by Lisa

I treasure my dreams, and treat them as privileged vignettes into my subconscious.  When that tiny window throws back its shutters, you can bet I’m looking in and taking note of who’s undressing in my head.

It’s always me, but the me that keeps quiet and makes wishes, and the me that shushes the fussing so that I can get on with the business of Real Life.

I dream of tiny houses that overflow.  Rooms stack upon one another like toy blocks, and improbably cantilevered porches and balconies project from the pile.  I see the houses from outside, mostly.  My hands are busy with rocks and sticks and dirt and flowers and every manner of yummy growing thing, but I watch what floats out of the windows and onto the lawn.  Sometimes, washes of color waft into the air.  Other times, letters made of soft, pliable stuff bounce out, and I try to read what they say.  Babies’ noises happen, accompanied by mommy and daddy noises.  Whose baby?  Whose mommy?

Blankets on the grass hold babies sometimes, and I hold the babies.  Other people come and go, versions of loved ones in other times, but the babies stay.  I ask the babies who they are, but they never tell, so I just hug them and bounce them and let them fall asleep in my arms.

I find tables set for twelve, with my dishes, in that garden.  The pitchers and plates hidden in my real cupboards, improbable quantities of them, show up in my dreams.

Chairs also play very important parts.  Chairs aren’t just chairs, now, are they?  A chair has a relationship with the body it supports. I love chairs, especially ones that make noise when I sit.  I gather homeless chairs from the sidewalk and bring them home, and with baling wire and glue and screws and hope, I try to make them sturdy, try to make them feel useful again.  This is reality.  In my former husband’s basement is a collection of worried chairs.  They need to be rescued, washed clean of mildew, polished, and put to use.  I worry with them.

In dreams, these chairs and others live outdoors and in, on porches and on the lawn.  People in the dreams prefer one chair strongly over another, claim them, and the chairs are happy.  I want the chairs to be happy when I pick them from the street.  Seeing them, still creaky but strong and polished, makes me feel hopeful.  Why chairs?  And why do I grab them dirty from the curb, even in my dreams?

In the dreaming house, shelves line the walls.  Nothing is hidden, because everything is pleasant to see.  I run my fingers over the feathery edges of stacks of papers and smile.  Some are fresh and stiff, some crumble just a little when they’re touched. Hiding papers in cabinets is the work of fools.  Paper should be touched and seen, like books.  Words on paper are so powerful…why do we want to stuff them into little prisons and call ourselves “organized”?  I’ll never own a file cabinet, dreams tell me.  I don’t own one now.  My love worries over his papers, but I like seeing the piles of things in his house.  He’ll see the magic in those piles some day.  Until then, I stack them on shelves alongside papers of my own in my dreams.

The tiny houses in my dreams are made of other people’s junk.  Nothing is seamless.  Nothing matches.  If nothing matches, everything fits and everything is welcome.  If everything is junk, nothing is junk.

I don’t analyze the junk in my dreams, I just watch.  My subconscious keeps itself busy, and I enjoy the show.  I talk a little about the stuff in my sleeping head, but it really matters to no one but me, and talking too much leads to questions being put to me: what does it mean?  How do you feel about that?

Simply, the junk in my head means something important, but I allow the images to muster action or drift away into forgottenness.  The stuff sifts itself out, without my help.  I feel good about that.  I learn things about myself without working too hard.  I’ll probably build some shelves out of things I find on the street this spring.  The dishes want to be seen, as I understand them.  I’ll brave the basement that isn’t mine any more to rescue the chairs and make them sturdier, and coat them with enough marine varnish that they’ll endure life indoors and out.  The little babies, well, I’ll keep borrowing them and giving them back.