Dreams, too, die.
August is a wicked month. For me it has always been a time for lancing the abscesses of my soul and letting the infection drain out. It’s a time for death in the high grass, for looking forward to the Eve Of All Saints, a time for summer to be over, and for us to be older, one step closer to the big sleep in the cold, cold ground.
It is a time for putting things away, for for swing set chains to drift in the wind unattended, for losing toys and forgetting paths through the woods, paths that will overgrow and become impassable by next summer. These are the days of long shadows, a time to pause and reflect on the long night to come. Days grow shorter in August, the sun a guttering candle in a sky the color of rust.
And dreams, too, die.
I can remember unwrapping my body’s new reactions as a child becoming a man, back when the world was new and good men ruled the heavens, feeling a fire in my blood that was new to me but that I somehow knew was ageless, that had driven beasts to madness before there were words or any tongue to speak them.
The everyday miracles are always the most brutal, chemicals with Latin names setting their hooks in the meat of my brain, turning my thoughts in directions that I chose not to go, but went nonetheless.
A generation later an old man looks back down the corridor of calendar pages at the boy who was with kindness and perhaps a bit of condescension and says, “Don’t cry, this is just a dream.”
The image that has ridden me piggyback for three decades and a few years more is threadbare and haggard now. She–for it was always she, no matter what party games I played with other boys–has lost her luster. No longer burdened by the first blush of youth, or even the vigor of maturity, she who once was maiden and then mother is now crone.
And her age, her skeletal limbs and withered dugs beneath cracked and desiccated leather, has made her frail enough that I can slip her hangman’s fingers from around my throat.
Dreams, too, die.
I suppose I should allow her to die with some dignity, to curtsy or to bow as I leave her regal presence. It was never a bad dream, simply an unreal one. Mortals should not judge the children of Morpheus by the laws of Earth, their flesh is too rarefied to bare mortal shackles.
Good night, my love, who was never my love because you were never real, but I loved you nonetheless for that.
Good night, and sleep deep and do not dream. God grant you lie still.