Thursday, August 22, 2019

Unwritten story

I wanted a story and I have one, a perfect miniature narrative recorded in my travel journal in what I hope will be legible writing, complete with title. I am pleased I have fulfilled two of the assignments I set for my writing class: to write at least one page of their journal and harvest at least one page of something sufficiently polished to be presented to the group. I have both, in a single journal report.
    I glance at my watch on the bedside table. 3:00 a.m. I am usually awake at this time. The hour between 3 and 4 in the morning is possibly my favorite in the daily cycle. The world is quiet, reality seems fluid and malleable. The veils to other realms are thinned. I go to the bathroom then pause at a window to look up at the stars. Perhaps I will put a blanket over my shoulders and go out on the porch to talk to them. But first I want to savor the story I brought back from my dreams.
    Funny, my travel journal is not where I set it down. It is still in the bag I have been carrying to my writing class. I don’t remember putting it away but I am glad to see that I made sure I would be ready to share with the class. Don’t trust a teacher who does not do his own assignments, and make sure he produces evidence of that!
    I open the journal to the page bookmarked by a red ribbon. I see a drawing of a tree with two trunks, one that I visited on a lunchtime walk the previous day. A silver birch, related to the paper birches that grow beside the evergreens in the wood near my home. They provided a medium for the sacred stories of the First Peoples of that country, maps with pictographs of the soul’s journey and its interaction with the spirits of animals and ancestors and greater powers. The twin trunks of the tree I met yesterday rise towards the sky like the legs of a diver who has plunged into the earth. There is the impression  that the tree is rooted in heaven, like the Tree of Life of the Kabbalists and the tree bridge to the World Up Top of the Aboriginal spirit men. The gap between the trunks is surely a portal. I stepped through it, in my imagination, when I drummed for a journey the previous day.
    But this is yesterday’s story. I turn the page. The next page in my journal is blank. This is not so unusual. I often leave a page empty to receive later musings and sketches and notes on what follows a dream or vision. I leaf forward. The next page is blank, and the next. There is nothing in my journal after the sketch of the birch tree with two trunks.
    Perhaps I was confused, and actually wrote my story in the workaday notebook I carry as well as my beautifully bound journal. No, it’s not there. Or maybe I roused myself to do what I must always do at some point: to enter report on a digital data base, on the small screen of my mobile phone or the petite screen of my laptop. I fire up both. I check and recheck. There is no entry from the night.
    I wrote a story but left it in another reality, in an outer courtyard of dreaming around the inner courtyard where a dream adventure gave me the narrative. I fulfilled my intention to write from a dream after a false awakening, in a world that was not my current physical reality.
     Can I step back into that world, and bring back the missing story?
     I lie in bed, on my back, willing myself back in the dream where I wrote in my journal. My inner screen comes on but it shows me random things: patterns and odd objects and unfamiliar faces. Nothing solid.
     Can I at least bring back the title of my story?
     It comes at once.
     I close my eyes, then open them to make sure I wrote the words this time in a place where I can hold on to them. Yes, I have my title.
     Unwritten Story.

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