Container dream

I dream I am at a concert in a park. Or some very big event. With my significant other. It is a beautiful day, the sun is shining, the grass is green, there are rolling hills and trees. People are arriving.

There is a gasp of horror. There is a large box, like the hold of a ship. We hurry to look in: there are three open containers down inside, tops removed. They are full of children. Smuggled? Immigrants? The containers are surrounded by water. My significant other and I drop our things and climb down the long hold ladder into the water, which is cold, filthy, and comes up to my thighs. I’ve kicked off my sandals. We are wading to the containers. An ICE agent in a black uniform, bullet proof vest, belt with tools and guns, and riot helmet, blocks me and says, “You have to be wearing shoes to help.” He is handing out plastic stretchers. He can’t see my feet. Yes, I know it’s dangerous and my feet could get cut, but this is probably sewage and dangerous even with shoes. We should really be in hazmat gear but the kids could be dying. I just look at him, silent, and he hands me a stretcher.

Enough people have come forward, into the water, that all the kids have been placed in one of the containers. None of them are dead. They are being lifted out one by one, to ambulances. Now the hold is surrounded by rubberneckers. I climb out and find my purse and camera and shoes. I am grateful no opportunist has stolen them. The ICE agents are telling people to back off and give them room to work. The news crews are there and a Washington State politician says, “This is Washington State, we will take care of these children, we will not see them separated and incarcerated, I will see that they are returned to their parents.” Good luck, I think, but at least there are tons of witnesses and cameras and news crews.

I need to find somewhere to scrub my legs down with soap and to find my significant other. It’s getting more crowded.

I wake up.

And what I notice is that the water did not stink and was not full of lumps of floating excrement. As I wake I hope that I won’t catch something horrible and die….usually my dreams have full sound, color and smells too. I wonder where the children were from, and why, and whether they had some sort of sanitation….

Love and self

When you love someone, do you lose your self?

I think that is the tricky bit about love. When you fall for someone else, do you fall or do you hold on to yourself? Where is that boundary?

I am in a flirtation. I am very interested in a person. I am interested in what he says and what he is interested in. I am learning quite a bit about some topics that really, have not been on my radar. I also often disagree quite strongly in the realm of politics. And I don’t really care that our politics are just about opposite ends of the spectrum.

I am interested in where we meet and where we don’t meet. Where we agree and where we very strongly disagree and privately think that the other person needs their head examined. I am not falling too far into the “really this person thinks like I do, they just won’t admit it” trap. Well, perhaps I am. Perhaps that is what love is: when we project part of our self and the ideal part of ourself on to the other person. They reflect and occupy some part of our ideal. That does not mean that they ARE our ideal or that they ARE the projection.

In this particular flirtation, he does not seem interested in much of what I am interested in. Well, particularly poetry. Occasionally this bothers me but mostly I shake it off. I am hoping that I have reached the age and level of cynicism where I do not expect the other person to like everything I like, to agree with what I say, to have the same ideals or ideas. I am watching myself and wondering how much of what I like in him is him and how much is my projection. Don’t know yet. The mind is a peculiar place. So is the heart.

But …. I am feeling much happier about holding on to myself at the same time as I fall and crush. I look at what he likes and wants but I also hold what I like and want. I am trying to give them equal weight, the needs and wants and desires of the two people present.

Hold and fall, at the same time.

The picture is of an etching by my mother, Helen Burling Ottaway.

Shake it off.

Also published on everything2.com