Fuzzy scenes from a dream last night: I was conversing with Leonard Cohen and a woman I did not know while we walked toward what appeared to be a blighted neighborhood. Cohen handed me a saddle-stitched and folded sheath of paper; it contained some of his observations about humanity, he said, that mirrored mine. He then went off in another direction while the woman and I entered a school library building. I took a seat at a long table, where I found several pages that, for some reason, meant a great deal to me; I picked them up and left the building in the company of the woman. We walked back in the direction from which we came. She told me she played golf. I told her I did not. As we talked, I realized I was missing the papers Leonard Cohen had given me, as well as the pages I had found in the library. I assumed they must be on the long table in the school library building. I wanted to go back and get them, but the route we had taken to get there had disappeared. We were in an unfamiliar place.

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.

~ Lao Tzu ~

That is all I remember of the dream. My memory of the dream is already fading; I feel certain the memory I recorded above is incomplete. My brain may have filled in missing pieces, too, so the recollection could be part real and part an attempt at reconstruction. My dreams never are complete. They have no beginning and no precise ending. Often, my memories of my dreams seem to contain only shredded segments of the dream experiences. I wonder whether the dreams, while I experienced them, were fully-formed events or were simply incomplete pieces that sprang into existence—no beginning and no end. The fact that I can never remember every moment of a dream—so that I could replay the experience, as if I were watching a video recording of that nocturnal illusion—frustrates me.


I went to bed around 7 last night; I was not exhausted, just tired. People tell me it’s natural that I need so much sleep, but I wonder whether, so long after my chemo, I should still be subject to fatigue. Sleep will not hurt me, I suppose, so I try to just accept it; go with the flow. I woke for a while around midnight, then again a bit later. By 3, I was awake and knew I would be unable to get back to sleep, so I got up. Eight hours of sleep, give or take a bit. That schedule has given me an abundance of soubhiyé this morning; the whisper of dawn, when the house is still in slumber, allowing me to savor the stillness before the day begins. This morning’s solitude makes me feel an experience I have never had: gazing out the windows of a tiny room at the top of an secluded lighthouse on an isolated peninsula. I can hear the waves crash against the rocks below. I can feel the lighthouse tremble and shake when one of those monstrous waves slams against the building’s base. If I were writing a short story or a longer piece of fiction, I would write more detail about the experience. But this is just a short-lived fantasy.


A few minutes ago, Phaedra just crept into my office and approached the cat tree house—the terrifying edifice she originally avoided as if it were the embodiment of a pack of vicious cat-hating canine killers. She sniffed at it gingerly, then clawed at the piece of rope that hangs from one side of it. Then she leapt to the top and sniffed all around. From there, she jumped down to the second-highest platform and sniffed some more. Apparently, that was all the excitement she needed for a while; she quietly jumped the floor and left my office. A moment later, I heard the familiar yowl of a cat that either wants food or playtime. I chose to give her food. She seemed satisfied with that. Where she went after enjoying a seafood medley from a can I do not know.


It’s just after 6. Time for a nap after my first three hours of being “woke” this morning.  🙂

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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