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Excerpt from Dreams

Bulldozer (p. 210)

From chapter "The Bear"

I am dreaming. In this dream I am at my mother’s home. It is not her home in waking reality. But it is her home. I look out the front, see a view out the window of my childhood home. But this is not my childhood home. I see two dogs, in waking reality dead for many years, running in the driveway. I search for the dog who right now shares my waking reality, but I do not see him. A dog I don’t know runs toward the door. He wants to know me. It is night. I hear a sound to the rear of the house. My mother points to a place where the venetian blinds are bent. This is her spying spot, where she looks out when she hears this particular sound. I look out, see a man I think is a burglar. I tell him not to break in. He says he wasn’t going to do that, waves me off. I walk to the back door, open it, walk out, see him. He is staggering, and looks drugged, says he’s going to go home. I tell my mother he is a burglar. She, too, waves me off. I open her mailbox. Inside is another mailbox, and inside that another, nested mailbox after nested mailbox after nested mailbox. The mailboxes have no tops. They are open to the sky. But I could not see that until I opened them. A package is in the innermost mailbox. I leave it, go back inside. The door won’t latch, so I clumsily close it with a hook and eye. Seeing these nested mailboxes reminds that where I live now I have no mailbox, but rather a mail drop with keys, preventing open access to the post. I suddenly remember a place I lived for a few months twenty years ago, in Idaho, where I did have a mailbox. I remember how important this place was to my development as a human being and as a writer. I remember how much I enjoyed being there. I remember what I did there, and what I wrote there. I remember so much about it. It is so familiar. It is one of the places I will always call home. I talk to my mother about this place, ask her if she remembers it. She looks at me strangely. The windows are now open and it is now day outside. I see an immense bulldozer pass by, flattening everything in its path. It barely misses my mother’s house. And suddenly I remember that in waking reality I never lived in that home in Idaho. I’ve lived in that place, visited that place, known and loved and written in that place, only in my dreams.

I know even as I’m dreaming that this dream is important, and I know why. I swim as hard and as fast as I can to the surface of this dream. I reenter waking reality, reach for my glasses, reach for a pen, reach for scratch paper I salvaged from the library of a local community college. The paper I pick up to use is someone’s research paper for an English class. It begins, “The Internet is an essential part of life; it is what it needs to be. It is always there, 24/7. When an individual needs comfort they can find it at their fingertips.” I begin to write. The phone rings (in waking reality). I pick it up. No one is there.

Here is one message of this dream: if science is progressive, it progresses in one area, at best ignoring and at most destroying other areas of life and of knowledge. The knowledge of science, while powerful, is crude, like a giant bulldozer. It is not subtle. It is not textured, like a personality. It is not personal. It is not deep. It is not layered, like nested mailboxes open to the sky. It takes but does not give in return. If your idea of progress is the capacity to flatten ever-larger areas and to destroy ever more diversity, ever more forms of life, ever more forms of knowledge, then I suppose I’ll grant you that science is progressive. But deep? No. Never.