Snapping Turtles

I’m having a dream, and I’m uncertain if it’s a good one or a bad one. In my dream is a man I used to know, a man named Reed. In real life and in the dream, Reed’s body was wormed through with cancer. In my dream, he was alive. In reality, he’s been dead for three years, wasted away, wasted from a strong and beautiful man and to a hollow shell of the person he had been. I’d been with his friends when we poured his ashes into the Pacific, and when we were finished, we felt as hollow as he’d become before he died.

I am at a loss these days, and I can’t figure out why. I have love, love from Bez, maybe love from Nikola. I have a home. I have my work.  I have nothing to complain about. Nothing at all.

And yet I am… unfulfilled.

Reed, like my mother, was raised Catholic. Did it bring any comfort to either of them in their last days? I don’t know. Reed chose to do his dying at home, refusing visitors, allowing no one near except his girlfriend, who stayed with him until the end, and since his death she has had no contact with any of the people Reed was close to. Did religion help him cope? I have no idea.

My mother, for her part, died without ever mentioning God to me or to my father. Her Catholicism hadn’t extended beyond her childhood, and other than an old black Bible she kept on the shelf amongst her other books, there was no sign of religion in her.

My father was very loosely a Buddhist, and by that I mean that he would periodically read works on the subject and occasionally go to a temple and sit quietly, which he told me was what all of Buddhism could be boiled down to: learning the ability to sit still.

I don’t think I know how to sit still. It’s harder that it looks.

In my dream, I am as old as I am now, but I am wading in the lake where I was drowned as a child. No, wading implies that I am only getting my feet wet. Rather, I am a ways out from shore, the water up just above my breasts, and my flesh is goosepimpled from the cold. I am surrounded by lily pads. Just below the surface of the lake, there is something swimming, but I can’t see through the water well enough to tell what it is.

This is when I notice Reed, ill, already dying, but still looking almost healthy, away on the shore. He’s twenty feet away, but when he speaks, it sounds as though he is standing right next to me. “Watch out,” he says. “There’s snapping turtles in the water.”

“They won’t bother me,” I say. “I’m a turtle too.”

Then his lips move and he is saying something else to me, but this time I can’t hear anything he says. There is a splash from behind me in the water, loud, something breaking the surface either going below or reaching the surface, but I don’t turn to look.

“I’m not afraid,” I say.

This is when I wake.

I don’t know how to sit still.

I think it’s time for me to try to learn.

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7 Comments

  1. I believe in dreams of the dead as good omens. And I’m quite certain there is something in not fearing the turtles.

    Reply
    • Kameko

       /  March 1, 2012

      Life is full of things to fear, but my dreams rarely fall into that category. I try to learn from them, try to find something of value in them, or if all of that fails, I just try to enjoy them, even if they can from time to time be creepy and full of snapping dangers.

      I’m a little odd, I know.

      At least that’s what people tell me.

      Reply
  2. Water of life, water of consciousness…so much that we see, so much below the surface that we don’t, but sense.

    I have found sitting still is good practice. It allows things to bubble to the surface of their own accord, despite all the extraneous, external distraction “above the water”.

    Oops, time to flow. Nice blog… 🙂

    Reply
    • Kameko

       /  March 1, 2012

      Water of love, deep in the ground, says Dire Straits.

      I’m practicing the sitting, I am, but you know that’s the time when all of the thoughts can too easily come up where you feel like you need to examine them, instead of just noticing them and letting the float to the edges where they are out of the way until you can really explore their natures.

      I swear I am not easily distracted by shiny things.

      Sometimes, though, it’s really, really hard anyway.

      Reply
      • Oh, no doubt. I suppose that is why many use some point of focus or mantra. Or if you’re one of those non-conformist types (cough) you can play the opposite game and try to think of anything but a blue elephant. 🙂

        It does seem a bit of a Catch-22, in that it requires patience to develop, but we tend to start out doing it to learn patience. Like anything, it comes with practice. After practicing off and on most of my life, I can usually drop into a ‘meditative’ state practically anywhere, which can be handy when standing on cue at the grocery store…

        Reply
        • Oops again…”queue”… :-/

          Reply
          • Kameko

             /  March 1, 2012

            I’m trying to focus on a slowly spinning coin in my mind, and when things wander through my thoughts, I let them slip across the coin’s face as it rotates. I figure that if I can’t stop the random thoughts from coming, then I can at least pin them to a specific location in my mind, instead of allowing them to run free in a wild rumpus in my skull.

            I suppose we all have our little tricks, don’t we?

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