SKEPTIC AND DRAGONFLY
Dreamed 1988/1/28 and 2/8 by Chris Wayan
I'm a revolutionary running from the cops. I run right into a bright-lit office where the workers ignore me. I beg for help and try and get them to join the Revolution.
Crossing the floor feels like wading through glue. This is getting nightmarish...
So instead of pushing through the jello of bureaucracy, I try climbing on it. I swim up... plop! No, I can't quite float. But I do lower my gravity index enough so I can float across the room in clumsy lunar bounds. The high ceiling-beams make pleasant perches, now. I watch as the cops rush through, looking for me. The workers ignore them too. I lie along a beam and watch the cops rush in, the cops rush out, the cops play pinochle on your snout...
When it's obvious I'm safe, I kick and glide across from one beam to the next like a flying squirrel. Some boards are loose, and I try to make springboards and seesaws.
Keep hoping others will join in, and play with me. Nope! They stay resolutely grounded. I'm especially disappointed that one tall cute blonde, who seems to be the office boss, ignores me...
I leap off a beam onto a springboard that sinks heavily to the floor and... just stops. No spring at all! I'm literally let down. And I know it's the weight of others' expectations. They're so sure I can't rebound. But the energy in the board is there, dormant, I know it... they're actively suppressing it with their beliefs! What if they're suppressing ME too? Maybe I can fly, away from them. I jump off and float across the room... at the far wall, I use my will to keep myself from touching the ground--only then am I sure I'm flying, that it's a question of will and belief, not physics. I float, bouncing from chair to table to sofa. Though I'm truly flying now, these people still show no interest.
The hell with it. All of a sudden I give up on the Big Blonde and her friends. I dive from the rafters down to the open window and out of the room... and launch myself out over the valley.
Slowly I rise toward a soft ceiling of white cloud. Into the mist... brighter, brighter... Far ahead, at the pale limit of visibility, I see a ghostly... dragonfly? Impossible! It's far too big. Slowly I catch up, and the figure grows. And grows! Taller than me, with a four-meter wingspan! She's some kind of insect girl--looks like an emissary from the Dragonfly People, a great, distant race of beings, rarely seen on this plane. She's beautiful, though strange to my mammalian eyes.
She waves and calls to me, "I'm new at this, too..." But she was born flying, the Dragonfly People all are! It turns out she means she's never gone miles high before, like this, navigating blind through clouds...
We spiral up together through the white.
We burst out among the cloud tops, and play hide and seek amid the creamy castles. So strange and beautiful... like her. At last I have a playmate!
But in the end I see something in the valley miles below that I must reach. It is my duty. I open my jacket and stick my hands in my pockets, and use the coat as delta-wings to grab air, and the wind shoots me down in a falcon-dive to the ground...
And I wake.
Did I lose my sense of priority at the end? At last I'd found a real friend, and maybe more than a friend... but I tore myself away from her out of a sense of duty, and re-descended to a level that hadn't appreciated me at all. Foolish duty?
The Big Blonde is the name of a Dorothy Parker story I recently read... does she symbolize Parker's cynicism? Parker was on my mind today because my friend Craig said "You always break out of conceptual boxes--it's the first thing you do when anyone tries to define you. Your sister Miriel is different--the same fierce intelligence, but with her it becomes a sharp Dorothy Parker wit, without that sense of escape! I think that's why she's so unhappy right now." Insightful, for Miriel has been feeling trapped lately--though I've never thought of her as cynical like Parker, maybe it takes an outsider to see what I'm blind to...
So Dorothy Parkerish cynicism keeps me down, but I CAN learn to discount it... and soar! I may get lost in the fog at first, but if I keep on, I CAN find friends and lovers who DON'T bring me down, who soar with me...
I'll keep my mind open about duty. Maybe that was a loose end I had to clean up. You can't only play in the clouds. On the other hand... was I scared I'd get my heart's desire? A WEEK LATER
I find myself on an army base. What am I doing here? I can't stand the military. Taking orders, agh!
So I start dancing on the parade ground. Each gesture symbolizes an emotional or intellectual freedom. I leap... and refuse to come down! As long as I embody freedom of expression, not military conformity, I can defy gravity! Each boldness lifts me a foot or two; and if I apply my will, I don't sink back, though I can't rise by pure willpower--that takes action!
Thrilled, I dance like mad till I'm 20 feet up, then slow (I'm running out of ideas, and beginning to wonder just what I'm doing) but creep on up to 50 feet or so. The wind blows me gently toward some office towers and warehouses, some higher than me.
I look down and see a friend right below, on duty as a guard. Jeff's an easy-going, conventional guy, and his sheer normality suddenly makes me see how bizarre the scene is. I reason "This could be a dream, though it seems so real. If I yell to Jeff, and get a witness, then I can check--prove it's not a fantasy. If he can't see me, this must be a dream or an out-of-body trip." (It seemed very logical then, though as I write this out, it seems like a dream-Jeff could witness and verify till he turned blue without proving a thing about the question of dream vs. waking...)
But I yell and yell "hey JEFF!" No sign he even hears me; he never looks up. If this were the waking world, he'd HAVE to, this close. So I know I'm in some alternate continuum--dream or astral travel.
But people in the buildings level with me DO hear! My friend Beryl looks out the window and gawks and yells "Hey, Chris is flying! How you do that?" They see and hear me just fine--PROVIDED they're on roughly the same level, within a few vertical yards of me. This reality is highly layered, then. Levels of freedom! You need a certain degree of freedom before you can even see flight as possible.
I wonder if I can teach them, then.
I lure Beryl out her office window... and she slumps for a bit, but doesn't fall. It IS teachable! Soon the warehouse alley is full of flopping, clumsy air-swimmers... flying by expressing freedom. They crack nervous, crude jokes about the whole business, but just the same, bit by bit, we climb stairs of air--rising level by level.
As I clear the rooftops at last, I return to the question of dream vs. reality and think "It doesn't matter if I call this a dream or not. What matters is to know where natural law permits flight and where it doesn't, regardless of what others THINK!" Then I realize that'd apply to the waking world too. Am I so sure what's impossible there? I've managed telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition, even microscale telekinesis--and everyone knows THOSE are impossible!
Maybe I don't need to know what's possible. Anglo-scientific culture loves a sharp borderline: the Im- and the Possible! But I generally sense things as easy, awkward, difficult, or beyond me... There's a spectrum of difficulty, depending more on expectations then physical laws...
Suddenly I realize I'm awake.
In more than one sense. NOTE TO MYSELF, AND MAYBE YOU
So don't bother testing to see if you're dreaming. If there's something you want, bend or break the laws and rules of WHATEVER spacetime you're in--they're shaped by expectations more than you know! A thousand psychic dreams have proven that to me. Try impossibilities. Why limit yourself to what's scientifically possible? By THIS week's rules!
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