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Adult years filled with repetitious nightmares, unsolicited, devoid of precipitating patterns. Darkness, running through brambles, enduring scrapes and bruises, scrambling over thorns, hiding underneath bushes. Sometimes escaping alone, occasionally carrying young children, comforting them with assurances of safety. Always, being chased by bad men. They seemed official, perhaps representing a new government I did not wish to join. Not knowing who they truly were, I understood only the necessity to remain hidden and quiet, sometimes terrified, other times calm. Ideas for a new life began to form, without specific details. When the scenarios became too scary, I awoke, afraid to see into the beyond.
My mentor-therapist-guru said:
“You must find an exit in the forests. Confront those chasing you. The dreams will continue until you find an ending.”
I listened and watched, not knowing how to make the men disappear, but beginning to recognize I was dreaming, like watching myself in a suspenseful action movie, unable to change where the images headed.
The nightmares were not identical, yet the themes of escape, desperation and righteousness repeated themselves. My actions were necessary, no matter the beliefs of my mysterious chasers. I was living with conviction. There was no other way.
The dreams continued, with minor changes: more certain as I ran, less scared, increasingly thoughtful. I knew how to resolve my flight, but always, the experiences ended before resolution.
Eventually, small slivers of light appeared. Perhaps it was dusk, or dawn. Occasional glimpses of color emerged. A little silvery blue. Light pink. Shades of tan among the brambles, mixed with charcoal.
One day the men’s voices and thundering feet became louder than usual. My heart raced, running faster and farther. Escape seemed impossible, until a large gnarled tree presented itself. Without a plan, I climbed up as fast as possible, halfway to the top, stopping and listening, afraid to breathe. Beneath me, the men did not look in my direction. Their angry voices echoed in the forest’s stillness, followed by heavy panting from the chase. Then, silence, until faint footprints walked away. My breathing returned.
Then I saw it: a nest, just above, made of brown sticks and little threads of light blue, green, and grey. I moved closer, finding shapes inside that at first looked like eggs. The images became three tiny, unknown baby creatures, almost touching each other. They did not move, but lay still, breathing, like me. I saw life, and hope, and knew everything would be okay..
I woke up, calmer this time. The dreams never came again.