There is a dream that is lost. I remember this dream, and I remember that it came many times. I would feel wonder and excitement when it was done, and in the middle it was crystal pure; deep and awesome power, polished with fear.
I can’t remember when I had it. I don’t remember how old I was. I could have been 15, 25, 30; I have no idea. I just remember that it used to come.
In the beginning I’m in a forest or a gully, like the one behind my childhood home at the bottom of Edworthy Park in Calgary. I have traveled a path upstream toward the top of the gully and in some secret place I hear the river running. It’s not visible and I think it must be just over there. If I stop, listen, I’ll find it.
I know the danger of this river. I sense its power. At the same time I know I’ve run it before. I’ve traveled it’s length many times and it has never hurt me. It can’t hurt me. It’s as if I created it and it is there for me. This deep earthen stand of forest, the hypnotic nightmare of the water and the invitation to ride tears my heart. I can recall every turn in the course yet I’m not sure if this time my soul might be claimed as prize. I’ve never lost; it’s safe, but no hell-spit chaos – no infinite fall could be so dangerous as this. By God, just look at it.
I see both banks, 200 feet apart and all the way to a downstream curve the water roils, impossible. Long, angry, churning beast. I can remember where it ends and I can remember all the times I’ve beaten it. To get in is unthinkable.
Yet I’m there; in the water up to my neck, my body pushed ahead of me feet first and my arms spread, moving too fast. I understand how to turn and bank down the course of the flow, I can navigate. I can’t control my speed but I can my place, and I know the worst of this is a pit of smooth, swollen force, enough to throw me airborne, just down-stream from where I am right now. I would be safe, if I could only remember what I did last time.
And I ride on.
Sometimes there is a waterfall, sometimes there is another curve, vicious and banked. Sometimes there is no memory of the journey, just the place where I know I gain shore. Here the pool is calm, So blue as to defy the invention of color. As deep as eternity. I’m on the path and I know my place is just over there. Sunlight on leaves shining a billion shades of deep green. A moss path laid to invite me home.
But I go back upstream, searching for the familiar fear; this lost river that’s been there ever since I can remember, that invites me again and again.
I miss this dream. I wonder where it’s gone.