Some Dreams Aren't Meant to be Realized

Some Dreams Aren't Meant to be Realized

Recently, I was in Hawaii visiting my daughter and her family. They gave us a suite with a bed, bath and kitchenette, plus space for a sofa, and a room for exercises and using small weights. That night I was still oscillating between Pacific and Hawaii time when I woke up around 3 a.m. I looked out and saw what I thought were two moons, full ones, next to each other in the sky. This seemed strange, but I was not energetic enough to locate my eyeglasses and see. We were due for a full moon — we’ve had four of the largest moons ever over these past four months, called a Sturgeon Moon since the huge light it throws, being closer to us in its orbit, draws the fish to the surface to be caught more easily.

It could also be something else, but hard to say what. Drifting between sleep and waking, I had a reverie, not quite a dream, in which I won a literary prize. I’ve won a number, I’m happy to say, including several substantial ones in terms of bragging rights, but in my 50 years of writing I’ve made about $1,600, so I’m glad I didn’t quit my day job.

The prize offered little money, only requiring that I complete the book whose draft I had submitted and send it to the publisher — to accept it or reject it as they determined in their sole discretion.

I told myself I should have just written a short ending — but that might not have won. I lay there, deciding if it was the moon with a double reflection, due to the window sash being pulled up to provide two panes instead of one, or was it a terrestrial something above the driveway, not extra. The more I stared, the less I knew, so I closed my eyes.

As I slid slowly toward sleep, I imagined being shown the text of the book as it might be. This had me undertaking a whole series of tasks. All I had to do was turn that reverie into reality.

But as I also remember saying to myself—do I need this? Have I gotten enough from life? I’m 80 in a couple of months—do I want to spend that much time—the rest of the bio was stressfully long —grinding out the text, rewriting it 5 or 6 times, then dealing with the publisher over changes and quibbles? I opened my eyes again and saw the moons — huge, round, white and empty as could be. They were nothing other than themselves, nor did they portend anything. So, I took that for an omen, as well as a hint at a larger message.

I don’t need this, I concluded. In fact, I don’t want it. All it betokens is that it will, as likely as not, take until I am almost rolling into the crematorium to be turned back into dust and ashes before it gets done. It had a grave sense about it, so gravity emerged from somewhere in the depths of my brain. I said I’d rather be weightless now than prolix. Somewhere there are a number of people who could make more of this opportunity than I can, who need it more than I do, and who will regard it as an opportunity rather than a burden — a duty to be discharged. I discharged it, but in this case from my mind in the fullest sense and from my future schedule and slept wonderfully.

Later in the day the woman in my life, to whom I had told this story, pointed to two large round objects hanging from the phone wires coming from the road into our roof, and said those were clearly what I had seen. I, however, am still of two minds on that subject. I like the moon idea, since it afforded me emptiness in a way I never fully experienced it — a delicious feeling--the way you do when the bullet has whistled by you, so I said, “You’re probably right” and kept my silence.

<i>Mike Parish is an Alameda resident.</i>