Seventeen years in this place, no wonder we’re going mad. The elms are eating the house, the spider webs and dust are eating me. We did all right for a long time: it used to rain, there were gardens, I even cut the grass—which means at least there was some. Now everything is weird and crispy. Somewhere in that time frame, everybody died: parents, in-laws, aunts, uncles, a couple siblings, two cats, old friends back in Maryland, even our very own landlord. (He lived on the other side of the wall.) Be that as it may, a lot of things have been in suspended animation since forever. I wish whatever scuttles away with a rustle-clonk in the bathroom late at night were one of them, but this is New Mexico and that wouldn’t be right. There needs to be a thing that pulls you under so you see the light.
The other night I dreamed a saga in four acts. Behold the power of the Void!
I’m on a newly-paved road near a city. The asphalt dark, still oily, with a splash of gravel on the edge that hasn’t been swept up. It’s raining just enough that all of this is wet. I’m trying to gun whatever car I’m driving off the sloping bare dirt shoulder up onto the road. The drive wheels spin, the engine falters. Traffic goes by in both directions, all I can do is look.
Then comes the bottom of a muddy ditch. It’s deep and has a v-shaped profile. Again the problem is proceeding. The mud is soft enough to take a footprint and almost wet enough to splash. How to make my way along? Somehow I’m now standing on a quilt or blanket, puffy like an unrolled sleeping bag. Aha, I think, I’ll just shuffle up the ditch on top of this, which works for several steps, and then I see the front end of the thing has gotten wet and soggy. I fold it over toward me, useless exercise—the magic carpet isn’t going anywhere. And while I have the vaguest sense of wraith-like figures in the ditch behind me, it’s really only me there, all alone.
I lift my head and take a long gaze upward. The ditch is deeper than I am tall, too bad, but even worse, it now goes all the way up the side of a barren brown dirt mountain, rising high and steep into the clouds. Even if I could make it all the way, I’d end up dead or useless from exhaustion. I stand there for a moment, letting the image burn itself onto my brain.
I’m in a residential neighborhood in a kind of funky mountain town you might see in Colorado, after sunset. Frame houses with little porches crowded up against the curbless sidewalk, vehicles parked alongside, here and there some folks around. The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed. Although the sun has set, there’s a brilliant strip of blue between the clouds and the horizon. A small group, maybe six or seven, crowds around a low-slung custom car and melt away as I approach. Hey look at that, I tell myself, a ‘37 Ford—which may be true—deep orange-red with flaring fenders and a chromed V-8. I’m standing there in front, admiring how smooth and solid the whole package is, when I notice someone in the front seat waving to me: a pretty blonde lady in a cowboy shirt and jeans, beckoning me over to the driver’s door. Who am I to argue?
This really is a hot rod. The “suicide door” opens from the front edge. She scootches over enough for me to sit a little bit inside, quite excited for me to see this. The interior is completely customized with shiny chrome-rimmed dials and lights. The most astonishing thing, however, is what I now perceive to be a wrap-around windshield that curves around and blends into the window glass. There are no A-pillars. Just a beautiful, seamless sweep of blue-tinted glass that glows against the twilight. I’ve never seen anything like it and can’t imagine how that’s done. I don’t recall the words she spoke or even if she did (telepathy?), but somehow I knew that she had driven this machine a long, long way to get here. I realize the privilege of her sharing this and that no one else but me has sat inside.
Once again I’m in the mountains, this time with my wife. Northern New Mexico where we live in real life, high and cold and clean. It’s winter now. The mountains are stupendous, the sky a brilliant blue, the clouds so white and sharp it looks like they could cut you. Everything is covered with snow, deep fluffy powder you can walk through even though it’s deep. We’re heading for the car to go to town, supposedly, misled by the weather report because it suddenly starts to snow again. Huge white flakes, in fact, a heavy squall, although the sky is bright. This isn’t at the old adobe. We’re pushing through the snow to reach a sidewalk where the cars are stashed—no sidewalks in our current neighborhood, of course.
Across the valley a huge white cloud is whipping by. “Hey, look at that,” I yell, “how fast it’s moving!” As we watch, it slows down, almost stops, and dumps an enormous pile of snow that lands with a whoomph, and then the cloud accelerates again! I’m happy and excited. Magic weather, magic landscape, no fear…
Every word I’ve written here is true. (That Buick’s not the same as in the dream, but carries a similar energy.) I think everyone should pay attention to their dreams. No one but you can know just what they mean. I still walk around with images in my head of dreams I had 50 years ago, powerful, archetypal, technicolor sonsabitches. This one comes at an important time. Maybe something resonated with you. Maybe not.
Though people are not always eager to recognize conflicts that are upsetting their lives, dreams are always at work trying to tell of the conflict, and of the creative fantasy that will lead the way out. – C.G. Jung
These dreams strike a resonant note. I lived 14 years in the old Upper Ranchitos casita and 14 years in this Habitat for Humanity house. I think the time comes when the magic that brought one here wears out. Sometimes I feel sentimental about the old house but only because I’m sentimental about the hopes and dreams that brought me here. The magic is gone and I wonder if it is waiting somewhere else. Perhaps it exists only in my mind now. My old Taos is on another plane and I don’t go very far from the road in the center of town and sometimes all the way to Santa Fe.
Yeah, I hear you about Taos. I don’t have anything to do with the town, basically, except for groceries, bank, dentist, a great ISP, and buying car parts occasionally. Gave up the gallery openings, movies, and concerts years ago. Can’t remember the last time we went to a bar or a restaurant, and that was before la Rona. Even the pow-wow since it got so expensive, though I love having the Pueblo so close. At this point I accept all these changes as a function of time.
We’re here for the Nature and human diversity. A thousand other places would do as well but I’m lazy, and we do love New Mexico. Who knows what’s next? What the dreams reaffirm is that I have all I need. That struggle is pointless and the hot rod is cooler than walking through mud.