lucid dreaming at Hotel Cascada
There is an indoor water park, and a little booth in the lobby where you can take
your picture and send it anyone you know. Beer glasses clink in the sports bar -
the home team clinching victory - and the new arrivals check in, bleary-eyed
from the long road trip, and head to their rooms with the straps of their luggage
hanging slightly off their shoulders. Fluorescent bulbs pockmark the hallways,
and I wonder if we're all thinking the same thing: "Why am I here?" as we fall back
on starched white pillows and climb past the fences we'd erected at daylight, intent
as we were to mark the borders of our mind's country. Now, though, we swim loosely on,
eager to meet the hands of strangers, eat at unfamiliar tables, relieved to discover
someone has saved a seat for us, and there is a meal waiting with our name on it.
lucid dreaming at Hotel Cascada
under your knees, a sandbox
Maybe no one is stopping by the house with a basket of fresh blueberries and an hour to sit
in your kitchen with the windows blowing in that particular storybook breeze.
Maybe the neighbors aren't knocking on the porch door and asking for the cup of sugar
their cake needs, and you fall into that beautiful dance that forgets the walls between you.
Maybe the drive to the ocean always involves bad traffic on the Parkway, drivers bristling
in their lanes when someone forgets to signal, and the beach is so pockmarked with bottle caps
and those kelly-green straws from Starbucks, you stay cloistered on your towel, despite
your deep hunger to swim. Sometimes, the acreage of wishful thinking stretches so wide,
while your patch of joy stays shockingly small. And yet, under your knees, a sandbox, a playground
of such tidy proportion, all the rides are just a fingertip away, if you'd only reach out to touch them.
Cleveland in Idaho
We listen on the radio as the circus begins,
engine straining from the climb on the interstate
out of Salt Lake City. I don't know if it's the heat,
or the strange arrival of Scott Baio at the lectern
that silences us, but as the miles roll on our mouths
slacken and fall open, and the air - cooling artificially and
whooshing through the vents, lands squarely on our tongues.
"We need gas," someone says. "We need water," another adds,
and we smack our lips, awake with a thirst we are praying
we can meet in time.
the amphibian inside us
Because it's summer. Because the air is heavy with heat and nostalgia.
Because this is what we have to keep remembering, the way our bodies
know the waves, the amphibian inside us unafraid of going under,
of what ripples beneath the surface. Because waiting on the dock
for the signal to jump is like thinking someone else is responsible. Because
there is no one else responsible. Because despite the current,
it is possible to swim against it, or even stand, inverted, balancing
on a slippery mulch of murk and mud, and stay perfectly still.
Because when the world tips from view, we have to do everything we can
to tip it back.
I picture them, the mad scientists, squinting at their screens and holding
their collective breath as the engines fired 500 million miles away and
a seemingly untouchable planet came into view. It turns out they were not so mad
after all - maybe that's why when, after they stood to cheer, they turned to each other
and embraced. We did it! the gesture seemed to say, and behind it, a smaller voice:
This is just the beginning and then, smaller still, We were not wrong to dream.
I am sitting here, in my living room, an atlas on a table nearby. It doesn't matter whether it's real
or not; the landscape of that story we never stopped believing in is always this close, even if
we never get up to rustle the pages open. We can't stop the rattle of wind at the door, or
the wild song of gravity, or that certainty of hope that fills the sky every time we look up.