a thread

IMG_7422Last night dreams just seemed to tumble through my head one after the other, rich and crazy and busy and wild.  I didn’t get up and start writing any of it down, but I wish I had, because it seems clear that my unconscious has something it wants me to hear.

I know one thing. I was about to take flight in a fighter jet. I was cool with it, too. The invitation came out of the blue, so to speak, and I didn’t hesitate. I knew I wanted to go up in the fighter jet, and I would.

Then there was the strange group of people, an unlikely mixture of fundamentalists and progressives, all sitting at a group of big tables. One of the fundamentalists was holding forth, everyone else keeping politely quiet, until finally one progressive guy just burst out laughing. And the fundamentalist turned, full of offense, toward him. But the progressive guy just somehow managed to de-fuse the moment while simultaneously giving himself and the others time to speak.

How about the scene where this huge machine was going to be moved from wherever-it-was-we-were to, I think, Washington D.C. It was some sort of mammoth machine, an innovation created locally by an individual, at their house. It was discovered, however, and certain people realized how important it was, so it had to be moved so it could be used. (Ah ha!) And then ensued this amazing scene of a gigantic train operation, as preparations were made to oh-so-carefully move the machine and all that. People scurrying about everywhere, and various pieces of equipment and cranes. Everything busy and purposeful. It seemed as if it was all in disarray, but in fact it was just the commotion of things gelling toward the objective. And over there was Midgley, leaning against the big fender of an industrial-sized truck, just smiling at me, wordless.

IMG_7421These are just the bits and pieces I can recall. A very hopeful set of clips, though, I would say. And as always, there’s so much value in trying to capture these things, writing them down. Even as I was writing the preceding paragraph, I suddenly knew what/who the machine was. And the progressive guy, I’m guessing that’s the old right brain finally piping up, scoffing at all the left brain nay-saying. (Thank you, Mike!) The fighter jet, well, that’s pretty transparent.

I stay perched on this precipice, though, don’t I? Still not quite willing yet to let myself fall and see my wings unfold, as Ray Bradbury suggested. I’m held back by mere threads at this point, but so far, they’re still holding. Need to find my little scissors, my snips. I could probably just bite them with my teeth. That’s all it will take, just a step.

“There’s something you haven’t said, something you haven’t done, some light that needs to be switched on and it needs to be taken care of. Now.” Hugh MacLeod.

no crime in dreaming, a valentine

skyWhat with all the on-going sorting (yes, I am still sorting), I came across this little item, a poem I penned for Valentine’s Day in what was obviously another life. Despite knowing what I know now, and despite everything that transpired since those early, deluded days, it still made me smile. No crime in dreaming.


The sun-blue ocean washing over white warmed sand
A soft breeze that fills the sail
Fresh cut daisies in a happy hand
A purring cat encircled by its tail
… you are these to me.

A free fluffy cloud in a bright sky
A pair of eyes behind blades of grass
A joyful heart breathing a contented sigh
The sound of skates on moonlit glass
… you are these to me.

The star in the sky that I wish on at night
The airplane I watch ‘til it goes out of sight
The soft grey dove that coos to its mate
Your soul in your eyes on our wedding day
… you are these to me.

The love that you show
The ways you make me know
Smiles, laughter, kisses, hugs
A dream I can hold in my arms
… you are these, and so much more to me.

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends.

free to leave

printsThe snow stole in overnight and neatly laid down about a half a foot of snow all over everything. The wind followed, shaping drifts and rearranging the landscape. It carried on through the morning.

I looked out my window, and I could see my neighbor out in his unplowed driveway. He had his red pickup truck with the camper on it. For weeks now, that camper has been sitting by itself in the driveway.

Henry bought both the truck and the camper not all that long ago so that he could execute his plan to get out of here. The dream was to get to Florida, and to set up there and just live simply in his little camper, go fishing, that sort of thing. He figured he could make a living diving, because he had training in some kind of diving work.

It was an angry dream. He’s been hell bent on it for at least a few years.

Divorced I don’t know when, Henry moved in some years ago with his daughter and his motorcycle. He always laughed, and always smiled, and always swaggered. He worked hard, and commuted long to make things go. When someone hit a deer in front of my place and left it in the ditch, he was all over the fresh kill. He threw parties in the summer, where he did all the cooking, laughing all the while his motorcycle buddies drank beer and ate up.

When Henry’s daughter was about 16, she started hanging out with boys. Then, she started telling lies, and spending overnights somewhere else. When she turned 18, she up and moved out to live with her boyfriend. And Henry was just finally done.

That’s when he started trying to escape. First, he moved into a rented trailer inside a pole barn near his work during the winter, so he didn’t have to commute all the time. The commute was like an hour and a half.

Then, he got a boat. It was a power boat with a name like Happy Hooker, and the plan was to live on it. Which he did for one summer, again at a place closer to work.

But underneath it, he was still just angry. He told me there was nothing here and why would you stay. There are no jobs. And you can’t sell a house around here, so maybe he’d just board it up and leave, don’t you know. And women, well, he was just done with them. Still, it took him a few years, a lot of disappointment, and a relentless childlike hope, to get him out in that driveway yesterday.

He didn’t say goodbye. I knew when I saw him out there in all that snow, checking and doublechecking, making trips inside the house and back to the camper. He was finally Florida-bound.

He must have quit his job and his long commute, and finally said what the hell. And I don’t know who it was, but a woman hopped into the passenger seat. Maybe in the end it wasn’t desperation in the driver’s seat after all.

The red truck backed out through all the swirling snow, and left. Could be all the anger’s just sitting in the driveway, left for the wind to do its work on it. I hope so.

Happy trails, Henry.

dreams return

handwriting practice, 8 yrs., J.

Today as I drove along, lost in my own thoughts, humming to music on the radio, it suddenly occurred to me that I really could dream again, that parts of me were indeed  beginning to engage on dream thoughts. I am delighted.

My dream thoughts are still murky, but I see trends.

Reading the log of my long-ago journey triggered all sorts of things for me. I had completely forgotten that I had taken the guitar, and played it, on the trip. I had totally forgotten that I used to easily understand the MAFORs and the Beaufort scale. That I routinely considered ebb and flow and riptides when planning a day’s journey. All the blue whales, humpbacks, belugas, pods of pilot whales that I had seen, the jet swooshing down the Saguenay, the bells I heard that made me cry below St. Anne de Beaupre. That I had seen Perce Rock from the sea.

I looked at images of Perce Rock online. I had a memory of it, but I was still astonished to realize I had seen it up close, from the sea. And, indeed, that day, in my log I noted my strange feelings about it – the realization that I was truly on an intrepid, mysterious adventure. As if all the ruggedness, the challenges, the unknowns had somehow escaped my notice until that day.

It would be kind of cool to see Perce Rock again.  Yeah, so there are places I want to go. And there are things I’d like to do.

Yes, the beginnings of dreams again. At last.

dream to sleep

dreamI am enfolded in arms. The space is aching with tenderness, peace. No words are spoken. I feel my breath, warm against a beating heart. Time passes, not pushed or pulled. Muscles slowly give up their hold as sleep tightens its own embrace … small, gentle spasms of calm release.  How is it that I remain wound in this strong embrace? The breath becomes long. It is given up to sleep. Still, there is no letting go.

When there are no dreams in sleep, is it my unconscious refusing to share? Unloved, ignored, stubbornly withholding its gifts. Well, have this gift. I bring the dreams to you. I can be cunning and beautiful, too.

I have already journeyed past. I have left many things behind. I have room now for more. Surprise. Like the light that travels from the sun and the stars, the thing you see before you is really just a memory.

No one knows. Phone rings. Appointments to keep. Faces. Papers. Motion. As if it’s real.

The beam is already shining, it’s traveling. You just can’t see it yet.