My dreams are crawling with babies. Little rug rats, motoring every which way.
My dream room resembles an Escher print where babies dressed in pink and blue ascend and descend surreal staircases and climb up onto the furniture or nestle between the legs of chairs.
That was last night. A few nights before there were two beautiful babies lying together on a bed, holding hands - one a boy, the other a girl, the same age, he a little bigger than she, both with light brown downy hair, soft round cheeks and wide sparkling eyes.
I wouldn't make too much of these dreams except that they are coming after a lifetime of recurring nightmares in which babies in my care die. Some would break into tiny pieces. Others would become crushed beneath the tire of my car. Still others would disappear, slipping from my hand and floating through flooded gutters down the sewer.
It's hard to describe the terror one wakes with after such a dream. The throat closes so up so that no scream can enter. The hands clench so tightly that the nails make palms bleed.
These dreams were particularly difficult to have when I was a young mother ( though the first dream pre-dated the birth of my children). I feared they were prophetic in nature and after each, I would run panic stricken into the children's room, catching my breath as I watched their covers rising and falling. And there I would stay, back against the wall, until the rhythm of my breathing slowed to match theirs.
It wasn't until I first retired from teaching after my children were grown that the first baby made it through the night. Cold, forlorn and neglected, she lay naked on the concrete floor of the garage.
This new crop of dreams delights and bedazzles. The dreaming "I" leans against the wall watching the scene unfold, just as the physical "I" once did while holding vigil over my sleeping children.
Only here, I feel no fear. Only gratitude and joy.
|"Marsha Reborn" by Tobi Zion|
Those babies frolicking through my psyche represent all of the possibilities for creative expression happening for me now and the generative life that can be mine in the coming years - decades even - if I am blessed with good health and a clear, sharp mind.
So much of my writing the past four years has been about the painful process of transformation. I have written about the despair of losing one's footing, one persona, one's shape in the world. My writing has been filled with images of tunnels, basements, dark corridors and death.
But something is changing. Something has changed. Appearing now are butterflies and girls who grow wings from bloody slits in their shoulders, women who rise from the dead, victims of uxoricide, angry Liliths returning to haunt their murderous husbands and suffocating them in their sleep. I write of a twelve year old girl who hunts for words and a twelve yearold boy who wanders in his wagon, naming and claiming his neighborhood streets, and still another strange, small and nearly blind boy who rides a unicycle while juggling for his life.
My babies. In pink and blue. The fruit of my womb's imagination.
The gestation is over.
The babies are alive.