A Flame Burns

Dear Dreamers,

In my room I have a cupboard.   At any other times, my room appears to be very ordinary (excepting the fact that it’s in the attic.)  There are four bookcases, a desk, a dresser, a bed, a bedside table with stacks of books and journals and fountain pens.  I am a scholar at times, a student seeking to learn from the great thinkers of ages gone by.  But at night, when I open the cupboard, I am a dreamer.  Inside the cupboard there is a tea tray, a jug of water, five different kinds of tea, a teapot/cup, a little dish of sugar, a pitcher of milk, and a honey jar.  So when I take this out, and prepare my tea, I become a dreamer.  I don’t know what it is, but the idea of having an electric teapot and barely making a move to make tea was such a wonderful idea, that it goes right along with my reverie-filled life. My “third eye” is open tonight, and I am gazing an on old dream.

It all started when we went to buy me jeans for the first time in… Well, actually I can’t remember when I bought a pair of new jeans.  A few years ago I got a pair of Harley Davidson’s at the Thrift Store that have become one of my favorites, but most of my jeans were hand-me-downs, and never quite fit me right.  I have come to the conclusion today that it is impossible for me to find a pair of jeans that fit just right.  And for one simple reason: I don’t have the body type.  Let’s face it, I’m short and sturdy, solid.  I’ve described myself as a “big-boned Scottish lass” before.  (That was during the Scottish lass dream.)  And it’s hard to find pants that fit just the right way.

My sister brought me a pair to try on, after about seventeen pairs in the Levi Outlets store.  I put them on, and loved them right away.  They were PERFECT.  Chloe could tell I was 100% for them because I actually put on my low Western looking boots when I showed her and mom.  “These are just right!” I drooled.  Chloe replied, with a smirk, “Okay, so the men’s jeans fit you just fine.”

. . .

THESE ARE MEN’S JEANS?

Well, it didn’t matter.  They didn’t look like men’s jeans on ME, let’s just say. But it awakened that old dream: In spite of my books and being a writer and having my tea every night, I still want to be a cowgirl.  Really, really bad.  Hey! I may live in Cleveland, but I do have a pair of Justin boots. And I can ride horses.  And when I got the men’s Levi jeans, it just made that dream ten times more appealing.  Don’t worry, it wasn’t a kinda of feminist sort of “be a man!” feeling, it was simply a, “Wow, I forgot how awesome the world of the West is.” And then I had to put on a plaid shirt…

O, I’ve been so many things in my dreams.  I’ve been a gypsy, a Hindu Princess, a Siberian orphan, a simple English cottager, of course the Scottish girl roaming the highlands (well I actually was that in reality once) but the cowgirl…  I felt like such a country-girl tonight, and you know I definitely feel like a girl because I am using lots of italics tonight.  I love cows, I love horses, I love dogs, in short, I love animals, I love anything that lives and breathes and is warm.

So, I had cow-girl inspired tea.  I carried my tea tray to my bed, I hummed a tune, I even tried to light a match on my boot, which didn’t work because my boots weren’t real cowgirl boots.  I lit a candle, and even though it smells like fruit and sugar, it is faintly reminiscent of my brother Peter’s candle that he used to burn—the flavor was leather.  Whenever I went in his room it smelled like cowboy boots and saddles and belts.

So I’m sitting here, dreaming about that kind of a life.  There are the kind of dreams that you cannot pursue any further, but you still hold on to… And there are the kind of dreams that you act on, that you start building for.  Mine is the first kind of a dream.  In my mind I’m like Annie Oakley or “Little Sister” (I forget her name) in True Grit, or just Ruby Jean, riding her horse… which she falls off of a lot… and shooting her gun… which always misses… but going home and reading her books and having tea, and writing, and doing the dishes, and milking the cow.  And I have a dog named Berenice.  And there in the mountains there is even more room for my wild and free imagination.  As soon as I am a cowgirl, I will be dreaming of being a native of Hawaii with hibisicus in my hair.

But really, I think the love of the country, for animals, that smell of leather, the hard-working, farm oriented life has always been a part of me, somewhere.  And maybe someday it will be fulfilled—who knows?  You’re never too old to start working on a childhood dream.

I cannot leave off a post without something… So I’ll just say something a little dangerous.  It would not be exciting if it were not dangerous. Dream, and dream often.  I really truly mean it.  Don’t just read this and smile and say: “Aw, that’s cute; she’s seventeen and she still dreams.”  Or perhaps, “Wow, this girl needs to get a life,” (believe me, I have one!) or “Yeah, yeah, dreaming’s for babies and kids with fairies painted on their walls.” I wish I had a little shovel, because I would take it, and dig a little hole in your mind, and plant that seed of dreaming.

I read just the other day that it is only through reading things like fairy tales and fantasy that we can really begin to use our imagination, and it is only when we use our imagination that we begin to know ourselves.

It’s true.  Dream, and analyze your dreams.  You might be horrified at something awful and terrible—maybe that dream should bit the dust.  You might be shocked at something—maybe not because it’s bad; I would say that that dream needs a little looking into!  You might be delighted with something, you just can’t stop dreaming it!  It is not the dreamers who sit on the front porch all day watching the sky doing nothing.  We only do that first.  Then we “grasp time by the forelock,” as my grandpa would say, and see what we can do about creating a reality.

Sweet Dreams, Dreamers . . .