Did you ever wake from a very frightening dream only to be sorely disappointed that the rest of your world was right where you left it the night before?
Last night I was washed out to sea. I floated on a sheet of old siding and was borne out to open ocean. For a great long time there was the changing topography of the water, and then the current granted me a gift. In the neighboring valleys of the sea there were others just like me. And if we were lucky beyond hope we might find ourselves desperately stranded, broken, without our lives or families but at least in uncertain company.
It was about this time that I woke, alone, in my darkened bedroom, under a somewhat deflated down comforter and shivering like it were a cold ridge-line morning in a leaking tent. I knew it could not be later than 1 am, but the decision to rise from bed to get another blanket was never more difficult. My only desire was to shut my eyes and turn again, back to the unreality of my dreaming sea where perhaps I could justify my shivering cold with the wet and exhaustion. And with that beautiful destiny in mind I steeled guts to amble down the hall and collect from the closet an underused 35 degree sleeping bag. hurriedly and still shivering I tucked my feet into the bottom leaving it unzipped and laying on top of me before throwing the comforter over as well. But I continued to shudder, harder, almost convulsions. Seizing an extra pillow I hugged it to my chest and feverishly pulled the edge of the sleeping bag around me, I need more insulation. All this for getting to bed a bit too long after the heat turned off for the night. but then, as I began to turn a corner in the real world, my mind rolled over my right shoulder and back into the water.
The sky is grey but the water no longer rushes and heaves my fellows and I have landed a few together here is a place unfamiliar, but similar in its brokenness to the one I slid from. The hills are steep and the buildings are short their doors, their windows, and some of their walls. On the beachfront I am wary of my fellow castaways, but there is nothing to know, there is nothing say and nothing to fear. With new eyes we explore a destroyed neighborhood seeing the great boon of all this easy material and pre-made shelter not the despair of its great loss.
On the second floor of a house, the street-facing wall removed, the center hall and bedroom now a great open-air balcony, I spy two others. I and my three fellows approach the house, we offer our assistance. No names are exchanged because what could they mean in a place like this? We can trade only kindnesses. And soon we sit, provisioned and warmed by a fire. As the sun runs out we clarify our new national project, in the morning we will look to find, help, and cheer who we can. Sitting closely by the young woman who had been on the second floor of this house, a laugh rings out from us both and I suddenly recognize her. We had met before but I never could see her in this way, we talk of the future and not of the past, not of loss but of our find.
By a fire with sweet closeness, and dear warming in her eyes I have another date with a woman I always hoped to see in the yellow light of nostalgic love. Our small new future in the light of this fire and new family. Terror, wariness, shivering against hope is all toothless connecting of past to present as the stars make themselves known and a new world is born. A utopia is born from hell.
Then the alarm rings and I am adrift and dry in a bed ill equipped for the world so well appointed. I cannot bear the loss.