He woke up at the foot of the mountain near the river. As the mists cleared from in front of his eyes he knew that he was once more drawn into the dreamworld. He could hear her name in the wind as it laid the leaves down across the bridge like breadcrumbs. Instinctively he follows the trail onto the wooden deck. Each leaf was imprinted with a symbol that represented a quality of his true love. Beauty, loyalty, passion, intelligence, creativity and joy and more. As walked further across the bridge collecting the leaves the symbols kept adding new traits to the list. As he reached the center he looked up from the last leaf. She looked back at him with her own basket of leaves in her arms. The mountain mists rolled between them as the real world pulled them from the bridge. Each awoke in their own bed with memory of the other’s perfect eyes looking into their own.
Later that same morning as he was driving to his new job he came to the crossing. His foggy memory of previous night’s dream was still fresh in his mind but he couldn’t recall the details. The fog obscured all but the bridge’s threshold as he stopped his truck in the middle of the quiet country road and stepped out. Just as he was beginning to recognize the structure a single leaf drops from the forest and disappears into the fog. Curious about what was happening he starts walking across. Before he takes his second step she emerges holding the single leaf. It was only when their eyes met that they recalled the dream.
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The mid morning sun has driven away most of the clouds. As I walk the gravel road that leads into the forest I’m aware of almost everything that moves just inside the trees. Several squirrels and a few chipmunks scurry around looking for the first of fallen acorns. The birds flitter from branch to branch. The buzzing of insects is all around. A few leaves tumble down from the canopy. The sounds of nature fill the air. The rapids in the Gauley River below roar and the voices of the other park patrons blend into the chorus. There are five females, two males and three children all near the playground. I can’t see them. But I know that they are there. I can follow the concentration of the bird noises which grows softer where the humans are present. Deeper into the forest the chaos of the outside world fades away. I can smell the horseshoe fungus growing in a black locus tree. The smell of Wintergreen tells me a large birch tree is nearby. As I drop over the hill the forest opens up into a small clearing. A stump left behind by the park rangers is the perfect spot to enjoy the solitude. A place where the unbroken chain of thoughts and contemplation can lead me to a place where inspiration lives. And then it happens. An idea is born and it grows into a dream. And the dream was wonderful. I’ll open the little file in my memory and tuck the dream safely away for now. I began to walk back to my big blue truck occasionally peeking into the file in my memory checking on the little fledgling dream. He has to be kept safe and warm while I prepare a place for the dream live.
If your mind can conceive and your heart can believe, then your will can achieve.
Our dreams are possible only if we work to make them real.
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As a child I used dream that I could fly. The dreams were always very vivid. I could feel the inertia as I banked through the clouds. Every time I stand by this spot between two skies I’m taken back to those dreams and I know that one day I’ll hear a trumpet summoning me to “come up hither” and in the twinkle of an eye I’ll be soaring between two skies.
After learning the secret written in the stone. I began to make my calculations. The maiden was carefully observing my every action as I removed the jackknife from my pants pocket and started scraping small shavings from the log where she had been seated. Ever so cautiously I collected them in the tail of my shirt. Next I would need a large piece bark and dead twigs from a nearby elder bush. I cut a notch in the bark just like my grandfather had taught me as a child and began to spin a twig in the notch. In no time at all I had a hot coal and was able to sustain it with the shavings. I took the next twig which longer split it perfectly in half. The pithy center was easy to remove and once that was done I bound them together with strands of the tall grass in meadow. I studied the broken dulcimer and committed it’s outline to memory. As I worked I looked up and saw the maiden looking onward in amazement and the raven still circled me above the trees. I placed the first hot coal on the dry wood and began to kindle it with the elder blow tube. I occasionally stepped back to the stone and checked the mathematical formulas carved there by ancient hand that was long since gone. The legacy written was instructions for a new dulcimer. The precision burning of the wood and removal of the char would need to be perfect. I became so involved with the task at hand that time lost all meaning. There was only the fire and the wood and my breath. Periodically a large drop of sweat would fall into the coal and erupt with a long stream of steam. With the jackknife I would put the finishing touches on the piece. Hand carved dovetails to hold it together and keys for tuning the strings recovered from the old one. There it was. My dreamworld had a new voice. I turned to the maiden and offered my finished product along with the parchment entrusted to me by the raven. She spoke not a word but the newfound joy in her eyes was the most profound expression of gratitude I ever experienced. Her eyes danced over the open scroll as she read the music. Then, she tuned the instrument to perfect pitch and took a breath. As she played the first few notes that gray sky rolled back and the birds all began to sing with her. The newly awoken sun pushed back the remaining clouds. With my task completed I began to make the return journey back to the waking world. As I approached the iron gate a now familiar shadow passed overhead. As turned to cast one last gaze on my dreamworld the raven landed on the road. He spoke in a raspy voice. “There is more to see here. You are as much a part of this world as you part of the one beyond that gate. You are the Fireweaver and a prince of the dreamworld.”
The drone of the alarm clock grew more intense as I slowly rose from my bed. The sun was shining through the blinds and just outside my window I could hear a mockingbird singing a song that was oddly familiar…
I walked down the silent road with only a plume of dust to mark my passage. The gray world around me seemed so empty and lost. Nothing seemed to move now. No insects in the grass and only the giant raven in the sky. He circled around as he lead me back to the beginning of the road. When I came to the head of the road I looked around. The birds sat still in the trees. If it had not been for the occasional flash of feathers as they shifted position I would have been convinced that a flock of stuffed birds had been placed on the edge of the dark forest surrounding this strange highway in the dreamworld. The raven lighted in a majestic but ancient and gnarled tree. His red eyes flashed at me and he nodded to a dimly lit path in the wood. I understood that he could guide me no farther in this quest. Will a bit of angst I stepped inside the woods and looking towards the place where the light fell away I saw her. Dressed all in white and crying as she sat on a fallen log. At her feet lay a broken dulcimer. And then I knew the answer. She was the voice of this world. And without the dulcimer that voice was gone. The birds could not wake the morning sun and the clouds ruled the day. Silence is not always golden. As she wept quietly I approached her with cautious anticipation. When she noticed me standing on the edge of the path she wasn’t startled. She looked up at me in desperation and gestured to the shattered remains of her joy lying in pieces. I opened my mouth to speak words of comfort but no sound came from my throat. She took me by the hand and pulled me to a large stone in forest. We cleared away centuries of moss and there carved into the granite more strange symbols. I studied them for a moment and realized that I knew the meaning.
To be continued
On my way to my day job I spotted this snow capped mountain. In spite of my fuss old man winter persists. Since Old Man Winter wanted another portrait I obliged him once again. (Hopefully he’ll be satisfied enough to leave this time.)
As I sat in my warm pickup truck along the Kanawha River looking up at the mountain my mind brought up the poem Samuel Taylor Coleridge‘s Kubla Kahn and I wondered if one were to take the trek up to the peak if he would find the entrance to Xanadu. Can you hear the dulcimer and the song of Mount Abora? Do want to explore the caves of ice? But alas, responsibly calls and there’s little time for adventure today. I snapped a few shots and head down river to my day job. Perhaps they’ll serve honeydew for lunch and I’ll still feel like an adventure when I clock out.
The image above was taken at Northgate Business Park in Kanawha County West Virginia.
When I look at this image I’m taken back forty some years. Back to a time before digital photography and drones. A time when many of the conveniences we enjoy today were science fiction. We used to fly kites on a ridge like this one. We learned what was like to hold the wind in your hands. I was always convinced that one day I would build a kite large enough carry me into the clouds. I would go out on windy days with a jacket and find a nice windy spot. I would open the zipper and stick my hands in the jacket’s pockets and stretch out like a kite. I would close my eyes and turn into wind catching it my jacket. I would sway and tilt just like the kites did. As I grew older, I learned that jackets don’t make good hang gliders but I never lost that dream. Even today I will sometimes open my jacket with hands in pockets and imagine that I’m floating in the wind. Perhaps that’s one reason why I like this spot. It looks like a great runway and I just happen to be wearing my flying jacket today.