Sunday, November 1, 2015

Land of the Lost

There was quite a stretch of time when I could not remember my dreams, but over the last few years that has changed. I have a  reoccurring dream a few times a week; sometimes more, sometimes less. In the dream I am lost, sometimes in a city, and at other times in a rural area. The locales are an amalgam of places from my past. In some episodes, it's the last day of my job and I'm wandering through the building, looking for an exit. Often I'm trying to avoid familiar faces: family and foe. The plot-lines are variations on a theme, but the common thread is a feeling of malaise and helplessness.

I don't believe that dreams have any hidden or obvious meaning, besides the fact that a stressful dream is symptomatic of not dealing with the stress that occurs in the waking life. I'd much rather fall into dreams filled with booty and bodacious tatas rather than nightmares populated with bad-asses and wrong turns. I wake from these dreams feeling ill at ease, pieces of the dream hanging on like spider webs in the wind and then I need to start the day and let that silken dream fall away.

There is probably a good reason that facing our fears and eradicating stress are not our national pastimes. Instead, our pastimes are all about avoidance and diversion. We can walk by the numerous homeless human beings on the way to the football game, where we'll drop about five-hundred bucks on mindless entertainment. The hillsides parallel to Interstate 5 are dotted with dome tents and tarps, where a multitude of homeless people are doing their best to survive in a cruel world, where help is only a hot-line, that puts you on endless hold.

When I was younger, I would purposely get lost in the miles of woods behind our home. Getting lost equaled an adventure. Now if someone gets lost, they'll eventually stumble into a Wal*Mart, or some other ugly American edifice. No sense of adventure there. As a youth, I dreamt of running away to Alaska, and homesteading. Escaping society by living in a remote cabin seemed the only sane thing to do. Now my knees ache in damp weather, and my days of chopping wood are over, as if they ever began.

Apparently I've been lost my entire life. I joined the air force on a whim at the naive age of seventeen. After my escape from the icy confines of Grand Forks air force base, I quickly met a needy young woman, who was looking to escape her alcoholic mother, and a father with wandering hands. Now it's late in the year 2015, and I am about to celebrate my fourth year of marriage to my third wife. I'm a little clueless as to how I got here. It wasn't like I thought ahead.

I suspect that there are some people, who map out their lives, sticking to their schematic and fulfilling all their goals; meeting or surpassing expectations. Meanwhile the majority of us are flying by the seat of our pants. We look back and think, if only I had done things differently...taken a different path, but we only have the path we're on. Sometimes on our journey, the sun is shining and it's a festive atmosphere. At other times we are alone in a dark wood, with strange creatures just beyond the treeline.

If only there was a AAA guide for the important journeys in life, pointing out obstructions and alternate routes. Instead, we are wandering about with a white cane and a trembling chihuahua as our guide dog. The good news is that I have been finding more reasons to pause and absorb the moment at hand. The moon, rising through the clouds. The smell of autumn in the air. Cuddling with a loved one on a cold winters' night. All worthy rest stops on the highway of life.

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