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Dream fragments: 1.8.16

January 9, 2016


I’ve been on a day trip far from home, in (where else?) a mall. It’s been a long day, looking at things, lots of walking, thinking through what comes next. To rest a while, to eat, to capture my thoughts, I stop at a restaurant.

As I leave, I grab my bag — like a lunch sack, but in black nylon. A jaunty ring of flowered duct tape around the handle, so I can find it in a crowd of black bags.

Later, I sit again, and open my bag, intending to get out my (electronic) notebook, or possibly my phone.

It’s not until the bag’s contents are before me that I realize, this isn’t my bag. I look at the handle, and there’s indeed no jaunty ring of flowers.

Part of my stomach drops. Will I ever see all the photos stored in my notebook again? Or are they lost forever?

If only I’d carried my phone in one of my pockets! I do carry my wallet and my keys in pockets of my pants, always, so I have those. But why not my phone? Can I go back in time and make a different choice? When I envision speaking to my mother about this later, I’ll have to explain why I hadn’t made that different choice. Won’t I?

I walk back to the restaurant, which is a long way away. I turn in the other bag; ask if anyone’s found my bag.

They haven’t, but somehow there’s a phone that might be mine. I eagerly open it (it’s a flip phone), but there’s a button in the center of the keypad that won’t turn on, almost like I’ve lost my password.

That means I can’t call my family and tell them I’ve been held up. I can’t find out where they are.

I’m cut adrift.

My photos, the loss of my photos, hurts the most. How can I reconcile never seeing them again?



Fabric as floor-length veils on a trio of women. Chiffon, with embroidery at the edges in a cinnamon brown. The color of the veils is… I don’t know how to describe it properly. Sort of like peach, but not as yellowish. And yet, when the light is behind them (as it was), they glow as if from within.




I don’t know how I can dream about colors I don’t recall ever seeing in waking life, and yet, this has happened before. And since I have emotion-color synesthesia, I know that any colors that announce themselves to me in dreams are emotionally significant. I have to remember not just what they seemed to mean, but what they looked like — because I may encounter them in waking life.

But I don’t remember the dream itself, just that one image.

Cinnamon brown, of course, is related to cinnamon, which is a highly important motif in my life.

Embroidery has been much on my mind lately. I don’t know if it means something more than that.

I’ve never seen veils on women like the ones in this dream.

I don’t know what to make of any of it.



I do own a roll of duct tape in a flowered design. And I do mark my bags with a ring of it. I did that initially to the things I brought with me to Ghost Ranch in 2013, so I could easily pick out my own things. (None of my things were black, however. I don’t own a bag like the one in my dream.)

I don’t own an electronic notebook.

My current phone is a smart phone. I got it a few months before going to Ghost Ranch; I used it to take photographs that I posted to Twitter so Spouse could ‘see’ New Mexico. (He never got on Twitter and looked.)

= = =

I’ve been thinking a lot about kinship lately.

We know people by the company they keep. I keep company with, and take photographs of, mostly nonhumans: trees, fungi, moss, lichens, running water, flowers (in season), rocks, clouds, spiders and webs, occasionally birds or bugs. I have several ongoing series of photos of Spouse too.

I think I have maybe 3 photos of people I know that are not Spouse. All related to each other, all from the same visit, in late 2013. On my phone, not my regular camera(s).

I took those photos mostly for the novelty. One is a selfie with other people in it.

I knew I would… likely never see these people again.

I never look at their photos. I kept them though.

But I often look at other photos I’ve taken much more recently. Flowers, trees, my studio, whatever.

My photographs are a record of my life. My friends. My kin.

‘Family’ is a painful word. I don’t really know what it means; I know the definition that a dictionary can tell me. I know being abandoned, being betrayed, being forsworn. I know… people being ashamed to be seen with me, pretending we’re not related. I know being expected to apologize for existing, but somehow it’s never enough.

I’d like to think that ‘family’ is something completely different. Something I’ve never had, but that it exists somewhere out in the wide world.

I would never affectionately call a person ‘sister’, or ‘brother’. Definitely not any sort of ‘parent’. Not likely even ‘aunt’ or ‘uncle’.

The only ‘family’ endearment I would use is claiming someone as Cousin.

Turkey vultures, the state of West Virginia, particular trees, a few (a very few) human being people. I’ve gotten more cautious over the years with calling human beings Cousin, as they’ve often been grave disappointments. West Virginia and turkey vultures, however, have never let me down.

Someday I really need to write about G-g-g-g-gm PR. She’s a character in poems I don’t know how to write, along with a mountain lion in the snow, wasp witch, and my Inner Alligator. Elders, all. None of them speak English, or any human language though. I catch a glimpse of them sometimes, rarely, but I don’t know what they’re saying. They are trying to help, I know that.

= = =

My photographs in the dream must signify something, but what? My art maybe. My life. My inner life. My attachments and affiliations. My aesthetic. My spiritual neighborhood.

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