The first time I heard the question: What is your dream; what do you want to do in life? I was in high school. My school counselor asked me that question. I must admit I didn’t know how to answer it. Looking back, I had never given any real thought to what I wanted to do. I only knew what I didn’t want to do. I didn’t want to work on some white guys farm, making wages that wouldn’t even provide me with enough money to afford a pint of dirt from the farmland he owned or leased to raise his crops. I had not even the minutest amount of desire to drive a tractor or to operate any farm equipment that many young Black boys in Cross county, Arkansas saw learning how to do as some rite of passage. When I was eight years old, my father was killed in a farming accident. As for as my mom was concerned that sealed it for me, no working on a farm, especially driving a tractor. My dad was killed driving a tractor.
When my high school counselor asked me that question, I didn’t realize at the time that what he was asking was a bit different from dreaming. No. I didn’t have a dream. I had many dreams. I don’t remember exactly when, but dreaming has been a big part of my life. I dream of living in a society where nothing negative happens; I dream of living a life where everyone acts right all the time; I dream of Nirvana. I’ve written before about not knowing we were poor until we got a television. The dumb box showed me how people lived in a world that was far different than the one in which I survived each day. The dumb box sparked something in me that still exists today. Something that I’ve never shared with anyone, except you. Dreaming has been a way of life for me. It has provided a safe harbor from the tsunami we all know as life. I dream continually. Some might call these daydreams; however, my dreams encompass all stations on the clock.
I’ve come to realize in my latter years that this dreamstate is more than simply dreaming. I think it might be more appropriate to call it meditation, deep thinking, maybe even living gloriously despite the problems of the world. This mental gymnastics helps me navigate things that often seem non-navigable in the so-called real world. If you think this sounds much like fantasy, you’re right. Furthermore, your judgment doesn’t offend me in the least bit. I can honestly say this personal ability to drift off into a land of experiences I might never find myself has kept me from harms way in a lot of ways. It has presented me with the gift of serenity when a respite from disturbing stuff has been raging unfettered.
At the age of seventy-one, I still dream. I dream of heroes and heroines; of waking up one morning and finding all weapons on the planet mysteriously gone; of being the smartest person on the planet, responsible for scientific inventions that would advance the condition of us all to an immeasurable state.
OOPs, my dog just jumped into my chair and landed between my lower back and the back of the chair. This is one of her favorite spots. She’s not a dream, at least I don’t think so. Dreaming is taking a break for a while.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.