Saturday, December 6, 2008


(The following post is a re-run from December 2007, before I knew that RTN had had a brain stem stroke in September 2007 and had been recovering from that in a VA hospital. The drawing was done using the Appleworks "Paint" program and my right index finger on the track pad of my iBookG4. I love that it gives the effect of a woodcut or linocut. I have not done any drawing or painting since January of 2008, but have been working on a book of my art work since sometime during the summer of 2008.)

"Now I know, at least a little bit, why I am so resistant to drawing and painting. Once I start, I find it difficult to stop.

This morning, when I woke up at 4 a.m. which has been my chosen waking time recently, it occurred to me that, as with my yoga practice and my blog/writing practice, if I don't make time in the morning to draw, the chances of doing a daily drawing practice diminish as the day progresses. So, a complication arises. I want to do yoga, writing and drawing, but once I start drawing I don't want to stop to do writing and yoga. Actually, it's not that I don't want to do writing and yoga, it's that I need to figure out how to stop drawing in time to do writing and yoga before I enter the responsibilities of the day.

My drawing today is based on a recurring dream that was dreamed once again last night just after I first fell asleep. Ever since sometime in 1970, when my boyfriend was in Vietnam and I was living in my parents' home, I have had a recurring dream that has taken many forms over the years. In the original dream, I was startled awake by a Viet Cong who was lunging towards me, trying to kill me. It took a few seconds for me to realize that I was dreaming, because the vision of someone beside my bed was so vivid. My heart was beating in that frightened way that sounds as if everyone in the house can hear it. It took some time before I was able to return to sleep. I was afraid that my boyfriend had died in Vietnam.

It was only in the first dream that the person was a Viet Cong. In the recurring dreams, the shadowy figure by my bed has taken many forms, usually as a man, but also as an unidentifiable woman, as my mother, as my father, as a quiet curious child I don't know, as a dog, as a wolf, as a fox, as a cat. Usually the figure is threatening my life, but occasionally it has not been threatening. On the occasions when the figure is not threatening, I still wonder what it is doing in my bedroom. Always there is the loud racing heartbeat. Over the years, the fear became mixed with anger at the dream appearance of someone uninvited, no matter now benign they might be.

At one time I had hoped that I would never have this dream again, believing that when I stopped having the dream it would mean that something in my psyche was healed, but gradually I came to see this dream as an unusual gift. I am struck by the fact that it occurred again on the night before I planned to start drawing again and that this time there were two people, a man and a woman.

Although the dream was of the frightening kind, when I tried to draw it a shift occurred, and it became "Before, During And After The War."

Now it's almost 7 a.m. The sun won't rise this morning until nearly 8:30. Time to do my yoga practice. Not sure how I will be able to do yoga, writing and drawing once I start my 8 a.m. classes in January, but anything is possible."

(A year later, I am waking up at 6 a.m. I dropped my classes a few weeks after learning about RTN's stroke. I was unable to focus on studying. Although I haven't been doing my regular Yoga practice, I have been walking 1-1/2 hours daily. As I was walking yesterday, it occurred to me that what I am doing might be called "Walking Yoga." On December 1, I had the recurring dream twice. This time it was a basketball player falling flat on his face near my bed (?). He wasn't threatening me, but my heart pounded in fear, as it does in all recurring dreams of this nature. Mixed with my fear was concern for him. On December 2, I broke my left baby finger. As a result of that and a flare-up of ocular rosacea, I'm not working on the refresher course in medical transcription for the time being. Typing slowly, I can spend my time working on my book until my baby finger heals and the ocular rosacea is under control again with the help of a good ophthalmologist. It took me about three hours to complete this post and comment on another blog. The image that follows is another photo taken before dawn. The upper left hand corner of the image was a luminous blue. Wish you could see it as I saw it. If you tip your computer screen forward, that corner looks more blue.)


The Solitary Walker said...

I like the ideas of walking as yoga and dreams as gifts.

Loren said...

Beautiful sunrise, am.

The dabbler in me wants to combine both of these photos and see how the sunrise would look behind the dream image.

Dale said...

3 hours! Oy. Thanks for your comment: I didn't realize how much of an effort it represented!

ocular rosacea sounds quite horrible :-(


am said...

Solitary Walker -- Just now I heard Bob Dylan singing in my mind:

"You're walking in dreams, whoever you are. Chilled are the skies, keen is the frost. The ground's froze hard, and the morning is lost."
( from Cross the Green Mountain)

Uncanny, isn't it?

Loren -- Feel free to combine the photos. Please dabble if you'd like. I like what you did with the elusive Belted Kingfisher.

Dale -- I like that part of one of your napkin drawings that appears next to your comment. My eyes are doing much better. Almost back to normal.

robin andrea said...

So sorry to hear about your broken finger. Ouch. Hope that heals quickly. Lovely images here. The sunrise is gorgeous.