As If It’s All a Dream

It’s a bluebird Monday; the trip has ended. On the journey home I find myself with time to think. We drive through the village, the mountains and the hills, all crystalline and glistening white.

We got together and had a blast, it’s sad to think this time has passed; I find myself with time to think on the journey home. What do these experiences mean to me, honestly and truly?

They shape me and make me cry with laughter — I challenge myself and open up my heart. These times make me who I am; I question whether I have a plan, but the plan is to be here, to be nowhere else but here.

The Monday morning drive, like music between the notes, the lull between the waves makes smooth seas for passing boats. It’s in the quiet moments when I feel ready to reflect. My thoughts have room to flourish and I can think back without needing to feel sad — only grateful, cheerful, a heart’s that radiant and joyful — that’s full of joy, unyielding joy, to have had the joy at all.

I wake up to the sound of music as if it’s still a dream. My friends are getting out of the car and stepping into the fresh mountain air. I look outside the window. The snow on the mountains glistens in the morning sun; we stretch our legs and walk down to a serene lake that unfolds to the distant horizon. Our boots crunch atop the icy snow as we approach the lake.

It reflects the mountains, all contorted and still — breathless — the water doesn’t move. I try not to let my mind wander into the oncoming traffic of all that life entails. I don’t want to stress over the things I’ll need to do when I get home. I wrangle in my thoughts and focus on nothing but now; to not think at all and be as still as the reflection on the surface of the breathless lake.

Calm, balance, ease, stillness, and peace.

I repeat this mantra to bring me back to the center. On the chairlifts and while on the cold open mountain face, I’d repeat these words in my head exploring Zen in the art of snowboarding: calm, balance, ease, stillness, and peace.

I’d lean on my heels and then my toes and feel the freedom of being alive; the mantra repeated in my soul like the beat of a drum. These are words I strive to live by. They seem to help me float.

I’ve found that quieting our mind is nearly impossible, but repeating a mantra gives the mind something to do. I fill the entirety of my being with these five beautiful words. My mind imagines flying down the mountain as I open my eyes to the stillness of the lake. There’s nobody around but my friends, nothing to do but be, nothing to fear. Everything to be grateful for.

The moment passes like a star that vanishes with the morning sun, that only means another day has come.

We’re back in San Francisco.

I head to the roof to catch the fading sunset and the lights of the boats floating along in the bay. I didn’t expect to be back here, but this feels like home, too. Dusk falls upon the city.

In the morning I’m at the airport, the time has come and gone.

Still, I aim to foster peace. I let go of trying to figure anything out and I enjoy the scene. I walk to the gate through the calming airport, or maybe it’s the ease I feel which alters my surroundings. The mantra repeats within me and turns reality into a dream. I find a store and peruse the books which line the walls.

A book catches my eye: Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman. I feel the paper in my hands and smile at the simple watercolor painting on the cover. The back of the book provides a brief synopsis about a fantasy underworld beneath the streets of London.

The book is a package that has all come together: the words within the pages and the world they create are depicted through the watercolor on the coarse, eggshell cover.

The illustration portrays a set of stairs that change color as they descend from pink into deep purple, from light into dark, from reality into the underworld beneath the life we know; a place with no time, no reason or rhyme. Sometimes it feels like fiction makes the most sense of all.

I’m in the sky, wondering where everybody’s going. From the top to the bottom of the coast we travel through the clouds. I wake up with a start and take a look around.

Ah, I guess now I’m really home. Although this place was recently new, it’s now where I return. I travel through the motions of an ordinary day. Yet each day is more than ordinary, rather extraordinary by default.

The ocean’s as calm as the mountain lake I gazed upon before. Calm, balance, ease, stillness, and peace brought me from there to here, to Neverwhere, through the clouds and thin air.

I listen to the melody of crashing waves. In the morning, rain falls from the moody grey sky and the leaves make a swoosh as they bustle and sway. I open my eyes feeling refreshed at the dawn of a new day.

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