My wife and South Dakota.
Archive for July, 2010
I had a dream when I was in high school, I guess fourteen or fifteen years ago, that I still remember more clearly than almost any other dream from that long ago.
I was walking home in the Knoxville neighborhood I grew up in–if you’ve ever been in a slightly run-down lower-middle/working class neighborhood in the South, you know exactly what it looks like. I was with my best friend at the time, and maybe with a few other people (my brother?), and we were walking around to the back of the house. I was aware that there was warning of an imminent nuclear attack. There might have been an audible siren, or it might have just been the impression of an audible siren.
But we walked around to the backyard, and there, laying in the back yard, just outside the window to my father’s studio, was an atomic bomb.
The bomb was made of wood, some light kind of wood like balsa or just a rotten log, and it looked like it had been roughly carved. It was about 15-20 feet long and 3-4 feet wide, roughly missile-shaped. A panel was open on the body of the bomb, with sort of a generic instrument array inside. Maybe flashing lights.
I remember the dread in the pit of my stomach–the world-shatteriing terror of coming dface to face with an armed atomic weapon. We all dove to the ground, aware for some reason that the only way we would survive this thing was to not look at the bomb, under any circumstances It was not clear or even important in the dream whether not looking at the bomb would actually prevent it from detonating, or if we would just survive the explosion. It was only crucuially important that we did not look.
Of course, I looked. I couldn’t help it. I looked, I peeked, I watched.
The whole world had gone still, but what I saw was a dog. A black dog. In fact, I saw a talking black dog, in the middle of a conversation, standing next to or maybe even on top of the armed atomic bomb. And I could not hear the conversation, but I knew the dog was talking about me.
Although I could not see dog’s conversation partner, I was also deeply andf unquestionably aware that the dog was talking to God.
Like I said, I couldn’t make out the conversation, and I could not hear God’s voice talking back to the dog. The only thing I caught was the dog saying, referring to me, “this one has his eyes open. This one can see.” It was not angry. The sense of it was more like a discussion about what should be done about me, because I was looking at the bomb when I was not supposed to, and I was seeing things that I was not supposed to see.
It was the kind of dream that you wake up from and feel changed by it, like it was profound and meaningful, even if you are not entirely sure what the dream meant. And I had the dream a long time ago, but I remember it as clearly as if I had it last night.
Sing to me the song of dogs,
The song of hunt, the song of tribe,
Of friendship deep, and fire and snow,
Of heavy breath and blood,
The joy of chase and the pride of kill.
The song of warm places and good things to eat,
Of sharp ears and instinct, of deep and peaceful sleep.
Sing the song of hunger and hurt,
The cold song, the old song,
The fear-song and love-song.
Sing to me the song of birth and death,
And of true bond that lives past death.