Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Midlife Dream Play--II The Quest

After a few years of dreamplay and journeying with Z, my therapist and guide, I had this dream:

It's after midnight and I can't sleep. I go out the kitchen door of my childhood home, through the carport, into the backyard and walk around to the other side of the house beside my parents' bedroom. I look at the sky in front of my house, which is a beautiful blend of darkness and light.

I walk back around to the kitchen door and open my eyes to see the doorknob glowing in the dark, closer than I expected. I go into the kitchen and hear a car driving into the carport. I drop down and hide on the floor below the windows, paralyzed by fear, but manage to get up and confront the man at the door.

He has dark, slicked-back hair, like the actor George Hamilton, and is wearing a business suit. He says that he is inspecting the fruit producers in the neighborhood. Not enough people are eating fresh fruit, and the producers are having to freeze their product. Salmon also. People don't realize that salmon contains a special ingredient, he says. While he speaks, he is eating grapefruit sections. I feel as if I'm doing what I can. Meanwhile, his appearance has changed to a ruddy-faced, stocky man like a grocer or butcher.

It's after midnight--midlife. I can't sleep and begin an odyssey of my own. The journey begins in the kitchen of my childhood home where many of my dreams are located. The kitchen was the domain of my grandmother, the maid and cleaning woman, a guise of the Latin woman from my Descent dream in the previous post. Beside the kitchen is the carport--the port of entry to the outside world and, later, the Ascent.

Behind the house is the backyard where I played, where my father buried my childhood dog, but that is only a passageway. I want to see the sky out front. I could look at the sky from the carport side of the house, next to the cleaning woman's kitchen, but I want to see from the other side of the house, beside my parents' bedroom. Same sky, different perspective. From that perspective the sky is a beautiful blend of light and dark--the opposites. From there I can see the dawn coming and the end of my quest, but I am not ready and return to the kitchen and the transition space of therapy and play.

Back in the darkness I must open my eyes to see the doorknob of the kitchen door glowing, closer than I expected. I am not ready for the dawn but there is illumination in the doorknob to my midlife transitional space. Inside I hear a car in the carport. I am paralyzed by fear and have dropped down, descended into the darkness below the windows and the light.

Somehow I rise again, manage to get up and make a stand. The dark father has come to inspect fruit. Tropical fruit.

There were citrus trees in Florida where I was born. My family brought a grapefruit tree back home from Florida and planted it beside the kitchen. Each winter its growth was killed back by the frost, but it would grow new sprouts every spring. Even at midlife. After midnight. Fresh fruit is healthy; it should not be canned or frozen. The Latin woman's tropical tree can be transplanted, however, and regenerate itself at springtime.

Salmon is a different kind of recovery--a second half of life recovery. It's what Erik Erikson calls generativity or the transfer of power to the next generation. Odysseus returned home and rescued his son's patrimony and Prospero gave up his magical powers and his daughter's hand in marriage. To the indigenous North Americans the salmon is a mythological creature for its powers of generativity, its struggle upstream to its source to lay its eggs for the next generation, to regenerate itself like the grapefruit tree.

The actor George Hamilton was the lawyer to the Godfather in the film, but his dark, sinister appearance changes to a ruddy-faced Nordic--from dark to light. Hermes was the god of transformation, of alchemy. He could change appearances--the mercurial trickster and player. He was also Odysseus' guide in his encounter with Circe and convinced Calypso to set the voyager free to return home. The trickster in my dream changes from dark lawyer to the Godfather to a dealer in fresh produce, a grocer or butcher. At Scott Peck's community building workshop I became close to a Nordic looking German named Manfred. Man freed. Man freed by both recovery and transformation, freed by dreamplay with darkness and light.


  1. Your posts are consistently thoughtful, dreamy, and beautiful. I like how you bring in all the references and allusions while still striving to be very personal. You have a lot to be proud of in these posts.

  2. You make me proud, and that's generativity!