Dreamed 1958 by Alder, age eight and a half; illustration by Wayan
At first I'm just a hovering watcher. An endless choppy gray sea, with no land in sight. Gray overcast sky. Rising from the sea, horizon to horizon, runs a line of white marble Corinthian pillars (I know they're Corinthian since we just got tested on that in school. The carved heads of these columns are fancy--Corinthian).
A white dot streaks toward me along the column-line... a huge white bird leaping from pillar to pillar, with human legs and a human face.
I try flapping my great white wings as hard as I can, but I just can't fly. Inexperience, or just too big? And I know that without human arms, I can't swim--if I fall in, I'll drown for sure. But I'm not afraid, just desperately urgent to keep running, keep ahead of the collapse. I'm well ahead so far, but...
NOTE: A FEW MONTHS EARLIER
When I was eight, a grownup told me that I could change my dreams or wake up from them if I wanted to. Nobody used the term lucid dreaming then, and I don't even recall who told me this, but I took that advice to heart, and it soon paid off.
Not long after that, I dreamed I jumped off a high cliff above the sea. At first I shut my eyes in fear, but then recalled I could change things. So I deliberately opened my eyes and just watched the rocks come up. I found I was quite enjoying this and wondered what it'd feel like, going splat. I woke just before I hit. It worked!
After that I was never too afraid in my dreams.
So what I felt here wasn't fear, but a breathless urgency--I had to keep running until I learned to fly. I don't know just what life-skill the dream meant by flying, or why part of me, the watcher, could hover effortlessly while the other me struggled to get off the ground. But whatever it was, the split ran deep--for years in my dreams I've often been an active participant on the ground, OR floated as a passive watcher, but hardly ever flown under my own power.
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