fanciful thoughts

finger cymbal

She somewhat resembled the retired but not really old men who can’t wait to don their big blue hats and disappear into the basement for long periods to “work on” their elaborate model train sets. Like them, she could easily slip into a fantasy world where objects of interest were always smaller and at times had to be willed to be seen. She could spend hours gathering moss and twigs to build fairy houses and would then sit quietly nearby waiting for occupants. Little did she suspect that if you make them, they don’t necessarily come. And she was nearing forty.

Thus came into my dream world a phantom from another time. What conjured her up remains a mystery. But she was there and had come back for a reason that I’m still juggling.

When she was in my sphere years ago, she was perhaps best described as being in this world, but not necessarily of it. She had given birth and also taken life. Gypsy music, she claimed, flowed in her blood. On any occasion, she would snap her finger cymbals and shake the noise makers embedded in her dress and dance triumphantly about the room. There was a sparkle in her eyes, but her talk was of “edgy” men who were already growing old still with their teeth in another day’s bone. Fanciful thoughts passed through her head as she described her wish to land on other planets in search of a new life. Not new lives, but a new life. She wore me down with her unbearable lightness of being.

And now, so many years later, she decided to make a cameo appearance after dark. I found myself wondering about her and the motley fool’s costume she loved to wear. Perhaps she finally found the wild wood that beckoned and is now busy freeing small critters caught in the spider webs of her mind. When last seen, she was sporting a multitude of bumper stickers plastered all over the back of her little car. One I especially remember proclaimed, “Gods don’t kill people. It’s the people with gods who kill people.” She was a floater who came unexpectedly and without notice and disappeared just the same, a fish in water who leaves no trail. To those who would listen, she said she was descended from gods of a different lineage.

Now in the afternoon I close my eyes and see her in some over-the-rainbow refuge, smiling and without concerns. She said she always wanted to see sub-Saharan Africa where she could be natural wearing her conical Fulani hat made of leather and straw and embellished with cowrie shells. She laughed when she told me that the men of Mali often wore them as a symbol of wealth and status and to attract women. Perhaps in another life she had fallen prey to a tribal chieftain who had wooed her with such a hat. She laughed even louder that she had probably quickly deposed of him but kept the hat. I like to think she stopped by in my dreams just to tell me of her next adventure and to say “ta ta” again.

What am I to make of her intrusion? All I know for certain is that I’m faced with a wealth of text but a poverty of context. As we know, the world of dreams is forever protean, changing shape and meaning as we wish. I am a sentimental fool who likes to know that the people in the rich and colorful tapestry of my life have not just simply vanished when they’re not close by. I think of many who have spun off in other directions, as though they were sideswiped getting out of Atlanta. What had started off as a journey together in a northeasterly direction toward Asheville got suddenly redirected toward Houston, and neither of us were ever to be heard from again. How did that happen in the second I took my eye off the road or had to cancel a date at the last minute? It might have been no more complicated than one of us passed too close to one of those multi-tiered overpass complexes which force you to gulp for air. You blink and the two of you are like anti-matter whirling off in opposite directions into your own very personal interstellar jaunts. Whatever gravitational pull that held you together before is now history.

So my flower child from another galaxy popped in briefly to give me a wink but no more. Gotta go, fairy houses to build, lemurs to ride, butterflies to mount. If you want to see me again, perhaps a heavy pair of lids and the need to lie down in deep clover and inhale the Mustardseed of full delight.

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Image: by Sandrine Magrin via Flickr  and used under Creative Commons license.

David Evans

I'm retired from another life and live in the mountains of eastern West Virginia with my muse Jody along with one remaining dog.  We've decided no more dogs and cats.  Losing them is just too painful. Being independent and no longer in the reins of someone else's driver, I now have the chance to revisit the many people and places that have enriched my life. The good folks at Wesleyan College in central West Virginia guided me to a graduate degree in fine arts in early 2018.  My plan is to use some of the skills I learned from two years in this creative writing program to tell my story.