Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Mountain, A Hut, and a Lion

I have always been a lucid dreamer. From the time I was a child, I had nightmares and storymares and such. I remember that the nightmares sometimes sent me flying to my parents' room for comfort. And I remember that one of those nights, after my father sent me back to bed, I went back to sleep, and the nightmare continued. And I knew within the dream that I'd have to take care of myself. A feat of gargantuan effort for a four or five year old, I managed to perceive during the nightmare that I was dreaming. I didn't like the way the story ended. Then, I "re-wound" the gruesome story and changed the outcome. Over the years, I developed many ways to navigate the dark and terrifying creations of my mind. I became an active player in my stories. I learned to "run," a special fly-like-deer-running that I created especially for dreams that helped me successfully escape from what ever was chasing me. And I learned to step out of the action like taking a seat at a theatre. And from my seat I watched my mind-movie.

And sometimes these mind movies come in sequels, the latest of which was "A Mountain, A Hut, and a Lion," the sequel to "A Tree, a Door, and a Lion." The first Lion-flick I saw was during the first year after Caitlin died. It was a surprising dream because it contrasted the emotionally draining and soul-trembling creations I was experiencing at that time. In the opening scene, I exited a doorway and was startled to see a lion. This enormous lion with a full main, a healthy shining orange coat and rippling powerful muscles made eye-contact with me. Instead of charging, as I feared, it made pierced my heart with its gaze and blinked like a yaw--only with eyelids. And with a slow nod it remained under the tree. And I remained an active player in my dream, and stood there in the grass with a transfixed on the lion. I perceived that it was content, that it welcomed me to its green space, and experienced its intended shared tranquility. Eventually, I walked on, the scene faded, and I was plummeted into another dream that took more rigorous work. I woke up exhausted, but with the memory of the lion's shared tranquility. Odd.

Two nights ago, the sequel. I am hiking a mountain. The trail is steep and it's getting dark. Others tried to keep up with me, but could not, and I would not slow down. Far above the treeline, I reached the hut and threw myself inside. It was small like a closet with hard dark wood walls. Grandparents of grandparents made this place from old trees; I knew this because the wood planks were wide. The wind howled and progressed to wild gales. But I learned quickly that sounds I heard wasn't only wind. I heard the lion. He was ragged and angry. His rage toward me had fueled his pursuit of me up the steep and rocky trail. Our eyes locked briefly through a thick dingy window at the top of the heavy door. From my seat, I saw my eyes fly open in fearful recognition. I was terrified. He dropped from the window and broke through the wall behind me slamming his massive body against the wall I was hugging. I rolled slightly to avoid being pinned.

This event threw me out of my passive role as an audience member of my personal mind-movie, and into my self-preservation role. I became an active player in a dream state of fight or flight. Fly-running wasn't an option inside a hut on top of a mountain with a dangerous tawny lion inside. I was too alarmed to rewind, after all there was no where else to go. No haven, no fortress, only an ancient hut atop a mountain. I squeezed myself out of the door, as the lion lunged, slamming it closed. I fled up--or was it down?-- the same rocky trail that led us there.

What does it mean? I don't know. I only hope that this is a trilogy. Because, our heroine is lost and directionless, and there's a lion on the loose.

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