Last Night I Dreamed #WaterIsLife

Water Is Life
                     Photo by Cempoalli Twenny, by general permission. Added graphics by me.


Last night I dreamed of a great wave. Of having been in the front yard of house with about a dozen other people aware of possible bad weather coming, a storm of some kind, but the air was calm rather. The sky rather watery looking pink pearl, orangish, bluish with a hint of green in the southeast but not unusual. The day is unusual in its clarity, as if water glistens on every surface: skin, grass, clothing. Despite the weather watch, I decided to go walk west along the great pier front, beyond where these houses shelter in the safety of a cliff overhang.

The pier front is a series of mostly iron fastened wood, stretching across a bay. It is closely packed with businesses, balconies and shops built close to the shore. Farther, the piers curve back to the left were ladders, scaffolding-like with steps built up to yet another high pier where if you climbed up you could see much farther out. It all seemed safe and okay to do so, and feel on top of the world, cool though untouched by a breeze.

One person I knew from the gathering in front of the house had wandered out there too, following me maybe. Probably. As calm and peaceful as it still looked, a sherbet sky of peach, raspberry and lime, just in the next moment, a call went out as if over a broadcasting system: there was an incoming wave, a tsunami. And then I could feel it, and I paused in that eternal second you know if you’ve ever been in a tornado or something. Just before it strikes, before you can see it sometimes, particularly with a tornado: there is a dead calm, but you can almost feel yourself lifting. It is terrifying, and if you’ve ever felt it once, you never forget it because it’s no joke.

The air, the colors are still the same around me in this eternal instant, but a vibration so intense so as to seem minute suffuses everything. A sound you can barely hear it is so deep. Little particles begin lifting around me, and from where I stood, so vulnerable I belated lyrealize, I knew it was that time: move now, all out or die, right now, right now! and I launched myself from the pier, grabbing on to some line and swinging with all my force, willing myself to go faster, especially as I reached the low part of the swing then rising up, even in doing so planning: to grab this balcony, grab this handhold, to swing to the next! So that as soon as my feet hit solid ground again, I would run: all out, full out for the sheltered cliff and the house. I wasn’t even concious of my heartbeart, just swinging, straining, digging, pushing harder and running.

I get past the edge of cliff, to the inner side of it, dashing to that yard from before, that house where the people are already gathered, waiting to seal in. They’d been waiting for me maybe, and I close myself in just in time…and then the wave hits. And the stone of the place shudders. I can hear breaths all around me, but I’m not see the faces, young and old, even though there is a light. My mind is still processing and seeing BACK THERE: how the water of the bay went away, sucked away, and then it was coming back, rising impossibly high.

How long a time passed in that room I don’t know, but finally a voice outside calls that it has gone by. Then I thought of the person who wandered out there maybe following me, that they couldn’t possibly have made it to any safety. They obviously didn’t make it back here, and I hadn’t looked back. There are others in the room who know, looking to be thinking the same thing. I can see it in their eyes, not accusatory, but just in realization. As I look down then, standing at the door, a little water trickles in beneath the door seal. Just a little, but there’s no force in it, so I open the door, and it’s my father standing there. But not my father. It’s just a man similar but in police gear, futuristic like riot gear, outside armor, visible armor, not just underneath. Father of mine or not, even considering the fissure between my real father and I, I give this taller look-near-alike a hug because I’m glad to see him, that someone else survived.

He says we have to ride, to see who else has survived, so we get in his vehicle, again something futuristic that I’ve never seen the like of before. I get in the front seat, and he goes around to the driver’s side. He’s even making a couple of jokes, typical cop irreverence, but a call comes over the radio of a developing situation. So in sudden seriousness, he shifts the vehicle in gear and off we go, but into a tunnel into the base of the cliff, on this side of the now empty bay. And we’re going breakneck down a sharply angled narrow street of apartments that look abandoned, like the abandoned cars, scattered this way and that, displaced from the curbs. Some almost block our way and I wonder what he will do, but he plows through, gunning the powerful engine, the tires sounding not of rubber but something else. The rounded car edges allow us to both push and skim through with no damage. When we get to the bottom of the slope, in a small cul de sac we see bodies, which appear to be lifeless have drifted and settled. Some alone, some in small piles.

‘Not this.’ We are going to another place, he says, another building and we charge in to it. The first floor is  well lit, and has rolls of what seem to be carpets along the walls, but there are also bodies. The 2nd floor is where the call came from, he says, and I go up, sensing and feeling something. One of the women who had been at the house where I had been earlier is with a female companion who had also been there. That one, in fact, I knew better than the other, I sense a special connection I cannot put a name to, an awareness of her…that she had been pregnant. Like rolls of carpet they also lean in a corner, the one speaking to the other, and I am suddenly afraid and sad, because there is condolence in the tone. I look to the woman I knew especially and her roll of carpet is as smoothly cylindrical as the rest. No curved belly, no baby anymore. I stop my forward haste deeply grieved. I slow realizing what must have happened but glad to see them alive.



I was lucid during this dream, even more so towards the end, and I knew as I dreamed that I should write this down when I was fully awake before it was lost in lucidity. I lay some moments more contemplating and solidifying the scenes and words in my mind. I remembered that Dr. Eduardo Duran, native psychologist and author of Postcolonial Psychology and other works, had told me when I’d asked for some insight into paths I might take, and he told me: always look to your dreams. Not dreams, as in goals or aspirations, but actual dreams. My grandmothers also said this always, and one was particularly known for interpreting dreams. So, immediately it occurred to me that perhaps I had made decisions that might bring harm to someone close to me. This can always be the case no matter what we do or don’t do, but I then recalled I’d been reading a few accounts of Standing Rock that had stood out in my mind. And of course, Water is Life. So the water theme was no surprise to me. But…

A photo of three police in brown uniforms, riot gear and weapons in their hands, two standing with faces covered but even so you could see they were white men. The other, sat between them, face uncovered, his brown skin was rich, a surprise. As the commentary below the photo said, this man was one of the few POC seen deployed to Standing Rock. But the photographer said water protectors were entreating this officer, as others had been entreated too, but especially for him to think, to stop, to go home or join them in peace against this brutality stemming strongly from racist roots.

As a former law enforcement officer, I can more likely place myself in these officer’s “shoes”, as I know well the mentality behind what they do. What they do at Standing Rock in particular, because I’ve seen it done other places, and many are careless in their racism, disdain and sense of superiority, in their brutality. I know also that many do it especially in groups, in front of peers, but they can hate themselves later yet they still keep doing it because they don’t want to seem weak, though they are already weak because of poor choices and need to be and remain in (pseudo) control. Homes, families and other parts of their lives must be kept from the drowning of their self-loathing so they justify and only “hang” with others who boost their empty pride and hide their weakness, while pretending to be men, to be strong, to have power.

So instead in this dream, I felt it represented these cops, these deputies, who have things precious to them they want to protect, but they make the wrong choices, just for self, and others pay and will pay the consequences for their actions. Water is life, it is a force of nature none can withstand. This wave is a long time coming. Be the rock. #WaterIsLife #NoDAPL #DefendtheSacred #BeTheRock #TheChildrenAreOurFuture #IndigenousRising

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