I want to speak about slumbering bodies changed into new forms. But in my dreams everything is as normal as normal can be, too normal. As a lucid dreamer, I am used to falling into the infinite worlds of Dreamland, worlds just like ours but with a twist ready for me to discover.
Buildings I know better than the back of my hand but have no foundations in waking. People I know but who do not match their living, breathing consciousness. I push a wall to open a door to the Tennessee countryside and see my family farm and horses I’ve never met. I step into a Berlin plaza and make eye contact with a former classmate who for some reason has auburn hair and doesn’t speak to me but knowingly holds my gaze as she passes me arm-in-arm with a strange man; I’ve never been to Germany
But these days, my dreams take place in schools, theaters, office spaces, and homes I have known. Their construction is not extraordinary. The cast of my dreams are the people I used to see regularly as they are in life. I haven’t met a stranger in my dreams for weeks. Who knew that one day reality would become the dream. But each day in this new, dreamlike existence where we don’t get to see our cohorts unless it’s beside our own reflection within a zooming digital stream or hug our loved ones. We live in a world where we hesitate when we see our neighbor trip and fall across the street when all we want to do is help. They are okay but we all know how much better an extended hand can make us feel. In this strange, intentionally isolating world, the mundane spaces and the dear people tethered to them are the dream.
In times of crisis, I regularly recall that children’s rhyme: Row, row, row, your boat gently down the stream, Merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream. Stay calm, proceed gently with your vessel and do so gladly, life is wondrous, fleeting, and often made one way or the other by our perception of it. This inverted world, this collective lucid reality though it has its challenges is wholly what we make of it; what we do in this liminal space is our choice.
I may be accustomed to shifting things this way or that in my dreams and in the world as an artist and community member, but what this time has showed me is that I have more influence over *my* waking world, something that I haven’t felt control over for some years now. One day I hope my colorful and fantastic dreams return, but for now I will continue to reflect on that child’s poem and if there is truth in poet’s prophecies, I shall live.