Just a Dream

Attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28519734@N00/6181993069/

Attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28519734@N00/6181993069/

Dreams, they start in darkness, spread from death to life like a match flicked. Fire shoots into our minds, leaving the emptiness of sleep behind, filling us with love, hate, horror, thrills, chills: emotions. Life.

But not real life. Just a dream.

Dreams can spur us on, cause us to press toward some distant goal, reach for that prize past the horizon. The question: is the goal — the prize — real, or just a fantasy wrought from night’s shifting flames?

At night, we can dream of sorrow, suffering, death. The scenes play over and over, horrific images flashing through our minds. Perhaps when we wake, floor-boards still creek, faucet dripping — less like water and more like blood-rain, and that face in the shadows…? It is real… right?

No. Not real. Just a dream.

Dreams are not always so. Some can be filled with mirth — joy to replace sorrow, love for suffering, and trading death for life. These are the dreams we hold close; as the match-flame dies, eyes awaken, heart cries, and we seek for sleep again. We blow on the embers of that match, the charcoal in our minds, willing the fantasy to go on — wishing it to never end; re-kindle that flame to replace the following day when we rise. Replace our life.

But no. It is not life. Just a dream.

Some dreams we wish to forget. Others, we cry when they forget us: when we wish to visit them again each night, but sleep plays a darker song, or a blank slate — no flickering match to fill the shadows. Instead, we live, chase dreams, and live some more.

The match dies. Flames fade. Some old fire is replaced with new, life (or dreams) from those embers. We must stoke the pit each night, squeeze life from those coals. It is hard, when the rains come, harder with flames speaking dark dreams, promising nothing but pain… and death.

But not the death of dreams.

Walk away. Let the flames die. Leave matches, untouched, forgotten in their box. Let the coals become a soup of death. But, if we want to come back, return from those wayward travels, the flames will hide between sheets of darkness, and when we sleep… dreams will not come.

What lies beyond my pit of flames? Fame? Fortune? Progress? Some semblance of normality? Will I blend in with the darkness out there on the fringes, or will I be swallowed by the cloud, never to return. And then, when the darkness has taken its last morsels from me, and I long for those brighter days — the days when I could dream, those days of matches and pillow clinging — will my match book be too wet for flames, or too lost in the dark? Will my hearth be cold, lifeless, impossible to stoke again. Will I find it in the dark?

No. That’s just a dream.

And so, I sit. The world passes, one success at a time. I glance at the stars above, briefly wishing for their glory… but no. I am not one of them. I do not belong in that darkness. Here, my flames might sputter, die beneath those who rain on me. Sometimes my fire is hot, too hot, and it hurts. Raging out of control… but going nowhere.

Progress? Riches? Or just a dream?

I am a dreamer, seeing art in my flames. No, my life is not easy. No, my fire is not strong. Yes, it often dies, runs out of fuel: left clawing at nothing, hoping to make something… out of nothing. But, that is what dreams do. That is what they are for. I would rather dream, and live, dream, and fail, dream, and dream again than walk away. Life without dreams is darkness without matches. Flames without the darkness? Dreams without life? Impossible. I am a dreamer. I stick by my little flame.

It is just a dream. But it is mine.

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