I love dreaming. At night. In the morning. At my desk. In the shower. Driving down the road. While sitting on hold with insurance companies. I have no prejudice to topic. Or situations. Places. People. Or life. You could say I live in a perpetual state of dream. Fascination. Imagination. It’s true. I imagine what could be. Where could be. Who could be. How could be. And dreams are good. Amazing even. I live for them. Pray for them. Hope for them. They provide something to look forward to. Something to strive for. Something to realize. Something to leave you in wonder. I like being in wonder. Until the wonder is crushed. Or the dream becomes a stronghold. Until suddenly you cannot let go.
I drove by our old house today. My girl and I. There was no one behind us. So we stopped. Right in the middle of the road. Normally a busy one. We immediately noticed the new paint on the outside. And then. One by one we pointed out the differences. Some that mattered to her. Others to me. I looked in the rear view mirror. Still an empty road behind me. So we stayed a little longer. Peering through the trees. “They took away my hop scotch,” she said. The one I created with old concrete tiles left from the builder. The ones I spray painted numbers with her favorite neon green.” “They ripped up my flower bed,” I replied. The one I slaved over one hot spring day. The one I couldn’t afford to create. But I used my Visa anyway. We didn’t say another word as we sat just a moment longer. Not another word.
I looked in the rear view mirror once more. Still an empty road. Still time to sit. In silence. But I moved along the way to home. Our home. And I started to get this feeling. It’s a feeling I’ve been having for a couple of weeks now. It’s not sadness. Or happiness. Not bad. Or good. It’s just a feeling. Nostalgia maybe. And as my therapist once said. Because everyone should see a therapist. Just sayin. We should sit with our feelings. No judgment. Just feel. It could be that it’s autumn. My favorite season of the year. Where I dream of football whistles. Cool breezes. Good beer. And the spiciest wings. Even though I can’t eat them this year. Even though it doesn’t feel like fall. Even though it was 90 degrees and we were on our way home from a pool party. In October. Even though there is no such thing as climate change. And it occurred to me. In that moment. We were driving away from dreams.
Dreams of a swing set for her. Off the side of the house. Made with poles that were given to us from a neighbor. Just next to the chicken coop for me. With heavy duty wire on all sides. Including the bottom. Fort Knox I would call it. So the neighborhood fox would not get to them. Like he did my first chickens. The ones who were sleeping in my makeshift coop until Fort Knox could be erected. The ones that I watched grow from baby chicks with their yellow down. To adult feathers of blue. And gray. And brown. Lady Lorraine was her name. My favorite hen. There were also dreams of a bountiful garden out by the road. Tomatoes. And squash. Snap peas. And watermelon. Dreams of mornings. Standing out front with the hose. Giving them their morning drink while conjuring up more dreams. Imaginative dreams. Beautiful dreams.
Dreams of a screened patio in the back. Just off the kitchen. Over looking the creek. Ok. Maybe not a creek. More like a natural storm water run off. But it was a creek to me. In my dreams. Hours of work days out there. Overlooking the natural azaleas that bloomed for three weeks in the spring. Dinners over dim light. Watching lightening bugs in the summer. Dreams of a Florida room off the den. Four steps down. To a concrete floor stained in a dark brown grey. A pitched metal roof with exposed beams. Fans hanging from them. With comfy couches. And chairs. Large windows exposing the palmettos that surrounded it. Colors of blue and grey and white throughout. And a large table made of recycled wood. Unfinished. Encircled by chairs that bounce. Painted white. And left outside to rust. You know the ones. The ones you sit on for hours. Sharing stories. And laughs. And dreams. Bouncing.
Dreams of a lush lawn. The front deck lined with yellow knockout roses. Flower boxes hanging from the porch rails. With vibrant white and purple flowers standing tall amidst creeping fig. Two rocking chairs on the deck. Maybe four. White. Weathered. With heavy duty outdoor curtains. Sailcloth maybe. Hanging from industrial piping in each corner of the covered patio. Because when it rained. Or the sun was beating down. Or the wind was too chilly. You would need them. Dreams of a pool adjacent to that lush lawn. Built after I borrowed goats from Mr. Randall. An old man I met at a pumpkin patch. And fenced those suckers in the perfect spot. You know. To clear the land. To eat up the palmetto. And brush. And weeds. Because that’s what goats do.
There are more dreams. On the outside of the house. Too many to name. But the important ones. The ones that mattered. The ones that involved people. And love. And hope. Those dreams. They lived inside the house. And they were filled with expectancy. For another baby. For unconditional love. And acceptance. And peace. They were filled with childhood dreams. Of a little girl. And a prince. A fairy tale. Dreams of a teenaged girl. Hoping for partnership. A best friend. Her soulmate. A happily ever after in between the struggles of life. But you see. Those dreams were never realized inside that house. Or outside for that matter. For many reasons. None of which I care to share. Except one. A dream I could not let go. A dream that kept me awake at night. A dream that visited me while I slept. Arms that held me tight. Eyes that looked at me in wonder. A dream of love that was deeper than what existed inside the walls of that house. A dream I still cannot let go. A dream. Quite frankly. I do not want to let go. A dream of someone else.
Have you ever had a dream like that? One you can’t let go. One that despite the pain. The yearning. The pit in your stomach. The exhaustion. You still hold on. Tight. Afraid that if you let it go. You might go along with it. Lose yourself in letting go. In a way that feels like betraying the dream. Back stabbing the wonder. Ruthless even. To the dream. My dream. The one I hold tight. I’ve held on to this dream for far too long. Twenty three years and two months to be exact. Kind of sounds pathetic when I put it that way. But it’s not. It’s carried me through a lot of hurt. It’s held me up when I was bound to fall. It’s held my hand when the road was unstable. And it’s given me confidence when I found myself uncertain. This dream has served its time. And done so very well.
And you know. Of all the dreams. My dreams. I love this one the most. Almost as much as I hate it. Because it hurts. Because it holds me back. Because it blocks my heart. And soul. And spirit. Ones that have been closed off. Ones that need opening. Ones that are ready to make room for another. Today I discovered something tragic. Yet necessary. It’s time to let go. Not like letting go nineteen years ago. Walking away from him at The Art Bar. Or letting go fifteen years ago. As I began a life. A married life. With another. Or even three years ago. When I swore it was behind me. Or last month. Or last night. This time I’m letting go like a child let’s go of their balloon. Watching it float into the blue. I’m letting go like a butterfly loses its chrysalis. Lifting in to its first flight of freedom. I’m letting go the way a snake leaves her eggs. Knowing her offspring won’t need her to come into life. Or grow strong. Or thrive. And you know. There is so much beauty in that. The letting go. It doesn’t mean that time was wasted. Or that we have to regret. Or feel like failure. It also doesn’t mean we have to forget. Or stop dreaming altogether. It means we are ready. Simple as that. Ready to let go. Grow stronger. Thrive. And finally. That is where I am.
Did I mention the new owners painted the house? Our old one. With all those dreams inside and out. It is a splendid color actually. One that is airy. And bright. Full of light. And freshness. One that covers an old dream. Of a builder. Who chose a color that would showcase his masterpiece. A color the new owners were ready to let go. A new color that gives space for a fresh batch of dreams. Of plants. And patios. Outdoor curtains. And bouncy chairs. Ones that speak of hope. And opportunity. And vision. That’s the most beautiful thing about dreams. Especially the ones we need to let go. The dreams we finally do. They open up new possibilities. New opportunities. New paths for adventure. And fascination. And growth. New dreams to cultivate. In the kitchen. At my desk. In the shower. Driving down the road. Waiting on hold. Man. It feels good to be on my way.