Waking Memories and Dream Residue

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Mercury is in retrograde, which is the only explanation I can find for this funky mental state.

I keep having moments of chill clarity, somewhere between deja vu and memory. It happens unexpectedly, like a rainbow when there’s barely been a drizzle.

Or maybe it’s more like those days when the air is impossibly clear and you can suddenly see for miles. You crest a hill and where there is usually fog, you see Catalina Island or LA and then you feel a greater sense of place. I’m here, that’s there…

I’ve been having that sensation with memories a lot. Trips I’ve taken, clothes I’ve coveted, the corn squares I ate every morning for breakfast in Canada the summer I was 14. I’ll be sitting somewhere and then the smell of wet grass, the discarded yellow bike helmet in the corner of an old photo or an early morning birdcall lifts the drapes of fog in my mind. Suddenly there’s a clear view.

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This week, driving in the car, I heard  the song Tom Sawyer by Rush. The four signature chords punched the gate-code to a specific and pungent recollection. I was back in my basement. 8th grade.

The smell of damp cement,  cheap musky incense, sweat and high-proof booze at my first co-ed party.

George and Dylan showed up loaded with a mason jar full of teenaged moonshine – one shot of everything in someone’s parent’s liquor cabinet. I knew the night, and my life was about to change. Not necessarily in the ways I’d hoped.

It made my stomach lurch, the nearness and farness of it all.

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Perhaps this is what midlife means. It’s all so near and so far as your life stretches out all around you, horizon in every direction, and you at the center of it all. The world looks curved and distorted from this  wide angle perspective. Like a dream.

My wakefulness also extends to sleeping hours.

Two nights ago, I spooned with the sweetest dream. Curled up under the covers, enveloped in a parallel universe, a fictional and foreign life was impossibly familiar.  So real, that in the morning it was almost possible to believe in the fantasy, at least in those early morning hours before the dream faded.

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It felt like a fog free memory, viewed from the center of my curving universe. Just gazing in a different direction than one I’d gazed at before.

I knew the dream residue wouldn’t linger long. It would waft away as fast as the smell of freshly baked cookies fills then drifts out of my kitchen. Breathe it in. Exhale a wish. For… something?

I’ve already lost the trail of that scent.

Last night I had a nightmare. I woke up and opened my windows to air it out faster. No vision. Fog all around.

…. Until the next break in the clouds.

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