What do you dream at night? I have dreamed vividly since I was a child. Of people and places. Of family. Of loss. Some recurrent. Some nightmares. I have dreamed things that came true later - or perhaps were already true. Or perhaps just coincidence, if you believe in that.
Do you dream about flying? One of my children fell asleep in Anatomy class and dreamed of flying, and then falling, and woke abruptly when her head banged down on her school desk.
My favorite dream is of riding my horses as a young teen - it's almost like flying, clinging bareback to my favorite mare on a hot Idaho summer day, leaning forward over her rising withers as she lopes across a freshly ploughed field. It is my most restful dream and only comes to me in times of great need to be grounded or times of great joy.
Ten years ago, I kept dreaming about seeing a drowning baby and not being able to reach it in time. Interpretation aside, I would wake, terrified and shivering in a cold sweat. The baby was not mine, and the setting would be different every time - a mountain stream, an ocean beach, a clear lake. I was advised to step into the dream lucidly to save the child, change the dream, but it only heightened my terror to wake again and again, too late, all attempts failed.
Healing finally came for me from a group of women on their sacred ground, the ancient fishing grounds at Celilo where the Columbia River was once a large waterfall until the Bonneville dam covered it over and eliminated the traditional fishing rites of the local tribe. On this spot during an annual three-day gathering, the women were in ceremony, and I was given the opportunity to prepare and serve them food.
On the morning of the third day just before dawn, I dreamed again of the baby. Of rushing water. This time, I was able to reach out my arms and take the child to my breast, both of us saved in our embrace. Saved in a place where the falls had been drowned and through the practice of serving another. I have not dreamed it since.
Healing comes to me in the small moments of morning or the quiet of sunrise. The noise of a bird. The reflection of water up from the lake against the trunks of trees. And for all those broken pieces that make up my life, it seems an ongoing process.
Perhaps made easier by dreams of riding bareback under a wide Idaho sky.