Revery

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,—
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.
The revery alone will do
If bees are few.

~Emily Dickinson

Dear Friends, 

Just two weeks ago I was driving up a rough dirt road with my dear friend Erin. We bounced over plenty of potholes before arriving at our mountain top destination. There we met the sunset— a pink and lavender striped sky cascading over many shades of green, the earth revived by rain after a long drought. We had come to the edge of this wild place to sit in a circle with Deena Metzger, a revered activist, poet, and mentor.

Deena called us to together “in these times” to work on behalf of restoration and healing. She invited us to bring our dreams if we thought they might benefit our community. As we told dreams, a new field of information unfolded beneath us like Emily’s prairie—a vibrant place populated by messengers and mysteries. Our dreams created a fertile field for our work together.

Before Harriet Tubman led groups of slaves to freedom, she dreamt their routes of escape. She didn’t dream of freedom abstractly. She relied on her dreams as she did the North star; she used them to navigate. She led hundreds to freedom, but first she dreamt them free. 

Years ago, when my daughter had been dangerously depressed for a long time, a therapist invited me to imagine her bright future. It was hard to do then, but I began to work at it. I dreamt up bright details of a life she might have when she was past her perils. Ultimately I was wrong about many details, but I was right in the only way that mattered. Now she is living luminously as herself. Imagining a bright future led us towards freedom. Dreaming makes a difference.

There are many ways to dream. At Deena’s we walked off alone to listen to the landscape, and later journeyed in the dark to the beat of her drum. River writing is a way of dreaming. With a pen in hand, we write wildly to discover, to explore the feral terrain of our own imagination. The guided practice of Yoga Nidra, taught locally by Scott Moore, is yet another way—one which allows us to wander in hidden realms of our own wisdom. Over the years, I have dreamt in these ways with many of you. I’ve been glad for your company.

At Deena’s, I experienced the exponential potency of shared dreams. When considered collectively, and apart from psychology, our dreams make a prairie of imagery and inquiry. I’m not confusing dreams with reality, just noting they are not less important. When daily life leaves us lacking, when bees are few in the language of Emily, we still have revery.

I may not be Harriet Tubman, but I am willing dreamer. I have faith in revery. The work of our imagination is not wasted. Thank you for sharing your dreams with me. Please keep up your good work. Imagine a bright future for our world and community.

Love,

Nan

 

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