Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mountains, Dreams and Diamonds

We drive east. Mountains in Nevada. Mountains in Wyoming. Endless plains in Nebraska. As we enter Iowa on the third day out from San Francisco, ragged clouds hover on the horizon and the sun edges toward dawn. In the west the clouds would be mountains. David watches the clouds. I watch him watch.

"You will never be able to see those clouds the same again will you David?"


"They will always look like mountains, I'll bet."


The tires sing on the road. About twenty miles west of Des Moines David speaks.

"Well, now we're back in David territory."

"David territory?"

"Yeah...in the places that I have been before this trip."

"How do you feel?"

"A little happy and a little sad. I miss San Francisco but it will be good to be back and relax. I really want to move to San Francisco though...don't forget to print out those papers."

"Okay. I won't."

The papers are the forms for getting on the waiting list at the San Francisco Housing Administration. David looked them up and found out that the waiting list was eight years. I will print the papers anyway. David will fill them out. Time will pass. Maybe eight years. Maybe forever. Or maybe, just maybe, a miracle will happen and another of David's Dreams will come to pass.
David may find someone willing to let him rent a room while he waits for Section 8 housing. That dream is no more preposterous than the journey we have just made...a journey that defied common sense and rational argument. A journey that certainly has felt much like a dream.

Dreams beget more dreams it seems. On, and on, and on the dreams come; waves in David's brain every bit as endless as the waves in the Pacific.
He saw the Pacific, stared in wonder and then dreamed of going on to San Francisco. In San Francisco he changed, losing some of his hatred and fear. In San Francisco he dreamed of of finding someone to share his fantasies. His time was too short and his fantasy was unfulfilled. This caused great pain but David's love of San Francisco endures. David felts some of his old anger but that has faded, replaced with a new determination to try again. Maybe David will fill out the forms. He may even find the strength to continue changing...changing into something new...someone who can have many friends, some of whom share his fantasies. I hope so.

David's dreams have brought both joy and deep pain. Perhaps too much pain. So, should David stop dreaming? Should I stop dreaming? Don't dreams just bring pain when they are not realized they way I want or expect? Some say dreams are nothing but the gateway to unreasonable desires and unending suffering. I am not one of those.

Dreams are the diamonds of my life. Their edges are sharp and they can cut deeply with great pain. Pain, depression, illness may dull them for a while but like diamonds my dreams endure. Without dreams my life would be something less than human. Machines do not dream. Ants don't seem to dream. Maybe there even are people that don't dream; souls so bound up in the day to day cares of achieving what is "practical" or of staying "safe" that to them dreams are a waste of time. Once I thought I was someone without dreams...but no longer.

While dreaming, I once wrote a book. A friend referred to it as a treasure chest of gems. Some of those gems have turned out to be diamonds. Diamonds that begin as rough dull stones and then are cut by life's lapidary into brilliant treasures. This journey was such a stone...a dull glimmer of an idea planted in my brain and then put aside as I contemplated the difficulties of traveling with David. In the honesty of friendship I share that David can be demanding and grouchy particularly when he is tired. In those traits I mirror David perfectly. Perhaps that is why I worried about traveling with him. Yet, beneath his armor David is a gentle soul fascinated (as am I) with life's intricate wonder. Again, like me, much of David's anger seems to come from fear of rejection or embarrassment. In the end I realized that I am much like David and so if I feared traveling with him it was merely a fear of traveling with that which I fear within myself. This was the gem cutters tool that turned stone to diamond. To me this is at the heart of the teaching that I should act with kindness, or "Do unto others..." I do unto others not to get something from them but to change something within me. David has been a great teacher in this area. His rough edges have helped smooth mine. I hope, and yes dream, that my rough edges have helped him uncover a bit more of the diamond within.

The sun shines over the field outside my window. It is a spring sun. Leaves are just beginning to show. The magnolia bushes are covered with white blossoms and the iris are slowly fighting up through last fall's leaves. The sun's brightness causes me to squint as I write this. I squint against the brilliance yet it shines ever brighter. Eventually the light will cover the entire field. I will go forth into the day. Friends and people who do not yet know they are my friends await. Life is wonderful in the Iowa mountains.

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