This morning it was comforting to hear the shopping cart stopping beneath our window, then the muffled rummaging made by its driver, then the loose rattling as it was pushed further up the alley. There was sanity in the simple sounds of a collection of cans and bottles jostling about inside plastic bags stacked in a wire cart.
I’m aware that these sounds represent failure and tragedy as well. But this morning, at 4:30 AM, in the wake of shifting sleep, and in that vulnerable off-kilter bubble of time before the morning routine has had a chance to orient, in that vertiginous place where cares turn into dark derisive caricatures, it was the shopping cart plowing through shallow snow that moved through all my tangled inner lines and brought some straightening to my mind.
Fitful sleep brings sketchy dreams. But last night, if I did have a dream, I forgot it. Probably a good thing.
But I do wait for the good dream. One reason I think is because dreams are the closest experiences we have to transcendent glimpses. They give us, occasionally, I think, a sight line to the other side of death. And, or, equally important, they give us comfort, some hope, they give our souls a safeguard.
Months, perhaps a year, after my father’s death, I dreamt him. He was wearing a magnificent blue suit in which he was completely relaxed. He sat at the head of our old dark oak dinner table in the middle of our store that he had converted to living space. When he moved in his chair there was light just at the places his suit folded and creased. His kids were sitting around the table. All of us leaning into some story. Then he was laughing, and we were all laughing. And that was the dream. And it was all that was needed.