"Are we there yet?"
"We're closer than the last time you asked. That, I can promise you."
"What if I fail?"
A series of connected, lucid dreams has haunted me since early this year. They are similar to dreams of old, when a woman in a cabin beckoned to me, insisting that I find her so she could give me "the answer." At first I avoiding answering the dream. Then, when the dream woman appeared in my waking life, I read the situation wrong. I convinced myself this was to be the "great love of my life" and the key to living happily ever after. It was a peculiar interpretation, given that I had sacrificed two very meaningful and fulfilling love affairs to reach her. In the end it was about something else. I found her so that I could inspire her, restore her faith in herself and things beyond the obvious. I changed her life and she changed mine, and we never made physical contact although I sat across a bar from her for three years.
In these dreams I find myself in a large house. It reminds me of my grandparents' house that I have not visited since my grandfather died in the 1980s. It isn't that house, it is larger and has more rooms, but it feels like that house. The dream always begins with me sitting next to a beautiful woman with dark, almost pitch black hair. We are on a couch in this house and she is drinking beer. Everyone in the house is drinking beer. It is some kind of party, but there is no music and barely any sound at all. It is very quiet, especially given that there are all least two dozen people walking around drinking.
The woman I am sitting with is making strong sexual overtures towards me, both physically and verbally. She makes it clear that she wants me, telling me she has been "aching" for me for a long time. I get up and walk away from her. Each time I get up I see another woman, looking worn out and tired, carrying what appears to be a baby. Over many nights of this dream I've come to wonder if it really is a baby as it is wrapped in a blanket and I never actually see it.
"You don't remember me?" she asked me the first time I had the dream. "It has been a long time. I don't mind. I'm not very memorable."
"I'm sure I must remember you. Give me time..."
Each time I have the dream, she tells me in one way or another that there is nothing I can do for her. She tells me not to waste my time. And each time, in every dream, she makes a point to tell me her name.
"My name is Lindsey."
Usually, at that point, I wake up.
In my lucid dreams I can usually change my own actions and reactions to things that happen, especially in a dream that repeats for many nights. Upon advice from a friend, I set out to learn the other woman's name. As the dream began, I found myself on the couch with the dark haired woman. Her hand was on my leg and she was running her hands through my hair while staring intently into my eyes.
"Who are you?" I asked her.
"I'm The Crow. Who did you think I was?"
"What am I supposed to do here?"
"I don't know. Go where there are no crows?" It was a rather odd and humorous reference to my dreams of twenty years ago when I was told to "go where there is no snow."
I looked up to see Lindsey, still holding her apparent baby, watching me intently. Then the room was washed out by a bright light and a certain angel I know appeared.
"What is this about, Annie?" I asked my angel.
She smiled, shrugged and said, "Go where there are no crows."
My angel is a bit of a nutball. It is appropriate.
I have been working for years on leaving North Carolina where I currently live, mostly because I came here for the final days of my grandmother, who passed on four years ago. I stayed out of lack of ambition and drive, having a job and a place to live and not feeling any urgency. I was working on a serious plan to move back to Orlando last year when I became very sick and was eventually diagnosed with lupus. After a very rough six months I found my way back to functionality and having left my job I found myself at a point of decision. Where do I go from here?
There are heavy considerations, from having a good doctor here and family support, but I feel empty here. This place has run its course and some time ago I took to inventing reasons to stay. They were excuses, mostly. For someone who once flowed on the river of life's adventures and his own mythology, I've become very gun shy.
After the dream in which I asked the dark haired woman her name, I went out to the park down the street for my morning walk. As I went down this one particular path shrouded in trees a murder of crows began cawing loudly and flying about in what appeared to be a mad panic. They didn't fly off or run away, they stayed with me overhead as I walked, continuing their mad loud cawing.
Go where there are no crows. Seriously. This is how you tell me it is time to leave this place?
I regularly dream of another place. It is a place I call Rancho Nuevo and I believe it is the place I went to when I died over twenty years ago. In these dreams I meet a number of interesting characters, all of whom seem to represent someone I know or will know in my waking life.
There is one who called himself Remembrancer. He's a suave son of a bitch with a fancy riding coat, white horse and a dapper hat. He always comes off as quite smug and very sure of himself. It tends to bother me that he always talks to me while mounted on his horse and I am standing on the ground.
He also looks a lot like me.
"Don't worry, Jack," he tells me. "I remember what you cannot."
I'm known as "Jack" in this place. It has something to do with a long story involving Jacks and Queens and so forth.
For quite a while I tried to avoid him in my dreams. Lately I've been looking for him. I wonder what he remembers about Lindsey and why I cannot remember anything about her at all. I imagine he's dodging me now, in his smug way.
You choose your own path. You cannot help it. You cannot stand still forever, and even standing still is a path of your choosing.
"You didn't regain your strength to just sit around waiting," says my angel. "You aren't done. Find what has been lost. You already know what to do."
Everything is momentarily frozen in a murder of crows.