My dreams have a tendency to be strange, funny and at times scary. Then again that could be the case with most anybody’s dreams.
However, one dream has stuck with me, in fact, it has become the subject of this column.
Who knows where dreams come from? Can anyone truly answer that question?
At times I think maybe dreams might be glimpse of a past life. All I know is the end of my dream has left me with a lot of questions.
The sky is hazy with the smell of fresh cut flowers in the air. The sound of church bells can be heard faintly in the distance.
An elderly man steps down from the stoop in front of his building. As he walks he extends his hand to the walls of the building along the alley. His hand worn, scarred and calloused from a lifetime of work, presses against the wall to help him keep his balance.
He shuffles his feet along a cobblestone street, arthritis makes it difficult for him to bend his knees.
The sun shines through the rooftops of the buildings, weaving through clothes hung on lines stretched between the buildings.
His hat, patched and weathered keeps sun from his eyes, which are squinted as he proceeds along the cobblestone street.
As he reaches the end of the alley he sits atop a wooden crate to catch his breath. A lively crowd tops the hill of the street. It is a wedding procession.
He watches the crowd led by the groom and bride march along the street with family and friends in tow.
They pass waiving at him, some calling for him to join them. He smiles and waives as to thank them and respectfully decline.
It doesn’t take long for the crowd to walk out of sight, the street littered with rice and paper streamers.
He reaches his hand inside his coat and pulls out a small brass pocket watch. His hands shake as he presses down on the crown, opening the watch. As he reads the time his eyes fix upon the sky, he places the watch back in his pocket and returns to his feet.
His posture is offset, his back bears a slight hunch. His walk carries a sway, perhaps a way for him to keep time or pace himself.
As he clears the edge of town a warm summer breeze crosses his face drawing a smile.
A wooden cedar post fence lines the now dirt road he travels. He steps off into the rough grass passing through a break in the fence. The unkept pasture grass is waist high to him. He navigates the sea of grass to a willow tree centered atop a hill.
Short of breath, he braces against the tree and slowly slides down sitting at it’s trunk.
His eyes are fixed upon the sky as the sun begins to set. The clouds glow and reflect the vibrant shades of blue, amber, red, and yellow.
The is sun sinking slowly into the horizon as he reaches into his pocket. His hand cradling a handkerchief. White with lace and faded pink embroidery, it does not appear to belong to him.
He opens the handkerchief revealing a small tarnished picture frame. Encased in the frame is the picture of a woman in her later years.
The man smiles and as the sky begins to surrender to the night. He says, “As I promised, we’ll watch each sunset together.”
Who was the man? Who was the woman in the picture? Were they figments of my imagination and over active mind?
I will probably never know. However, what I do know, is I admire and respect a man who keeps his word, be they phantoms of a dream or flesh and blood.
It is a quality that seems to be lacking these days.