Boxes in the Attic

by tobias crabtree

I share my dreams with many characters. Some I have always known, some are faces from a gallery that exists somewhere in my mind. I wonder about the people I interact with in my dreams, you know, the ones that I make up. I wonder if they are someone that does exist and I don’t remember seeing them. Some person standing in a line with me in the grocery store. Some character on the other side of the street, waiting for the light to change. Am I walking around collecting faces for future dreams? These are things I wonder about. I surf with them and make plans with them. Sometimes they are the only witness to something that I would show the whole world. Some have seen my darknesses, the things I’m careful not to talk about, but sometimes, some of these dreampeople are watching and thinking dreamthoughts about me. I wonder about them.

The other night I could fly. It wasn’t easy, mind you, I had to concentrate super hard, almost meditation style, in order to leave the ground. There was an old pine tree in the yard across from my parents house that has since been cut down, but I was there in that yard and the tree was there in my dream. A chubby little lady with freckles was walking her dog when I flew. Every time I glanced to see if she was seeing me, I dropped several feet because I was failing to concentrate on flying. So I couldn’t be proud of what I was doing, I could only fly when I thought of flying. At some point, when I was about 25 feet off the ground I had to look around me for more witnesses. I fell to the ground. The freckled lady asked me if I was ok but offered no comment on me flying above the trees. I guess there is some kinda dream lesson about pride and stuff, mostly I just woke up with a weird feeling of disappointment. And somewhere, in the universe of my mind, there’s a chubby little freckly lady with a tiny dog and she is walking down the street where the tree used to be, across from Mom&Dad’s house, and she is maybe shaking her head at the dude who was trying to fly, but couldn’t concentrate enough to keep from falling.

These are inner workings. I don’t know how interesting my dreams could be to someone else, but I always want to tell them. I’m pretty sure they are not that great from an outside point of view. You know that glassy look that people get when they are being polite but aren’t really listening? Well, I see that a lot when I’m telling a dream. It isn’t uncommon for people to be holding conversations with one another while also responding to emails, dishing out indiscriminate “likes”, posting grams on insta, and even tweeting about what they are pretending to be listening to. So, when I’m telling them about my dreams, I don’t worry that they’re bored because they have other stuff to fall back on. Talking to one another without distraction (also referred to as attentive conversation) is nearing extinction. After all, why use a big ol’ mule that must be tended and spoken to and fed and coaxed and harnessed and watered when there’s a state-of-the-art tractor with GPS tracking and air-conditioning and music? The tractor does everything for you, the mule takes awareness and attention and care…even love. One is a way of disassociation, the Other is a real relationship with a beating heart, teeth and tear ducts.

Wait. Where was I? Inner workings. We all have them you know? Our doubts and dreams. Our imaginary scenarios. Our insecurities intermeshed with our excuses. I could name off some of mine, no problem,  but that’d sound kinda lame right now and also, I just don’t feel like hearing that this early in the morning. I’ve been trying to practice this thingie lately. It has to do with my struggles with frustration. I’ll try and explain.

I’ve been paying some attention to the things I have going on in my head. Most of the time I can make sense out of the patterns up there in the ol’ attic. There are migrations of all sorts, birds of all different shapes and sizes criss-crossing continental landscapes. There are magnetic fields that change polarities and there are arctic regions that are very difficult to explore. There are magnificent storms and seismic shiverings and granite domes with twisting pines. There are empty houses with the shutters slamming open and closed and there are beds left unmade all these years under which live all different forms of bristling monsters. Closets are cracked and the dark beyond holds a darker space yet through which no light will ever shine and into which I must not go. Waves break on beaches and curl around reefs and long-tailed sharks hunt with teeth sharpened against the stones that were stacked right around the time that the world began. There are leaves that hold drops of water that are  an ocean to the things smaller yet. Yesterday and Tomorrow are in bed together and they are all tangled up, legs and arms and tongues and they are glancing at me and I’m shy to look at what will come of this. And butterflies are pushing the wind and I might could fly if I can find a way to find a way. This I can see, this stuff, and I think I might can make some sense outa this, just barely. But here’s the deal, what I described is only in my mind and mine only. And when I think about all the other Beings in the world, and how there is yet another world inside every other mind, I must allow differences to exist. We each have all these things to tend and sort. We are all exploring the unknown, and that can be terrifying. To find common ground is a powerful experience when you stand back and look at it! I think it’s a good thing to shout across the beautiful distances and love the blue that separates.

We are all kin. And so, capable of real things. There are things to work on, while heartbeats allow.