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A Mind Unattended

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Diffused through the slats of venetian blinds—the sepia hued light casts strange contours across the room. The tick-tocking from our pendulum clock brakes an otherwise eery silence. 

I rub the sleep from my eyes—must have zonked out here on the sofa and have no idea what time of day it is.   It feels like dusk but regardless—I’m going to make a cup of coffee.

Leaning forward to rise off the sofa, I notice a handful of photographs scattered about the coffee table. They’re snapshots capturing some old unfamiliar family outing. I rake them together and begin to rifle through.

The images are of my wife and me at a picnic somewhere, along with our two daughters. The photos transport me back to an event that seems to have taken place decades ago. Abandoned playground equipment in the background appears to be from the 1960s era.

I’m intrigued by one particular shot of the four of us perched around a picnic table. Sitting on this table is a weaved basket covered with a red gingham cloth. Oddly, the only color pigment in this black and white photo is the red of the cloth.

I look like a crewcut boy and an old man all at the same time. Our oldest Janene at times becomes our granddaughter Julia, and Cherie becomes Molly. I rub my eyes again—I really need that caffeine.

As I toss the photo back on the pile I notice a strange hologram effect. I pick it up and study it closer. The photo seems to have come alive.  Turning it in my hand reveals a different perspective. I can see into it far beyond the boundaries of its border.

Low floating clouds cast blotchy shadows over the wide expanse of the grove.  A boy enters the scene—it’s Jacob. He’s laughing and running and eating Jay’s Potato Chips.  He’s sprinting across the freshly cut meadow with our Blue Heeler Sadie. They’re being chased by Julia, Molly, and a girl he calls Mya. The girls are pelting them with eggs filled with confetti and chase Jake into a courtyard where he hides in a church.

I try to follow behind but lose sight of him down a long narrowing hallway lined with doors that connect to more halls with yet more doors. Squeezing through the cramped passageways I begin to panic realizing I’m now lost deep within this labyrinth. I desperately attempt to retrace my steps but the halls are now too narrow for me to pass back through. The growing anxiety feels like carbonation rising up through my chest making it almost impossible to draw a satisfying breath. Just at the point of suffocation I abruptly awake—to the tick-tocking of our pendulum clock.

I could really use that coffee now.

Dreams are a peculiar phenomenon—they say everyone has them. Even our dog Sadie would yap and attempt to run in her sleep as if she were chasing something.  For the most part I seldom recall my nightly escapades the next morning. When I do, they often seem to reflect either my greatest fears or deepest desires—sometimes both.

Do they mean anything, or are they just the result of a mind left unattended?

Photo credit: zeitfaenger.at / Foter / CC BY

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6 thoughts on “A Mind Unattended

  1. Good post, Gene! If I may attempt to answer your last question, I have noticed that whenever I don’t allow myself the time to really think and work through “stuff”, it will come out somehow in my dreams. I agree with your thoughts that they often have to do with our greatest fears, desires and a mind left unattended.

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    • I believe you’re correct Debbie. Emotions always seem to find a way to release themselves and what better time than when we’re asleep and unable to control them. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gene, I can see why you remember that particular one. Whenever I dream about a relative who has already gone before me, I find myself thinking about them throughout the day. I think dreams can occasionally be messages of encouragement, direction, or warning. But this is probably not normative, and like miracles, they happen according to God’s will and not ours.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

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  3. What a vivid dream, Gene. I’ve had some crazy ones, like trying to land an F-15 in the middle of a downtown. Yeah, I’m not sure where that one came from. But I had one dream once that I believe was an answer to a prayer I’d been asking God about. It was kind of crazy, but when I asked God for the interpretation, He gave it. Granted this doesn’t happen very often. Usually, my dreams are my mind trying to work out things happening in my life, or in my days.

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    • Yes Jeanne I think you are correct, dreams are often events when our minds sort out our fears or experiences, but I also wouldn’t rule out responses from God Himself.
      In this case I know much of where the content came from. A son killed on a mission trip and a desire to see what he’s doing now. A granddaughter who died at birth, the Mexican celebration of St John the Baptist day, cherished family picnics from my youth, a much loved family pet now gone, and much more. All things I don’t really think about but are always in the back of my mind.
      Thanks Jeanne….an F-15?

      Liked by 1 person

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