Fact: The average dream lasts 30 seconds.
Thirty seconds in an eternity, or in a single moment, or in no time at all. Thirty seconds of life, or perhaps of something not unlike death. Thirty seconds where Truth and Falsehood are the same.
Everything is reality, and yet none of it is. That is dreaming.
Meaning is meaningless. Does that mean I am meaningless too? Do I return here every night for ...nothing? An oak, a thin brownish grass and the stone-- the terrible stone! It destroys me. It takes away my breath. And I know some how that I am not the first.
Not the first to stand by the stone, and watch the dusk fall. To see the light receding, the end of an era and the looming darkness. Not the first to be unliving and yet unable to die as the stones takes my breath away.
The Oak states thus: "To dream is not to live, but living cannot exist without also the Dream."
"Is this a Dream?" I ask.
"No," says the Oak. "This is something quite different."
"Then how do I find the Dream?" I move away from the dusk, and towards the night. "How do I live?"
My hand brushes close to the Oak and the cold comes. Cold of winter's night when fire is not remembered, cold of loneliness when hope is forgotten and that Cold of soul, the bitter cold of death.
"You must stop looking for it." The Oak's words come with the cold and I long for nothing but escape. I am filled with dread. Dread of the night, dread of the after, dread of the stone.
The stone looms in the fading light, a spire that reaches the stars of the mind while not even brushing the branches of the Oak. It is giant, and yet small. Which is the falsehood, I am not sure.
Whether I was driven by fear of the darkness or by desire of light, I walk towards it, to the sun, to the stone. And I feel the wind as it blows through me, blows to the stone. It shone in the last beams of dull sun. And I am afraid. I am afraid of the stone.
Why? I am unsure. It is just a stone, perhaps. A stone shining in the last rays of the setting sun. And yet I do not know. There is so much fear in it. And I know that if I touch it, something will happen. An empty street, a broken window, a pale frost. Here and yet, such a distance, and so long ago.
Fear of unknown places in dark ages. I must find the Dream to which I can return. To begin living. And yet I must not look for it. It is lost. The stone keeps me here.
What is the stone? My curiosity becomes my fear. I must know about this stone that is and is not. The stone that I fear has no name. And yet in fiery letters of the sun's last beams is merely says,
"Harmony: when a person can accept both dreams."
I do not understand, but in a moment of tenderness, I feel something. Not the terror of the darkness, or the cold of the tree, or the hopeless sunset. I feel the lonely stone that takes my breath away. And I feel the person who last stood here, and the one before up unto an imperfect beginning. And I do not fear the stone.
My hand feels the pull of the wind, and the sad stone, and the fiery letters. And the stone speaks once: "In the hands of the Dreamers do we leave the living."
I feel the cool surface and the carved letters. I feel the loneliness, I feel the truth that cannot be real. I touch the stone.
And then I awake, for the first time.
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