Mountain Goat

I’ve been dreaming about mountains. Literal peaks of really tall, rock-strewn mountain ranges.

I’m either driving on roads cut as switchbacks into the sheer sides of a mountain, or hiking on steep dirt trails. Twice, I’ve dreamed that I can’t find my way back to the road to get home, and my children will be getting off the bus soon at home. Then, there’s panic.

It would be really easy to superimpose my dream consciousness on my real life and say something like, “The mountains represent the challenges we are currently facing with Jack.” Maybe that’s where the mountains of my dream landscape are originating, but I’m not entirely sure.

In these dreams, while the mountains are high and the trails are narrow and steep, they feel the way mountains have always felt to me—fresh and big and wholesome, maybe a little bit wild and scary, and completely not everyday life.

They are there in the periphery of my normal life, since I live surrounded by mountains. But when I actually spend time in them, mountains are a good escape.

In one of my dreams, I walked along a trail that meandered, criss-crossing a creek in a narrow valley deeply set between surrounding peaks. It was morning—misty and cool, and the sunlight backlit the sage and yarrow bordering the trail. I was alone.

Another dream featured my children running away from me on a vast slope of the foothills where we walked. They scattered and I couldn’t catch up to them. I called to them and the wind whipped my voice away. I felt slow.

Once I dreamed that when backpacking I spent the night in the waiting room of an orthodontist’s office set  high in the mountains. Because camping out at the Swiss chalet orthodontist is a perfectly normal thing to do in a dream.

And then last week, I dreamed I was driving to meet my family at a cabin in the mountains. As I drove, I looked at groups of cabins set in the valley below the road, and at the ones sprinkled on the hillsides. They were all huge. Billionaire magazine photo shoot, huge. I passed enormous log, shake, and stone vacation homes with four-car garages and private boat docks on the lake.

I noticed them in the way that I notice what starlets on the red carpet are wearing: they are nice to look at and vaguely interesting, but are you kidding me? And also, No.

So I drove my van along in my dream state, looking at cabins fit for the Kennedys, wondering where my family was. They couldn’t be waiting for me in this place. We are decidedly not the Kennedys.

I woke up feeling in my subconscious that just around the bend in the dirt road, I would find a squatty, 1960’s era well-worn cabin with a screened-in porch and campy, old-school cabin decor. I surfaced from the dream like a bubble from a lake, feeling that this is where my family would be: Jack dragging a shop vac through the dirt, Charlie scaling hillsides with his Nerf gun, Henry and Truman shooting hoops. And Dutch holding it all together.




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