I Sleep in a Dream
I stood on top of a Native American Temple Mound with my friend Jack. He wore a tattered Boston ball cap and looked toward an interpretive sign. The sign pictured Indigenous people in the year 1300 as they climbed up the same wooden stairs we had just used to hike to the top.
“Do you think the Native Americans walked up here using stairs?” Jack said.
We were alone on a wooden platform at the crown of a large hill that, at its base, was the length of three football fields. The mound was four stories tall, covered in shaggy lime green grass that bent and bobbed in the cool breeze. My left foot was sopping wet from crossing a stream a few minutes before; the same stream that had sustained life for all the generations of people buried in these mounds. Jack and I were both a bit winded from the climb.
“I don’t know, but when I’m somewhere like this,” I said, “I imagine what it was like back then, and wonder what led them to create something like this.” As I spoke, I felt the hairs on my forearms and neck rise.
In my peripheral vision I saw Jack’s navy blue baseball cap snap in my direction. The birds chirped a chorus in the background as white puffy clouds meandered across a crisp cobalt sky.
“Me too,” he replied.
I had walked to the top of this mound before, but not for many years. I came here as a child, but I couldn’t remember being so touched by the significance and history of the place.
It bewilders me how a homely lonely kid who often wept herself to sleep visited these same divine mounds of earth; earth that was moved by the hands of ancient beings for reasons beyond any conjecture. Yet the same flawless spirit that moved the feet of those beings gave that kid the whole kit an’ caboodle. That kid had seemed so lost in the shuffle. She didn’t know Creation had a pipe dream waiting in the wings. That kid couldn’t have imagined the adventures she would have and the people she would meet. And she’d stood right there, in the same spot where I stood with Jack.
That kid was not given even a half-baked idea, nope. She would grow up and fly the coop to spend her college years jetting in zig zags across the country on a basketball team. After that, she’d design fighter jet engines, then run into burning buildings and deliver babies in the back of ambulances. Then she’d wander the world while living in a tin can on wheels. She would see so much, experience glimpses of pure beauty in the mundane, and be touched by many gorgeous humans. That kid had no idea what was to come. And now I realize again, I still don’t.
A hole in the matrix gapes wide open. Hundreds of jet black horses gallop out. With mouths forever fashioned in teethy smiles, their manes flow and flap in tufts in the wind. They have magic eight balls for eyes and with each stride, the perfect answers to life’s most difficult questions change and change again.
It’s all a game and I can’t get it wrong. When I trust the moment without trying to change the moment, I play lighter, see simpler, and have more fun.
Life might seem imperfect at times. Then again, when seen from a wider realm, life is a flawless unfolding that can only be tarnished by my experience of it. When I surrender my resistance to life, suffering fades. In this space, I can feel any emotion without the burden of needing things to be a certain way.
The girl who stood on those mounds is different now. I’m taller and a bit wrinkled and wiser. What’s different is: Trust. A trust in everything. A trust in the perfect unfolding of Life. A trust in the inner tickles that point me to every next step. I don’t know where I’ll go from here, but I know enough to walk my walk, and welcome twists and turns with openness and curiosity.
Now, more often than not, my wonder frolics like puppies in a field of dandelions. Life is a mystery, a beautiful meander into the nothing that is everything.
In this game, I can’t help but enjoy the road less traveled. Life awaits. Yeah, sometimes there are butterflies in my stomach, but I’m happy as a clam. I lay my head on a pillow of clouds pulled into place each night by a gang line of white ravens. I get to be, in the great mystery.
I sleep in a dream.
Chances are high that the Native Americans didn’t walk to the top of the mound using stairs. Akin to the sign on the mound, we are taught “This is how you build a business” and often times it’s just a theory. Let’s see past the beliefs and ideas.
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Photo credit Leonardo Vieira on Pixabay
Loved this reflection. Thank you. My heart aches when I think about the treatment of our native Americans. The trail of tears makes me cry. Keep following the road less traveled and get closer to the Creator, not just the creation. You are always in my prayers.