Monday, October 4, 2010

"Not responding"

This was the news that my wife received by phone about her mother, nearly 90, with Alzheimer's, and in a home after being released from the hospital lately. My wife, thinking this a straightforward admission that she wasn't waking up instead of a typical "wellness"-era caregiver euphemism, figured that Grandma would stir. She did not.

Before getting the call relaying this from my wife, I had woken up a very short time before with a distinct visitation of sorts in a dream on the edge of waking-- today's same misty morning. The temperature had dropped from 113 officially (118 on the sign at the corner; the official L.A. city thermometer had broken and mine in my car had done so the summer before); now it was fifty degrees cooler and drizzling, the first time since April.

This young lady's image stayed with me that morning. It unsettled me, but not in a disturbing way. I fell asleep again and there she was again. This nearly never ever happens to me. It was the kind of image that you can summon again after being taken away from it, similar to lucid dreaming. Here is what this morning I had seen, and returned to after barking dogs and screaming kids (yes, even as late teens) and the usual tumult had subsided.

A young woman, olive-toned but pale skinned, with wavy black hair parted sharply on the left. Her shoulder-length, trimmed, rather 1920s/30s coiffure of rippling tresses fell across her head, not her face with its very clear, piercing eyes, but tender ones. She wore a gentle look. Not saintly, but more kind than seductive. Her enticement was not to passion so much as a purer pursuit with her as one's companion. John Singer Sargent's "Lady Agnew of Lochnaw" may be one rough analogy, but that lady's more haunting, with more hair however neatly hidden. Cossetted, she also looks far more wealthy. My dream lady seemed approachable, readier to chat.

Perhaps she stood at a dim portal. The air around here reminded me of soft green light, ambergris, amber, twilight. She wore a white blouse, buttoned up, but not high collared. It had a wide set of lapels and a slightly pleated front. (I lack the sartorial term needed here, being the "straight man" not only for jokes, despite a stint teaching at the Fashion Institute downtown.)

Her searching look reminded me of Anaïs Nin's ambiance, with her sultry Parisian coquettes, but perhaps in this case my dream girl had a less "trammelled" air. She exuded an aura of calm, feminine guidance to lead at least this trusting male across whatever infernal passages this Dantean pilgrim sought towards a liberation of vision. I hazarded in my reverie a more direct impression of this apparition, but I had returned, the second time after being awakened, to her presence again, her just being there. She wore perhaps a pencil-straight, demure but form-fitting black skirt, but the focus was on her gaze. Beatrice?

(N. B.: I'd returned from a conference yesterday where my "Beckett's Purgatories," much inspired by the Divina Commedia, had earned neither catcalls or comments afterwards. I went to sleep last night, with a cat on my face pawing my chest, as I mulled over my talk's reception, or lack of such. I looked up in the darkness and asked my elusive Creator, or delusive myself, or the amusive cat: was I innately clever or congenitally stupid-- as to my attempts to convince academia of my esoteric wisdom. Two grad school profs opine after my written qualifying exams for my Ph.D. 1) Modern British mandarin's sneer: "What were you smoking that morning?" My steady response: "My mother had open heart surgery that same morning. I was stressed, given the circumstances." 2) Victorianist comment on me, or was it my bluebook: "Superficially brilliant." That one hangs around my self-image decades later. Albatross. Yes, I know it's a Romantic allusion. P.S. My wife hates reading anything about dreams or even me telling her about them, but in this case, a noteworthy and an apropos, if premonitory and captivating, exception.)


Ipmilat said...

It sounds like a pleasant visitation, or reventant, or whatever. I had a similar experience (twice) with two bearded low-lifes in trashy druid costumes, threatening me with violence.

John L. Murphy / "Fionnchú" said...

As "Bo" informs us, as Druidry's an official religion in your kingdom now, that may be also eerily timed!