“Common sense insists that we are awake and not dreaming. But the problem is HOW do we know this? … Carroll later wrestled with the problem in his book Sylvie and Bruno, in which the narrator shuttles back and forth mysteriously between dream and real worlds: ‘So either I have been dreaming about Sylvie,” he says to himself in the novel, ” and this is not reality. Or else I’ve really been with Sylvie, and this is a dream! Is life a dream, I wonder?’ “ Hugh Curtler – ‘Are We Dreaming?‘ March 2017
An early-December dream entangled itself in my waking hours – and lingered for over a month. The dream sifted through my wakefulness, and I wondered if trouble was brewing for Central America.
I had been dreaming of Nicaragua. Of living in a cozy attic apartment not far from the Costa Rica border, yet in a wild and rural area. In the dream I was interacting with friends that I do not know in this present life. Returning home just before the last of the natural light merged with the night, I spotted a military helicopter sinking low in the distance – as if about to land.
‘Oh no,’ I thought (in my dream) ‘I’m not sure what is happening, but it’s not good.’
Almost immediately the local airport was barricaded – no planes could land or depart. I instinctively knew that I should leave immediately. I knew that all borders would be closed, and that my passport would be worthless – and perhaps even a liability.
In the dream, someone had just paid me for a painting in a strange type of currency. Under the cloak of darkness and with money in my pocket, I headed for the mangroves, a place worthy of hiding until I formed a plan for sneaking to safety in Costa Rica. (Growing up along the Mississippi River gave me great survival skills!)
I often visited that area of Nicaragua when I lived in Costa Rica. The people were friendly, and I never felt in danger or threatened. I could throw on brakes and rest for a week, and the cost was extremely low for food and lodging. Why – after an absence of nine years – was I dreaming of Nicaragua?
I’ve followed the news/stories of the crisis which started last year, and have heard first-hand reports from friends and new contacts. People fear sharing many of the stories, which might place their lives in danger. I wondered if I should take my dream seriously. Was even-greater trouble brewing in Nicaragua?
In late December, my Ecuadorian neighbor asked, “Do you remember that dream you told me about?”
“Yes,” I smiled.
Also in early December, I dreamed that she and her husband had a little child – though we were all living in Mississippi – but in that dream they were basking in the presence of a precious toddler. She beamed, “The doctor confirmed; I’m with child!”
They have hoped for a child for years, which is why I shared the dream with them – to let them know that in the mysterious realm of my dreams, the child was a reality.
(Now this is a true FREE RIDE!)
Many mornings I awaken with a head crammed full of dreams, of people I don’t know and of places I’ve never been – yet it’s as if my life there is as real as this one. Some mornings I wonder, “Is that other person from my dreams now dreaming, and will she awaken and wonder, ‘Who are those people, and where is that big reservoir of water and what are the names of those amazing birds – and my paintings are hanging in a museum, but where is this?'”
I think that Lewis Carroll must have experienced the same type of dreams!
Perhaps the Nicaragua dream is related to my concerns about how divided my home country has become over various issues. Climate change, racism and ‘the Wall’ top that list, and I would bet that if I were indeed trying to escape danger by sneaking over a border, my loved ones would want me to get to safety – even if by an illegal entry into another country. In Ecuador I meet people from Venezuela almost every day; some are in transit and trying to earn a few dollars through honest tasks, like washing windshields at traffic lights. One beautiful young woman was part of the Nomadas exhibition at the Portoviejo Museo, but because of problems getting legal paperwork, she is now in Europe with family.
There are always scary stories about the ‘bad’ people, yet that’s true in my own country; just look at the shooting-spree headlines. There are good people, and there are bad people. Worldwide. If we allow our hearts to harden, and we see all refugees as threats, we have stepped far from the teachings of Christ – and of Buddha and Ghandi and other spiritual teachers.
How well I remember a friend’s sermon when she shared a story about a mission trip to Central America. She stated that each day more people crowded around the gates to the place where they were staying. During one meeting, someone asked, ‘What are we going to do about all of the people at the gates?” Someone else asked, “What would Jesus do?” and the answer was, “Jesus wouldn’t be behind the gates; He would be out there with the people.”
We are all allowed to form our own views, and our personal histories play into why we feel strongly (passionately at times!) about those views. We can also change our minds – especially if we peer deeper into the stories, peel back the layers and try to understand the viewpoints of others.
My dream helped me to consider the the ones who are oppressed and are trying to reach a better place in life. I hope that if I ever find myself bolting for safety, I’m not stopped by a wall – physical or invisible – which was placed by people who have lost compassion for their fellow man.
January Nicaragua Story: Journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro Flees to Costa Rica (There are more Nicaragua stories at this link.)
Via the world of WordPress, ClimateCrocks shared a link to a music video, The Wall, by Anais Mitchell/Greg Brown …. Intrigued, I leaned more via Washington post, where Anais Mitchell shares the story about the 2006 song. Go here for that story: “Why We Build the Wall”
I am ultra sensitive about ignoring the plight of our fellow man, and I often think it seems a bit hypocritical for us to dictate who can and cannot live in ‘the land of the free.’ After all, most of the North Americans have family trees with roots back in the Old World. Our ancestors left their homelands in hopes of a better life, more opportunity, etc. Many immigrants were not very respectful to the native people or to the natural resources.
If the Native Americans had placed protective walls around the Americas, wild buffalo herds might still roam the continent, and passenger pigeons might still blacken the skies. Ivory-billed Woodpeckers would populate still-intact areas of the Mississippi River flood plains.
Is there a softer way to bring our world back into the harmony it deserves? Keb Mo, via this song on Youtube, has a suggestion:
Put a Woman in Charge!
If you’ve not yet met the darling poster gal for environmental concerns, please give young Greta your attention. She speaks for herself – and for all who haven’t quite found the strong backbone that she possesses!
Last night I hoped to catch up on internet and properly thank all of you while staying at a friend’s hostal. Alas, the internet wasn’t working! Good news – there are two more museum shows in the future – the Manta Museo and the Bahia de Caraquez. The latter depends on when earthquake repairs are finished. I’m fine tuning details from the show that just ended, and the next opening (most likely in Manta) will be even stronger!
Thank you again for your amazing support, and for your much-appreciated comments, espeically on serious issues. Thank you for the time you spent here today with this not-so-ordinary post. See you next time online – hopefully when there are no screaming children in the background! (From a food court, Lisa)