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QUINTESSENCE

Vision

Street musician, Berne, Switzerland

With a single drop of ink for a mirror, the Egyptian sorcerer undertook to reveal to any chance comer far-reaching visions of the past. This is what I undertake to do for you, reader. With this drop of ink at the end of my pen, I will show you the roomy workshop of Jonathan Burge, carpenter and builder in the village of Hayslope, as it appeared on the 18th of June, in the year of Our Lord, 1799.
- Opening paragraph of Adam Bede by George Eliot

George Eliot speaks through her writing in Adam Bede directly to the reader in the same way I am reminded, following recent and vivid dreams, that our subconscious selves are continuously speaking as well. Nightly, the mysterious ink blot takes shape behind our sleeping eyelids, and story and narration unfold. We may awake confused, but there are times we lie still as the dream settles, a vivid and particular message imparted from an unexpected symbol or word.

Meanings of dreams range in the research on a scale from the merely chaotic and random to the apparently psychic. Dream symbols, dream visitations, dreams in detail that predict future events, even dreams in the guise of one event that clearly tell the intimate tale of another. I myself have dreamt in deja vue: dreaming the receipt of a surprise letter from an old friend, noting postage and handwriting and reading the contents aloud, and the next day, receiving that exact letter by post. It's not mine to explain, but when this kind of experiential slip of time and dimension jars our accepted measure of what is real and what is not, the aftermath is often a more fluid personal definition of fate. History begins to seem less of a chronological march and more dimensional; interlocking rings in which personal and global events tangentially spin through many planes of meaning.

In talking with a friend today about work, specifically about inviting in a major change in career and residence sometime in the near future, I used the phrase, "Open to what the universe brings." Not because I believe in random or directionless fate, but because I sense that there is in life the path we choose, the path we encounter, and all the nuances and variables in between. Sometimes we try so hard to direct the future, we fail to see what comes up naturally around the bend. In my life it has always seemed to work out best when I simply commit to a desired direction and let my inner spiritual GPS "recalculate" as I go.

Lately, my own dreams have involved change as well: a temporary house, painted a remarkable yellow; adventuring on an Odysseyian quest with the voices of those gone speaking as trusted muses; the physical body rhythms of packing and unpacking; an adventure with my adult children moving in and out of the action as members of the supporting cast and no longer my prime directive. All signs of inner shift. My friend? The one contemplating the big change? She gently scooped up the phrase "Open to the universe." Willing to let her next step float for now in her readiness; waiting to embrace what comes of "wait and see."

By the way, I miss novels that open big like Adam Bede by George Eliot. The writing today often too confessional, or its obverse, the chic brittle fancy. Art-less. Dialog-heavy helpings of "distraction action," missing translation. I love those narratives that sweep us up and in, that omniscient stroke of the pen, the sorcerer's dark conjuring... The inky trace of change.
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