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The Coming Dark

Dreamed 2002/3/2 by Jenny Badger; painting March 2002, acrylic on canvas, 50" x 60"
jennybadgersultan.com

I am in a backcountry area, climbing up an incredible wall of stone that has been eroded into the most amazing shapes--rounded shapes, small arches--very intricate. The face is steep, yet there are enough places to put hands and feet so progress is possible. I am very high up and I can look far around me and far below.

acrylic painting by Jenny Badger Sultan of a dream of ochre hills and natural bridges
I see more people coming into the canyon space below. Daylight is starting to fade, and it would be dangerous to be caught up here in the dark. If I were here all night I might fall asleep and lose my grip and fall. But descent seems almost impossible. Still, I see that I must try. detail of acrylic painting by Jenny Badger Sultan of a dream: a climber in ochre hills

So I carefully lower my feet down and feel for good footholds. It is hard to see what I'm doing, but I am able to continue down and very shortly I am at the bottom--much more quickly than I had hoped. Perhaps I was not so high after all!

I talk with the people on the ground. One woman says "I'm reminded of some rock areas in Arizona, but there it was more of a sloping rock face, not so straight up as here." There is some talk of a nearby town and how the air quality is affected by a certain practice the young people have of starting and stopping their cars as they procede down the street.

I ask "is it a kind of lowrider parade?"

"Not really--it's more like gunning the motor and then suddenly stopping, trying to make the person behind run into you."

Now we are driving in the town. Smoke billows ahead of us--what has happened? Then a trolley car flies through the air and crashes to the ground a ways in front of us, crushing everyone inside plus people that it landed on. I think a second huge vehicle comes crashing down. What horrible things are going on?

acrylic dream-painting by Jenny Badger Sultan: a  burning trolley car on its side, smoke billowing.
The police come and talk to two teenage girls in a car just in front of us, and snap handcuffs on them! The girls seem tearful, acknowledging some complicity in the disaster.

EDITOR'S NOTES

Two recreations, both risky. One danger's averted by prompt, mindful descent; the other blows up beyond anyone's worst fears. What's being warned against, here? Inconstancy of some kind, unpredictability, testing other's alerness and self-control? Given the mindfulness that saves the dreamer in the first part, I'm tempted to claim it's carelessness; but the bizarre game of stopping abruptly, deliberately making others prevent a crash, seems more than inattention.

Is it a pun on braking? Breaking hearts? That ends in breaking bones and lives.

But if you've read Jenny's other dreams here, you'll suspect another interpretation: reckless adolescent games causing a bloody crash sounds like something Jenny's dreamt of before: the Bush Administration's war in Iraq.

On the other hand, consider Climbing Down the Pinnacles, dreamed seven years earlier--you'll find the same themes, even the same imagery. Whatever these dreams address, it's long-standing indeed.

--Chris Wayan



LISTS AND LINKS: more Jenny Badger - dream paintings - mountains - ascent - nightfall - falling dreams - trains and trolleys - death - oops! dreams of mistakes - crashes - a very different trolley crash: The Blue Millipede

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