I’m not alone.
We’re driving in the desert and I pass, on my right, a canyon that has been familiar to me since my youth. I used to hike there. Once, I made it as far as a cave where pilgrims gathered. I woke up before I learned what we were all waiting for.
In the dream — in this dream — I recognize the canyon but it doesn’t have the same irresistible pull. A meteorite has fallen to earth and we’re heading for the crater. We saw it arc across the sky, a frothy, steamy confection about as menacing as a giant bon bon. Now a white fog rises just beyond the next crest. We’re walking now, climbing, and when we get beyond the crest all we see is a black smoking crater. No big deal. I wake up wondering how much radiation I’ve absorbed.
But then, later, I remember the canyon, and how long it’s been since I’ve dreamed of it. Invariably it’s evening in the dream and the canyon is north by northwest. I have to hike down before the trail rises. A nagging curiosity draws me onward, that and a feeling of comfort. The hike is never exhausting.
I don’t get many chances to visit the canyon. This time, it took a comet crashing down to divert my attention. But it’s not like that at all, no feeling of division, of wishing part of me could hike the canyon while the other part checked out the cool crater. This time the canyon was something from my youth which I had set aside.
Only when I woke up did the curiosity return.