Tuesday, September 8, 2009

River of Dreams

Dad -  fixing his fishing line (1962)

Dreams…..we all have something in common.  They occur most every night, but are so elusive, quickly evaporating from our memories.  Some dreams include the hum-drum, everyday occurrences, yet others are so bizarre they are impossible to describe.  For something that occurs so often, we know so little about them.  They tap the power and material in our brains, throwing the images back to us in unusual ways.

River of Dreams
by Greg Larson

It was an early spring morning in the heart of the Flint Hills and the dew was heavy on the bluestem prairie grass.  I was deep in thought, scanning out upon the horizon, where the sun was beginning to rise.  I looked back at a farmhouse and saw my dad walking toward me.  The house didn’t look familiar, but I noticed the lawn was neatly cut and the climbing rose bush had begun to bloom on the trellis.  It was a peaceful setting in the mellow light.

Dad looked at me and said, “I’m leaving early, and I’ll be ahead of you. If you want to go fishing with me, I’ll be about seven miles south of here on a bend in the river, near the highway.  I hope you have time to stop.”

I broke out of my near trance-like state and responded to him, “Yes, I’ll see you later!”

He drove off, picking up speed down the gravel road; the limestone dust billowing behind the car as it disappeared into the trees along the creek.  I wished I had listened to him more closely.  How was I going to know the exact spot on the river where he would be fishing?  I might have to walk a mile or two, and the weeds and brush could make it difficult for me to find him.

And then I woke up.

I had been dreaming, and as I awoke the realization hit me that Dad had passed away over a year ago.  I wouldn’t be able to go fishing with him again, at least not in this lifetime.  But I began to think about the amazing subconscious area of our mind and how it works while in the dream state.  Fishing along a river wouldn’t have been my first choice for picking an activity with Dad.  I would have envisioned a golf game on a pristine and empty golf course.  I have decades of memories of playing golf with him, including beautiful spring days on the public courses in Wichita during his later years.  

But deep down, I knew that fishing was Dad’s favorite pastime.  He had a passion for fishing during his childhood and into his adult life.  Somehow my subconscious had picked up on that fact before the dream began to stream across the synapses of my brain.  Indeed, Dad took me fishing many times when I was young.  It was a perfect time to be with him.  We were outdoors, and he was relaxed, enjoying the time spent fishing with me and my brothers.

It was a fleeting “river of dreams” moment. I wished the faux reality had lasted longer, allowing me to find him on the river.  I would have been able to put the bait on the hook and cast the line out into the channel.  Then I would have sat beside him, taking the time to visit, or absorb the silence side-by-side, watching the river roll by us.  Maybe some early morning in my dreams I’ll see him driving back out of the trees toward the virtual farmhouse, returning to take me fishing with him.

Dad with his stringer of fish

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