Last night, I dreamt that a horse carried me through countless battles, fighting the same rival who refused to give up. The rival’s arrows pierced the weakest parts of my armor, and after countless battles, he managed to kill my horse and best friend.  I watched as the horse struggled in pain, refusing to accept or let him die. In my mind, I buried him, and he was only going to sleep, dormant, and I would see him again after his long rest, in the splendor of all our youthful days of glory, just as before. I was eerily certain.

Then I dreamt that a hunter tracked me, as if I were a fox. I ran circles around the largest tree in the forest, and climbed its sturdy branches as the dogs bit at my feet. Above, in the safety of the canopy, they threatened to chop down the tree rather than accept that I escaped. I warned that this particular tree was the central point of life, and if they cut it down, the entire forest would die. This seemed to stay their hand, and then the tree receded into the safety of its swampy depths, with me alongside.

When you first fall in love, you know how everything is perfect counterpoint? The dance is fluid and consuming, but everything devoured is multiplied and returned. Well, true love also has a second, dreadful level, where the beautiful dance becomes a grotesque battle that teaches new forms of excruciating, cauterizing, torture. The weakest parts are burned away for the rest to survive. Only if you survive this stage, do you have the ultimate privilege of knowing the final and last stage: mature and true love.  This love knows the scars that have healed back stronger than anything the first imagined, and the dance is a weird mixture of counterpoint and stumbling that looks uncoordinated, but only to the untrained eye.

The surface has its beauty, but deeper is something people are lucky to see once in a lifetime. There comes the time to accept that you have sailed oceans and climbed mountains to stand face to face with yourself. Perhaps it is the journey to love that abandoned and abused part of ourselves, with rare glimpses of something deeper, and more only if we are lucky. Everything seems hidden.

Hell, I’m lucky I’ve managed not to run away from myself. 

I must accept that, chances are, nothing on this earth can recognize that deepest part of myself: that recognition that the other is willing to meet the doom and majesty, for that final stage, with fear, anticipation, and excitement, to let go and be swept away. There is no more. There is no less. Few will know it. I’m too stubborn to accept the shadows of less, so I’ll just remain unsure that I have anything beyond the bare surface, to be found, or share with others. Whatever glimpses of myself find others, and others myself, and benefit in any way, is truly humbling.

But I honestly do not know if the horse is dead, dormant, or only sleeps.

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