Wednesday, April 5, 2023


A Dog's Dream

If dogs can dream, then so can I.  But if dogs dream, then my own dreams have no real meaning, at least none as Freud or Jung would have it.  They do not foretell the future, nor do they lay out metaphorical guideposts for my life.

What they do emphasize, again and again, is my own sense of futility.  There is an icy mountain in the middle of the Cornell campus.  I must reach its summit, but its summit is beyond my power to reach.  I must take a final exam to earn the credits to graduate from college, but I can't find the classroom where it will be held, nor have I remembered even to register for the course.  There is a Greyhound bus, semi-streamlined in the old-fashioned style, waiting at a corner in the Midwest to take me back to Winthrop, but I don't have a dime in my pocket, let alone the entire fare.

And so it came as a pleasant surprise at the Hour of the Wolf last night when I experienced a dream whose narrative represented, you might say, a divine intervention against futility on my behalf.

There was a fictional young woman.  Let us call her W for "the Wastrel."  I had been incurably enamored of her for a long time.  Early on, I made my feelings known in a most straightforward way, but they were resisted in an equally straightforward way.  I pressed harder; her resistance grew.  It became the irresistible force against the immovable object.  And yet we carried on as friends, but seeing each other only from time to time.

As it happened then, I was organizing a very big dinner at my home to celebrate something or other.  To my surprise, W came a couple of days in advance to help me prep for the thing.  

In the quiet morning before, we sat side by side at the corner of the very long table where my guests would soon be dining.  W had fetched a paper -- the densest and thickest edition of the Sunday New York Times that I had ever seen in fact.  We tore through it together, quite happily.  My brother was also at the table, and we tossed him the scraps as we were done with each section.

There, in an instant, I suddenly knew that her resistance to me was simply gone.  It evaporated, and my pressure was released, simultaneously; one did not follow from the other via cause and effect.  There was joy and peace, but something had to be done sacramentally to mark the moment, just as, at the end of Wim Wenders' "Wings of Desire," a glass of wine in a quiet corner of an otherwise raucous Berlin venue, one frequented by the young and the avant garde at the Fall of the Wall, became a chalice held by the archetypal Man and Woman.  And so at once I reached for her hand under the table and also I met her eyes.  "I was healed, and my heart was at ease."

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