Saturday, September 28, 2013

dry body

I used to fear the skeleton.

As a child I'd wander into my sister's bedroom and browse her books. Everything about my sister intrigued me and I believed what she believed to be truth. Her shelves contained numerous dream dictionaries. I devoured each one. She had a dream dictionary from the 1930s that was perfectly creepy -- dusty and mildewy and full of illustrations that bordered on the perverse.

The interpretation for "skeleton" stood out to me more than any other.

To dream of a skeleton is to dream of a future death.

But aren't we all future deaths? Isn't that what life's path leads to? My 8-year-old mind couldn't create or comprehend such philosophical musings quite yet.

And so I turned to fear.

I turned to fear and aversion and little obsessive compulsive acts that would protect me from what I really really really didn't want. Each night I'd pray to my god that I would have skeleton-free dreams. Each night I'd delicately dot my eyelids with purifying water. Each night I'd stumble into a skittish slumber.

Every morning I would awaken relieved. Nobody was going to die today. I had dreams of fences and ferris wheels and birds. But not skeletons. I was safe. I was protected.

Then it got to be too much. Then I got to be 22 and still felt compelled to purify my eyelids with water, to wash away thoughts of the dried (and eventual) body. Simply put, it was tiring to try to run away. A moving train will keep on moving, but the legs must give out at some point.

I decided to give it up. In fact, I decided to embrace the bones. I decided to come to understand and appreciate and maybe even worship the temporal. What is beneath is not below; what is beneath might be my beloved, my treasure.

The valley of dry bones is where I'll reside until I can figure out a way to attach the tendons and create the flesh.

Bones support and protect. I will embrace what I may become. I will embrace who I currently am. I will find my muscles and give them breath.

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