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

David Evans

I'm retired from another life and live in the mountains of eastern West Virginia with my muse Jody along with one little and two big dogs and a diminishing pride of two cats and other critters who come along the path from time to time. I retired one morning years ago when I woke up and said, "This is the day." It was simply time to do something new with my life. I had done whatever I did long enough, and now it was time to do something else. Being independent and no longer in the reins of someone else's driver, I believe I have found something to cherish that I never had before. Retirement may be dull and boring, but that's true only if you are dull and boring. But if you’re like I was, and am, I saw a lot of things as I went along the trail that I would have liked to linger over a lot longer if I had had the time to spare. Above all, I wanted to think about what they meant and have the chance to go back over them and figure them out. I'm not abashed to say that today I lead a life of real luxury. I also recognize that I'm a lucky boy. In the words of Katherine Anne Porter: "My life has been incredible, I don't believe a word of it." I am the author of the recently published collection of essays entitled Meeting Memory In The Dark. Earlier I self-published Words To Woo Her By And Other Distractions Along The Way; Tunes of Glory: The Slow Ticking of the Heart; Cradle My Soul: Glimpses Into Other Lives; and Unscheduled Stops: Essays on Love, Loss and Other Roadside Attractions. All are available on either Amazon or Create Space, a subsidiary of Amazon. Proceeds go to the Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary in Capon Bridge, West Virginia.