Dream of:19 June 1997 "Russian Sword"
the power to create beauty can transform imagination into reality
I awoke from a long complicated dream which I was trying to remember so I could write it. The details were sketchy, however, and I couldn't seem to recall some of the most important elements. I knew the central theme of the dream had involved moving to Russia, learning the Russian language, and immersing myself in Russian literature. More specifically, in the dream, I had resolved to read and thoroughly understand Tolstoy's War and Peace. I had previously read War and Peace, but the novel was vague in my mind. When I studied it this time, I was resolved to completely understand everything in the book.
In the dream I had felt as if I would read and thoroughly study quite a few other novels besides War and Peace. I had seemed to be searching for a niche in life, and I thought I had found that niche in the world of novels. I wouldn't merely read the novels, but I would immerse myself in them, becoming familiar with all their characters. I had realized that such an immersion would be a peculiar concentration of my efforts. However I had recently met a man who had made an occupation of studying light, and mastering the many distinctions of light and shadow. Surely studying the characters in novels would be no more peculiar than that.
In the dream, a textbook which described some Russian novels had been in front of me The book was peppered with pictures of Russian art, and one picture in particular caught my eye: a tall white marble statue of a man holding a sword. Although the statue was in the section of the book dealing with Russian literature, and the statue had been created by a Russian sculptor named David, the statue itself portrayed a figure from Moslem history. The picture of the statue remained firm in my mind as I thought back on my dream and tried to remember the dream's details.
I felt as if the dream had been trying to tell me something. I knew that I had been emerging from a rather dark period in my life, and that lately I had been having a number of dreams suggesting a new direction which I should take. It occurred to me that perhaps the dream was suggesting I should actually travel to Russia and take up a new life there. I recalled that I used to dream about Russia quite a bit, but that I hadn't had any dreams of Russia in a long time.
I thought about John Jacobs, a young fellow with whom I had once exchanged dreams on the internet. Jacobs had once written me about Russia's being an element in so many of my dreams. I had forgotten about Russia being in so many dreams. I had never understood why I dreamed about Russia anyway, but I was happy that Russia now seemed to be calling me again.
I was still lying in bed next to my young Salvadoran-American wife Carolina. Finally I stood up so I could write the dream. Once on my feet, however, instead of writing the dream, I walked over to the door and stepped outside of the room. I was fully dressed in heavy clothes and a cumbersome dark coat. Snow covered the ground. As I looked around at the landscape, I tried to remember where I was. It seemed as if we were at a small roadside inn where Carolina and I had stopped to spend the night, a temporary place to lodge on our way to Russia.
Since we were off the beaten path, I was surprised when my first wife, Louise, walked past me, right in front of the inn. I hadn't seen or talked to Louise for so long, her being out here in the middle of nowhere seemed strange. Along with her was a whole troop of probably 20-30 men and women who obviously worked for Louise in her law office. They were all dressed like peasants in dull heavy clothes.
I immediately wanted to talk with Louise. Although I hadn't considered it much before, it now occurred to me that I thought about her every day. Since we no longer spoke with each other, however, I was never able to say anything to her. As she passed, I opened my mouth and asked her if she would talk with me for a few moments. She paused and indicated she would, although she seemed in a hurry and disinclined to afford me much time. She looked quite beautiful with her black hair and rosy cheeks. I wanted to talk to her alone, but talking was difficult with all her workers there. One woman in particular stayed close to her. Finally I simply said, "How ya been?"
She seemed a bit sad. I had the feeling that her present marriage hadn't worked out well and that she was having trouble with her husband. I just wished that she and I could at least be friends, and that we could talk to each other - but she seemed so distant. I regretted that connecting with her was almost impossible.
Finally I began telling her a little about my present life. I knew that she, like I, had worked as a bankruptcy attorney. I told her that I had handled over 1,000 bankruptcy cases, but that I only had 31 cases left to finish, and 10 of those were ready to end. When those 31 cases were finished, I would be free from practicing law, and I would be able to travel to Russia. I thought Louise would be impressed with the idea of my being free of the law practice, but she merely held up her hand and waved a mock good-bye, as if wherever I went didn't make any difference to her.
As Louise and I had been talking, I had noticed that I seemed to recognize one man in her troop. I stepped away from Louise for a moment and I began talking to him. I now recalled that I had met this man once before and that he had been a Russian. When I asked him where he lived and he told me that he lived in the slums of Fort Worth, I told him I didn't want to know where he lived now, but where he had lived when he had resided in Russia. Unfortunately he didn't seem to understand what I meant. I finally gave up and walked back toward Louise.
Although she seemed impatient to leave, she ran toward me and almost slipped on the ice. I caught her in my arms. Holding her felt good, even for a second. Even though I knew nothing was left between us, I still regretted that we couldn't be close in some way. After she stood back up on her feet, we both stood in silence about a meter from each other. There was so much that I would like to be able to say to her, to tell her about my life and to find out about hers. I would especially like to tell her about my dreams and about my writing. Our inability to even talk was painful. Suddenly, however, as if a revelation, I realized that that was just the way it was, and that there was no hope of changing it. In fact, I only needed to do one thing: I needed to write my dream.
I turned from Louise and walked away without saying anything else to her. I headed back inside, wondering whether any paper was inside the inn, paper on which I could write my dream. Maybe someday if I ever wrote a successful book of dreams, maybe then Louise would want to talk with me. But for now there was no hope, and I only needed to focus on writing.
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