I dream a lot. Sometimes even when I’m supposed to be awake.
When I have recurring dreams I tend to pay attention. Those are usually the kind of dreams where I’m trying to give myself advice. If I listen, that advice is pretty good.
Then there are dreams that are so real that when I wake up it’s as if I was living another life. For want of a better term, visualize a Matrix like reality.
What really gets my attention are dreams that are, both recurring and Matrix-like. Lately I’ve been having one of those dreams.
This dream is either loaded with meaning or I’m living another life someplace else. I suspect it’s the former, but can’t help hoping it’s the latter. If this dream was/is another reality I think I’d like to stay there. It feels like I have a chance to get it right, if I somehow could stay.
It’s winter. There’s a lot of snow on the ground and I’m checking a fenceline. I look almost like I do now, maybe a bit more weathered. I’m wearing a stetson just like the one I have, but it’s beat to hell. It looks like it’s seen more than a few seasons outside.
There’s a noise behind me. It’s a good sized chestnut horse. I know his name instantly, and I notice he’s a bit skittish looking to the east and a line of storm clouds. I calm him with easy familiarity and he settles. This action feels like a dance we do often. Usually, its about him wanting a lump of sugar from my pocket, he knows I’m a soft touch. I know he knows, and he knows I know.
Today is a bit different, this squall line is heavy, and there’s winter lightening in it. The wind is rising and every once in a while I can hear the rumble of thunder. I nuzzle the horse, “Come on Mac, lets finish up and get back home. I’ll turn the heater on in your stall.” I mount up, the horse continues a slow walk allowing me to inspect the fence from the saddle instead of trudging through the snow.
We walk for a while, then I notice we’re near the abandoned house on the property. The house is steep roofed, built solid and is at least 100 years old. When I bought the property I chose the other house to live in, because this place is so close to a busy road.
Snow is starting to fall. I see what looks like movement through one of the windows of the house. “Great! Squatters,” I think.
“Mac, we’re going to have to make a slight detour then I’ll get you back to your nice warm stall.”
I tug the reins slightly toward the house. Mac’s not happy about it but he does as I ask. We get to the house and I put Mac under the roof of the back porch. When I walk through the door to the place I’m met by an astounding sight.
The squatters have a full-on business going in here. They’ve knocked out all the walls they could and turned the lower level of the house into a wide open space with sellers stalls in it.
Out front toward the road is a wide parking area. There are cars and trucks and all kinds of people selling all kinds of things. A lady offers me a cup of coffee for only 7.99!
I tell her and the rest of these people that this is my property and they all need to leave. I feel a little guilty about it. But come on! Shouldn’t I at least be getting a little rent? Then I notice there’s power here. I didn’t connect the electricity to this house.
I stomp through the front door and out to the road. There, at the edge of the property is a brand new power relay. Nice shiny new transformer, a new fence surrounding the unit and bright coppery connections at the top of the insulators. Obviously someone is paying for this, I wonder if it’s me, and I just haven’t gotten the first bill. Everything I’ve seen looks like this is all new and these people have recently arrived.
I go back inside the house and ask to see whoever is in charge. I’m directed to some punk who smells of weed and who tells me they thought the house was abandoned. Since the house needed people and they needed a place to live it was like a match made in heaven so they moved in. He’s telling me I shouldn’t be upset. The power company was really nice connecting the house to the grid, they said they’d send a bill later.
I asked him about the fence that they cut to gain access to the property, meanwhile I’m thanking my lucky stars that I didn’t just turn the heard loose into this pasture and decided to check the fence first. If I hadn’t, I’d have lost the whole damn herd.
What I get from weed boy is more bullshit about no fences and that the house needed people. I realize I’m getting nowhere with this dumbass. I’m pissed off because this is exactly the kind of shit I moved out here to avoid.
I pull my cell phone out of my pocket, I have just enough signal to call the sheriff. I’m going to make this his problem. Then I’m going to get on Mac and go home, we’re probably going to get caught in the storm at this point and his nose will be out of joint for days.
I press the call button…
Suddenly back in my bed. The sun is shining warmly through the bedroom windows, I can see the bright green of the vegetable garden and beyond it the barn. I’m freaked out, I jump out of bed throw on a pair of flipflops and walk out to the barn. Mac is half asleep in his stall. I can hear Lucy barking at the cows in the pasture, she’s probably making them do cardio, the cows must be just thrilled with her this morning.
I think Lucy’s the bossiest dog I’ve ever had, she’ll be up here soon demanding her breakfast. I open the barn door to the corral. Mac meanders out into the sun, and starts his morning routine. I smile, it’s like he stretches and warms up before the start of the day. I put his breakfast in the trough and make sure his water is fresh.
The morning sun is comfortable on my skin and if it wasn’t for the work that I need to do around the place, I’d stay naked all day up near the pond in the north pasture. The thought brings a smile to my face.
Lucy comes padding up to the porch, all tail wags that I’m up already. She goes into the house through her doggie door. I grab the door handle…
I wake up here, in this bed, I’m sweating in a panic. I feel like I’ve travelled, and that I’ve lost something. I call for Lucy, I don’t know at first where I am. Sunny, my golden retriever, jumps up on the bed. He’s looking at me with the concerned look all retrievers get when their “people” are upset. I get a nose lick from him, then look at the clock.
It’s after 12PM. I’ve slept for 13 hours.
I pull some sweats on and hustle it to the slider, both dogs run down the stairs gratefully. I feel bad that they waited so long. Usually one or the other will wake me up but for some reason today they didn’t or couldn’t.
There’s no mess to clean up. They come back inside bouncing and wanting their treats. I give them more than the usual allotment to thank them for being patient with me.
I flip the coffee maker on and over the first cup of coffee wonder at the reality of the dream. Or the reality of this place. Scent, sight, taste, sensation all were equally vivid and “real” in the dream. Even the weirdness of the dream within the dream felt “real”.
The strange part is that I’ve dreamt about the house the squatters were in before. I’ve seen the fence, the property, Mac the horse and Lucy. I have memories of being at that place and having a completely different life there.
I have equally “real” memories of being here.
Is this what some of the Native American tribes were describing when they said their dream life was just as real as their normal life?
I notice a couple of things between the realities.
Here, now, I’m a technocrat. There, I have technology, but my life is more physical.
Here I live in a town and while it’s not LA, there are people around me. There, I live alone except for the animals.
Here, my view of the world is defined by what others have built or let me see. There my view is defined by nature, I see sky, sun, trees, mountains, and fields, I don’t see humans. Obviously they exist, but as a rule, in that life I know solitude.
My first cup of coffee is done, I’m awake and the dream life is fading. As I wake up more and this “reality” settles in, I wonder if I’m just wanting to return to the places where I was truly happiest. Secret places from my childhood that were green, and alive, and where my future spread before me. Back to the places where turning left, or right on a particular day could’ve changed the entire outcome.
I can’t get over the feeling that I’ve lost something.