Tuesday, 27 September 2011

To Dream That Dream

A new peace has settled upon me lately. Despite all that life has thrown at me in the past, the pain of remembering, and now the threat of financial meltdown, I am mostly calm.

So many of us strive for financial success, to attain materialistic things. I had so little growing up, and even later in life. It became almost an obsession to be a success, to have lots of possesions. To be rich.

Money is a requirement for living. We cannot survive without it. How much do we really need though? Is the man or woman sat in their multi million pound house happier than someone in something a great deal more modest? Do designer clothes make the man? Do diamonds and gold make you a better person? Does driving a Porsche mean you are a better driver then someone driving a Ford? When we die we are all equal. No money in the world can stop us dying. Poverty has its own problems, starvation, cold, health problems. Why don't we just take ALL the money and wealth in the world and share it out equally.

I have always shared, whatever I have, with those that don't. I am happier giving than receiving.

I have been given recently what I consider a great gift. Understanding.

I have been having very lucid, surreal dreams of late. I chanced upon a stranger was based on one dream.

This next piece is based on another.

I walked along a riverbank. My gait was unsteady and my back was bent. My head twitched and I couldn't see or hear clearly. It was a slow, painful walk. The sun burnt and peeled my skin, the insects swarmed around me, feeding. My feet bled from ill fitting sandals.

As I walked I could not hep but be in awe of the beauty of the river. It flowed gently, only occasionally breaking white over boulders that lay in its path. On the far side of the river fish jumped catching flies, and a lone man sat watching them from under the branching arms of a twisted old apple tree full of fruit. Near him I saw the smoke from what must be a small camp fire. He looked familiar, but he was a long way off and my eyes were poor.

Ahead of me was a ricketty bridge that crossed over the river. The further it stretched, the more dangerous it looked. Though the river flowed gently, it seemed very deep and I was not a strong swimmer even when in good health.

On the side of the river nearest me no fish jumped and no fruit grews on its banks. I was hungry and thirsty.

I decided to cross the river using the old bridge. Even if the lone man wouldn't share with me, perhaps I could catch my own fish or pick my own fruit. It took me some time to get to the base of the river bridge. My body ached, bent down with the weigth of the disease and pain I was carrying.

I looked across the expanse and thought that if I was very careful I could cross that bridge. I glanced towards the man and saw that he was now watching me.

I took my first step onto the bridge. My concentration was totally set on my destination. My body,  though old and diseased, pushing itself forward. I walked about 20 steps without looking up. When I did I saw that the distance to the far side seemed further than it had when I started. I should by now be about a third way across. I looked behind me and to my horror discovered that the distance back appeared almost as far as I had yet to go forward.  I stood there and cursed. What to do? Go back the slightly shorter distance or continue forward in the hope that the extended distance was a play on my eyes.

I glanced down at the river and froze to the spot. What had appeared calm and gentle from the riverbank now was a crashing, whitewater strewn with craggy rocks and fallen trees.

What had I got myself into!? Why had I decided that the far river bank held greater promise. If I had continued on my own side then I might have come across fruit and clean water, I might have found someone to share them with. I cursed again.

Suddenly a section of the bridge that I had just crossed over broke away. I was left with no choice but to go on. My heart was in my mouth as I took small steps forward. Where my hands had once grabbed onto old rope, now vines grew. Were my eyes deceiving me? Was I losing my mind? I hastened my step lest the vines grew to block my way forward... The vines became thorny, my hands began to bleed. I stopped where I was and bagan to cry, gently, without sound. The tears poured forth and washed down over me.

I heard a voice calling out, telling me to stay where I was. I looked up through wet eyes and saw the lone man was now standing at the far end of the bridge.

I tried to wipe the tears from my eyes, but only irratated them with the blood and grime from my hands. I felt my body sag, my heart thumped in my chest, my head pounded. I wept openly and loudly, I could take no more. I thought to throw myself into the raging river beneath me.

Again I heard his voice. He said to me to wait where I was. I was so lost in my own world of sorrow and pain that though I heard his voice, I didn't believe him or trust him. I stood up, and held onto the thorny vines. The pain I expected was not there though I bled more and more. I thought to myself that though life had all but defeated me, I refused to meet death with anything but head held high and standing on my own two feet.

I closed my eyes and prepared to step off the bridge.

I felt a hand on my shoulder. Startled, I opened my eyes. The man stood before me, but through my swollen, bloodshot eyes I could still not make out his features. His eyes bore into mine, and though intense, there was no menace in them. His hand on my shoulder was firm, yet soft and felt warm. He made no comment to what my more than obvious intentions had been, instead he asked me to keep looking him in the eyes and to just walk towards him. I felt no option but to trust and do what was asked of me.

We walked perhaps ten steps when he said to me that I was now safely across. I was astounded as surely there must have been forty or fifty steps to go before reaching the river bank. He read the confusion in my expression and told me to look around. I did and indeed we were on the riverbank.

My legs gave way at that point. I collapsed into a sobbing heap at his feet. I thought it must be raining for suddenlt I felt water drops landing on me. I looked up but the water came from the man, he was crying, silently, and his tears were landing on me.

As they ran down my face and across my body I felt a warm glow. I felt years of pain and suffering leave me. I stood up to embrace this man, this fellow traveller whose actions had saved me.He looked at me through his own teary eyes and accepted my embrace. I held him tight, I wept on his shoulder and he wept on mine. 

I opened my eyes again to look at him. I could see clearly now. I was astonished, I almost fell backwards. The man looked just like me, but healthier and much cleaner. Again he read my expression but this time he threw his head back and laughed. Confused I turned to walk away, he caught my hand and as he did a bright light flashed around us. I heard a loud noise and suddenly he was gone. I blacked out.

I awoke, looked around me and then down at my body. The scars were gone, the twisted limbs were now straight, the dirty, blooded, burnt skin now clean and healthy. I looked 20 years younger!  I heard birds singing, I saw through new eyes.

Stunned I walked over to where his fire was still burning, I sat down and looked across the river. Fish jumped in the shallows near my feet, I looked around and saw a neat pile of fresh apples. I bit into one, it tasted fresh, sweet and crisp. A noise distracted me...

I looked across the river and saw an old man, bent and twisted walking along the path that I too had travelled along. I paused a moment and thoughts played across my mind.

I smiled to myself. I understood....


Veronica Messegee said...

Very cool!

Nic said...

I can understand the meaning of that I think but I am no where there yet .....you write very very well .... I used to believe in material things as I was poor growing up too..... I have had more than enough money and been hungry very hungry .... I know I take things for granted I wAnt that taken away from me a bad character defect ... And I punish myself and I feel old ... Locking myself in ... In the dark is like my own punishment ...in my own dark dungeon of an existence .... Ok sorry ... Sorry . My mind is sick today .... I am in counseling but only one session

Anonymous said...

a beautiful and life enhancing journey!


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