At the Doorway of Dreaming

Have you forgotten, as you grew, how to dream?

Perhaps you lost your ability to bring the glimmers at the corners of your eyes into focus. The peripheral plane of an unseen universe.

When we are children, everything unknown is a marvel. Portals of prisms caught in spiderwebs at sunset, sun refracting through the jeweled glass of a dragonfly wing. Can you recall how shapes had assembled in the static dark of your bedroom? How there was surely a portal hidden beneath your bed, or deep in the closet. The bedroom door propped open, a flood of warm hallway light spilling in, to combat the inky void gathering behind it.

Doorways opened for us in every pocket of the world. The kitchen table turned into a house; the branches of a tree, a lookout tower; a bathtub, Atlantis. These are the kinds of places that only children care to transform. We spun the simplest things into whatever we wished for. Animals acted as secret messengers, sticks grew into swords, and garden-hose water became a powerful potion when mixed with leaves and dirt.

As we grow up and learn more about the world we live in, that newfound knowledge often comes with a heavy price. Every new weight pulls the balloon of our childhood downward until we are sinking, no longer reaching for an open and endless sky. It seems that one day, our ability to pass through the doorway of our dreams vanishes and we are no longer able to imagine a magical world beyond, or within.

I promise you, the glimmers at the corners of your eyes are still there, the pathway to dreaming is still hidden on the edges of life. You can find your way back. When my heart was too heavy to carry through the doorway of dreaming, I closed my eyes and remembered what it was like to be free. Weightless with the creaking momentum of a playground swing set. Back held straight, to look upwards at the clouds. I felt like I could fly if I only swung harder.

I remembered the comfort of many popsicle-stained, cut-grass July afternoons. Air so thick I swore I could slice it- as if other realities were waiting to be served on a paper plate, smeared with colorful frosting, a birthday cake multiverse. The quiet rumble of drying laundry, the sting of a freshly skinned knee. My mother’s voice in the distance called me to dinner just as the street lights flickered on around me, signaling me home with a gentle spell that only she knew how to cast. A perfume of asphalt, chlorine, and backyard blackberry lulled me into an enchanted, golden sleep that I have never known since.

Most of all, I remember when the weight of life was already beginning to take hold. Pulling at my hems, tangling itself in my hair. It filled my throat and squeezed away the words always brimming in my chest. I was a wild creature, and I still knew how to let go. Sneaking away at night while my family slept, running along a well-worn path in the woods I had known all my life.

As I ran away into the yawning mouth of a dark forest, I let go of the weight of a sorrow too heavy for the age of fifteen. I let them lift away on the conjured wind of my running. Dark ribbons, unspooling from outstretched thorn-scratched limbs, floating off into the skyline.

Hurtling over a broken fence, emerging fierce into my moonlit field, bathed in dark blue shadows. The sky stung bright with stars and pollen, dandelion seeds floating on the breeze. Soft mooing from sleepy cows echoed around my hiding place in a patch of tall grass. I lay down, the heaviness gone, imagining a stairway with an open door to a lush, twilight kingdom filled with benevolent magic and endless peace where flowers rose tall and bloomed around me, bending with the wind.

In these memories, I saw a way to let go of my burdens, to escape from the concrete hardening around my feet. I remembered who I am without the weight of the world. I am the keeper and caretaker of my doors to anywhere, opening them up for you if you need to escape, too.

Through art, we can all remember how to dream.

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