I had just woken up from an overly dramatic dream. Despite the detail, I considered it to be of no import, and made getting coffee my number one objective. Coffee acquired, I sat down at the long kitchen table, propped up my slippered feet, and nodded a good morning to my dear beloved roommate as he shuffled past seeking his own cup of coffee.
Long kitchen table? My roommate is who? Oh, I’m dreaming, still. Good morning, Mr. Nolan, let’s see where this rabbit hole leads.
He grunts as he passes me. I know the grunts meant “Good morning, Keri,” so I just smiled at him and returned the greeting.
“Finish your first cup, start on your second, then you can tell me why you look so haggard this morning.” He nodded as he finished off his first pour. His second attempt at speaking was noticeably improved after the application of caffeine.
“I slept like shit last night.” He scratches at his beard absentmindedly. “I dreamt of far off places again, and I don’t know what to make of it.” He eyes my feet on the table and glares at me over the rim of his mug.
Not wanting to turn this dream into a conflict, I take my feet off the table. “Anything you can tell me about?” He pulls a chair next to me and stares into his mug.
“There is something I want to try, but I’m afraid to ask.” His hesitance rang a few alarms bells of mine.
“Do me a favor, step to the open window and let sunlight hit your face.” He looks at me oddly. “Humor me, I’ve been underground in my dreams again. I really don’t want anything chthonic to happen today.” He smiles at my attempt to pronounce “chthonic” and drains off his second mug of coffee while standing in the sunbeam.
“So, what do you want to try?” I finish off my own mug of coffee and look up at him.
“I need you to take off your slippers.”
“I know you’re my roommate, but fetish indulgence might be too far.” His sharp glare was slowly followed by an extended eye-roll and deep sigh.
“Keri, one of these days, you’re going to say the wrong thing to the wrong person.”
“Again?” I’m still chuckling as I place the slippers to the side.
“Your necklace doesn’t have any iron bits, do it?” The one piece of jewelry I never take off is an opal pendant on a gold chain. Having worn it for two years running, I should not be surprised that it appears in this dream as well.
“No, no iron. And I’m not wearing any other metals or jewelry. Do I need to take this necklace off?”
“No, that should be fine. You know, you’re going along with this with no complaint or concern.”
Indeed I was, until he pointed it out. Now I’m nervous. “Point made. Should I toss a nail over your head? Serve you the heel of the loaf with the outside up? I know, I’ll throw cold water on you, see how high pitch you can squeal.” He glares at me again. “Or how about, I give my friend the benefit of the doubt. But, if you’re that worried…” I take a candle from the kitchen emergency drawer and stand it on the stove. I almost called on the Kenaz rune to light it with a flourish, then thought of all the masquerades I’ve dreamt through. How many have worn the face of my friend to get close to me.
I speak the kenning of one I know, and ask him to look over me. The candle lights without any assistance from me. My friend watches this silently, and pales just a bit when he sees the candle self-lit. He knows on who I have called. “Still want to go through with your idea?”
He stares at the candle for a moment. “Yea. I feel better about it now. You’re covered.” He pulls my chair away from the table, into the middle of the kitchen floor. “Please, take a seat, my lady.” His sincerity chafes at my morning mischievousness, but I manage not to say anything to mock him as I sit down. “Are you sure you want to do this?” I nod.
“Will you allow me to place you under my power?” Such an odd wording, I thought. I spoke that I would.
“Will you allow me to work power through you?” I glance at the candle in nervous twitch. I spoke that I would.
“Will you allow me to do as I need to do?” I look into his severe face. In the Waking, my friend has had trouble with dreams. If somehow, our dreams are connected this night, then let me be used to help him. I spoke that I would.
“Three times asked and three times confirmed.” He kneels to the right of me. “Place your left foot on top of your right, and place the toes and ball of your right foot in the palm of my hand.” He places his right hand on the ground, palm up. As he speaks, he has placed his left hand on the crown of my head. “Keep your hands in your lap, clasp them if necessary.” I fold my hands together.
I think about the body positions and realize I am allowing him to place me completely in his realm of control. I’m literally between his hands.
He bows his head, and in a low, even monotone, begins to speak in a language I can only guess at. I have little knowledge on Gaelic tongues, and can’t begin to determine which branch of his family is he calling on.
I listen to his intoning, to the severity in his voice. My eyes closed, I can feel the beginnings of something pulling me away, pulling me sideways. I place my trust in him, and let go of the last threads of control I have in the dream.
The cool, damp breeze plays with my face. I open my eyes to see where the source is. I find myself standing on a mountain crag, exposed to the swift clouds. At first, I can’t see the valley below, nor the horizon in the distance because of the low rain clouds. But as I stand watching, the clouds begin to clear. In the far recesses of my mind, I hear my friend’s droning voice. A consonant here, a vowel there, just enough to know he is still speaking a Gaelic language. The clouds are responding to his voice, drifting off at a speed too fast to be considered a swift storm.
There is a river in the valley below, just under the crag I am standing on. A verdant valley, rolling hills beyond. A range of mountains stand silently in the distance. The air is quite clear and sharp. It hurts my eyes to see so precisely. To this California desert vision, the never ending shades of green appear to be a vision of heaven.
I am reminded of Ireland’s byname, “The Emerald Isle”. I remember the great battering of tourist commercials on television, coaxing the viewer to see the Green of Ireland, and other kitschy catch phrases. But I also remember reading an opinion that the “green” of Ireland wasn’t about the color, or the lushness of the vegetation. There was something else “green”, and it wasn’t restricted to Ireland.
I stopped looking at the color. I stopped looking for anything recognizable. I began to willfully dismiss all the visual splendor before me. My friend’s words had sent me here, to this observation spot. What was I supposed to see?
The glow was imperceptible at first. Then a glimmer here. A brightening there. It started with the old growth forests, and spread eventually to even the young grass, descending by growth times. The glow was such that all color was blotted out. As my eyes grew accustomed to the glow of vegetation, I noticed a different glow emerging from among it. Color is meaningless in describing what I saw. This wasn’t a different color, as it was a different type or quality. First, as formless blobs moving among the vegetation, then blobs with legs, then blobs with legs and antlers. Deer.
Once I learned how to see the deer, all other animal life came to view. After distinguishing the animal life, I turned attention to the very dirt and rocks itself. This too glowed with an inner light. The very currents of air, swirling above the forests, glowed with its own light.
I did not note when the sun had set. I saw the full moon above me, telling me it was deep night, yet the glow coming from all things existing made the full moon as pale as a dying flashlight.
Then I realize what I was looking at. If it existed, it glowed. All of the world in view, was glowing. There was a quality inherent in existence, so easily overlooked by man, that was the basis for so much in the world. Some call it mana, some call it electromagnetic fields. These words, these concepts felt so inadequate as they crossed my mind. I knew that I was only seeing a shadow of what was present. I had no idea how I was going to carry the fullness of what I was seeing back to my friend, when I could not understand it myself!
The more I perceived the glow, the more intricate the elements interwove with themselves. I close my eyes to try and grab a moment of reprieve. To try and process what I have already seen. But my inner sight has been opened to it, and even with eyes closed, the glow pervades. It becomes too much, and I crumple into a heap.
I have forgotten I was dreaming. I am afraid I am going to fall off the crag into the valley far below. My friend’s voice can no longer be heard. I feel completely alone. Desolate.
The ground underneath me is lukewarm. Neither hot, nor cold. It feels much like body temperature. I shift on the floor, hearing the echoes of the sounds I create. I’m in a hard room, but the walls don’t sound vertical. A stone chamber, perhaps?
Opening my eyes, I look around, but see nothing. My hand slips and I pitch forward, headbutting the floor just hard enough to make me yelp. Just as the echo tells my ears there is something large and dense in front of me, the deep rumbling chuckle descends from above me.
“Do you need light, human?” An unidentifiable accent. English is not his first language.
“Yes, please. I’m having trouble with my sense of gravity.” What is the phrase… meddle not in the affairs of…
I hear a deep breath taken. Then a fireball emerges not far above my head, races across the chamber, to a waiting wood pyre across from me. The fire now lit, the chamber begins to warm. The light dances across me and illumines just enough of the speaker to confirm my fears.
There is enough light from the pyre to tell the color of the dragon. Deep forest green. He has scars here and there. Some horns on the skull ridges are chipped. But his eyes glow with an inner light, that I recognize as the glow from the landscape. He isn’t Ireland, or Scotland, or any politically recognized body. He is the land. He is ancient.
“Do you see?” His voice rumbles through my bones. I say that I see but do not know what I am looking at. He only chuckles in reply.
“Go, tell him what you saw.” The dragon takes in a greater breath than before. I know I’m about to be engulfed in a fireball, but I have no fear. I lay down fully before him, my arms open to receive the blast. His eyes twinkle in acknowledgement of my surrender. As the fire envelops me, there is no pain nor heat. I am merely removed from the dream.
I wake up suddenly in bed. The dream is fresh in my mind, but I can not remember the ending. I make a tweet about it, and electronically poke at the friend. But I have forgotten the portion in the dragon’s chamber. The dream will not allow me to dodge the command. It has been pulling at me all day, demanding to be written, demanding to be shared. It was only when I finally complied and wrote it down, did I remember the ending.
Make of it, what you will.