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Gravitree

Dreamed 2008/3/21 by Wayan

THAT DAY

I go through experimental poems and prose by my friend Patagia and find a dream of being a bird. A decade-old manuscript, badly faded; I struggle to transcribe it. Add to the World Dream Bank under the title Hunt and Peck.

Time for paid work now--my friend Lily's art-site. Photograph her new quilt and build three new pages with dozens of photos, captions and links.

I find a parking ticket on my car. So much for earning! Lose most of what I made today. I even reminded myself it was street-sweeping day, and still forgot--too busy working. After a year with no tickets, this makes $160 in fines since I started working. Sabotage! A warning. My spirit hates working for others. My art takes time and energy--and wage work drains both. Do what I was born to! If that means I starve, starve. But focus.

In the evening, the band Heller Highwater is playing free at Red Hill Books. Nice voices and harmonies but the songs are too safe for me. So as they play, I open my sketchbook and draw scenes from a nightmare about the complex triangular relationship between me, Emily Joy, and Cheryl.

At home, before bed, I scan the sketches and title that nightmare: Burn the Eggs.

Another dream-obsessed day...

THAT NIGHT

I've been looking at shared houses to live in, out in the Sunset District. Two acquaintances lived in the last one--programmers who commute to the Silicon Valley every day via freeway and consider themselves Bohemians. Decent enough guys, but I don't want to live with them.

I have my car, but tuck it under my arm and head for home on my bike. Awkward balancing my car on my hip like that, but... gas prices are so high, you know! I won't use it unless I must, on really steep San Francisco hills. Like the one ahead. The local main street winds through a narrow pass; but it's a few blocks north of me and has no bike lanes. Dangerous. Due east are tiny streets, too steep for me. I decide to try the street just before the main drag; it seems quiet.

At first it's not bad. But it steepens, winds, then ends in a shelf. You're supposed to twist and hop your car down. But to go up? Just impossible--toss my car up to the next block while balancing on my bike?

I try, and manage to toss the car an amazing height. But it flips and tumbles down out of control. Uh-oh! It's full size now--I can't catch it, but whack it mid-air so hard it half-rolls again and lands on its tires. For a second I'm relieved, then realize what I've done. It rolls down the street out of control, across the main drag below... and hits no one. It rolls uphill on the far slope, slowing, to disappear into the open entrance of...

A car-repair garage! How appropriate.

I don't hear a crash. Maybe it's coasted to a stop or wedged in. Whew! Could have been much, much worse. This curve up here isn't safe for cars! They need a warning sign.

I should hike back down the street to deal with the car, but instead I drop straight down the face of a cliff--well, mostly the walls and balconies of Victorian houses and flats stacked up San Francisco style--generations of add-ons as the city grew.

At first I climb down from ledge to ledge, careful to keep a handhold, but as my confidence slowly grows I start letting go, free-falling further and further: for my thoughts can slow my fall. If I'm mindful enough, I float!

I know I should be a responsible adult, hike down to investigate my car problem. But instead...

I start singing. Make up a Caribbean song a bit like "Kiss Da Girl" in Disney's version of The Little Mermaid. It has a strong, choppy, catchy rhythm:

"An--ti--
Gravity!
Dance above my town..."

And so I do.

I dance, not quite flying yet, not zero-grav choreography, but low-grav, bounding and pirouetting like a mad moonwalker. I dance over rooftops and leap over street-canyons, an effortless lunar Astaire.

At last, a few blocks away, I settle down in the branches of an Antigravitree. You may not have those in your town, if you have snow--the Antigravitree is a subtropical species. They're not common even here in San Francisco. A fascinating, controversial tree: its bark, taken as an herbal tea (or gnawed straight, by the more adventurous) has strange effects on a minority of people. Does it cause mere dreams of flying, or true flight? Folks disagree. I don't know.

But who cares? I'm doing just fine without it. Besides... this Tree at least is rotten. Dying, perhaps. I think it's been holding me down, not helping me fly!

A Gravitree.

Singing, I tear at its deadwood, clearing it out. The trunk forks in three. Two seem relatively sound; I tug in rhythm at the third, which is massive but quite rotten.

A new verse for my song just pops full-formed into my head, and I howl it as I tear the great branch free, and hurl it like some crazy chimp at Gombe, narrowly missing a pedestrian below...

The new verse goes:

"An'... de...
Gravitree
Cannot hol' me down!"
Feeling lighter now, I leap up to a roof. A rich friend of mine--a spy like James Bond--lives next door, in a tall Pacific Heights mansion with a roofed atrium full of tropical trees, though all I can see from up here is are the skylights. I leap over to his roof and dance gleefully on crystal, carefully making myself light as a moonwalker so I won't crack the panes.

But they tear like paper! Just thin plastic, not glass and metal. Down I fall...

... but not far. Stop myself with pure will this time, and float above his atrium floor. Finish my song, hovering there in the heart of the garden, and think:

"Oh well, messy crashes like these are inevitable stages in learning to fly."

NOTES IN THE MORNING



LISTS AND LINKS: cars, trucks, busses - climbing - music - trees - song and dance - Jenny sings from a Snake Tree - drastic procedures - flying - crashes - Sandra Miesel's Shaman / Dreamrider - initiative - dream advice about finance and romance - trios and triangles - Cheryl - same night, I dreamt a soul-study of Emily, too: Mayan Worldoor

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