Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Day.

Dreamed last night I had a love-child with a giant sea-turtle. The baby was not viable--they said it had bad pneumonia and they would have to kill it, and they did. With knives. I had blood spattered on me and was wearing bright flourescent green eyeshadow. Red and green.

I was upset about the baby, and exhausted. I was teaching that weekend at Esalen, but I also had to get the turkey in the oven for Thanksgiving. I asked Gillian if I could borrow her cell phone and she said sure but I was so tired I could not dial. I kept trying to press G's number to tell him to go over my house and put the bird in the oven, but I kept falling over before I could press the buttons on the phone.

Woke with relief--bright sun, gorgeous day. Mental note: no more caffeine after 1 p.m. It's the first time I've dreamed that I myself had a baby in a long time--I often dream about babies, but since I've passed into my mid and now my late forties, it's usually someone else giving birth to them. There was one great shot (in the dream) of my lover, the sea turtle swimming, waving its flippers.

Perhaps one of the messages of the dream is that it's best to mate with other mammals. Or maybe a reflection of the fact that I never did get my swim in yesterday, I just worked like a ned at the computer all day, polishing up the one-act play I wrote in boot camp and then emailing it to various theatre/dancer/director friends. .

This morning G and I went out and played tennis, with $5.00 rackets bought at the Goodwill. Neither of us are all that good--he's rusty, and I never had any skills to begin with--so we just ran around the court, lobbing balls at each other, trying to get a volley going, and having fun. You can learn a lot about a person from playing a game with them. I learn about G that he's fair, considerate, and a team player. I learn about myself that I still have some character flaws that could use some work.

For instance on difficult shots, when I have to run for the ball, G says encouragingly, "You can make it," and then I do. When I lob the ball high high in the air and it sails overhead and out of bounds, he says, "Wow, you could show movies on that flight."

I, on the other hand, use language inappropriate for courts which border on a playground where young children are taking turns on the swings.

It's a beautiful fall day: red and yellow leaves, browning at the edges and turning crispy. Clear bright sky--it rained last night and washed the air. Lake Merritt looked startlingly blue. The warmth of the sun almost feels like summer, except that the leaves of my fig tree are turning yellow and brown--in a month they'll all be gone. I ate the last two figs from the tree today. The persimmons came and went. The rains have begun. The days are short.

I'm grateful for: HEALTH, first and foremost. My own health, to be able to make a fool of myself running around a tennis court, and have something left over afterwards.

I'm grateful that my father is alive and in good health and enjoying his life more than ever in his seventies. I'm grateful that my family is all okay, no one dying of any incurable horrible diseases right at the moment. For my friends who are going to come over in an hour and eat and drink and play music and celebrate with me. I'm grateful to whomever invented Prozac so that I could actually live my life instead of just suffering through it, and very grateful to my doctor for diagnosing and treating my depression when I was so used to it I wasn't even hoping I could get better anymore.

I'm grateful for Wing It! and for Interplay, grateful I have a place to go and people to engage in deep serious play. I'm grateful for New College and Writing Salon, grateful that I get to do work that's in line with my passions, grateful for my sweet students, and for the community of artists around me (you know who you are,) whose creativity nourishes my own.

I'm grateful for jazz and blues, and quilts, and dark chocolate and champagne and hot tubs, and good books, and wonderful movies. I'm grateful to the writers and actors on The Sopranos. I'm grateful for Harbin hot springs, and that I live near the ocean and in Oakland, a city I love. Grateful for food, hot water, a swimming pool, this computer I can write on. Grateful to still be here, after coming through so many storms.


Anonymous said...

Wow, what an odd, intriguing dream. Something to do with all the swimming you've been doing lately? Have you felt conflicted about your art lately? About your personality or temperament? Last week, we discussed a Louise Erdrich story about a turtle (snapper) which represents the "eye of the heart" and also the character's need to go deeply into his psyche and explore the regions thereof! I wonder what it means that your love-child could not survive?

Alison said...

I think it has to do with acknowledging the end of my fertility--that I just don't have viable eggs anymore. A friend of mine to whom I recounted this dream said that sea turtles symbolize androgyny in some culture--forget which one. It was a vivid disturbing dream, that's for sure, sith the blood and all. The way of killing the baby was gruesome. Some of the themes I worked with in the little one-act play I just wrote for boot camp were disturbing psychic material about child-abuse and murdering close family members--not directly autobiographical, but metaphorically correct. So I think that has something to do with it too.

Anonymous said...

I know that in Native American Mythology, the turtle is the earth (origins), hence mother nature, womb of us all. Such a vivid dream. It's worth thinking about, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Oh, and also...


The Buddha used a sea turtle to illustrate the precious rarity of opportunity afforded by our human birth. The turtle example appears in the scripture called in Pali, the Chiggala Sutta that is classified as LVI.48 of the Samyutta Nikaya.

It is a metaphor known as The Hole:

"Monks, suppose that this great earth were totally covered with water, and a man were to toss a yoke with a single hole there.

A wind from the east would push it west, a wind from the west would push it east. A wind from the north would push it south, a wind from the south would push it north.

And suppose a blind turtle were there. It would come to the surface once every one hundred years.

Now what do you think - Would that blind turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole?"

"It would be a sheer coincidence, Lord, that the blind turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, would stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole."

"It's likewise a sheer coincidence that one obtains the human state.

It's likewise a sheer coincidence that a Tathagata, worthy and rightly self-awakened, arises in the world.

It's likewise a sheer coincidence that doctrine and discipline expounded by a Tathagata appears in the world.

Now, this human state has been obtained. A Tathagata, worthy and rightly self-awakened, has arisen in the world. A doctrine and discipline expounded by a Tathagata appears in the world.

"Therefore your duty is the contemplation: `This is stress . . . . This is the origination of stress . . . . This is the cessation of stress . . . . This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress."

(That is, The Four Noble Truths -- here the translator uses the word stress instead of the more usual suffering.)

Alison said...

Wow!! That's amazing, Theresa, THANK YOU!!!! I will contemplate that dream further! (I was thinking maybe the turtle was just an aspect of myself, as I'm a "turtle" not a hare, i.e. I don't have any fast-twitch muscles...I do get where I'm going, but slowly.

Last night I dreamt I was working on a big colorful memorial quilt to commemorate the death of a friend's sister (in real life, this friend has a husband with cancer, her sister is fine.) There was some big story about the sister which I can't remember. The quilt was wonderful--it had things hanging off of it--an art quilt. I was supposed to give a poetry reading at a small bookstore, but instead we decided to display the quilt and sell it. There was another part about a refugee family living in a tent. I crawled in the tent with them. A small dirty child crawled in close to me. I decided to use the money from the sale of the quilt to help this family.

Anonymous said...

You must be in an extremely creative period. I have vivid dreams when the writing is coming well. The dreams do give us a lot to think about! I have always loved the turtle in the Erdrich story, "Love Medicine." The image of that creature swimming into the abyss and surfacing now and then shows me the importance of dreams, self-reflection, and creativity.

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