“Mama, sometimes I dream something that happens in real life.”
“Really?” I don’t tell him then, but this has happened to me, too. A room, a rug, a place—snippets of subconscious that come to life at a later date. A flicker of recognition, a feeling of déjà vu. Where have I seen this before? Oh, yeah. In a dream.
Just the other night I dreamed that a friend lent us her vacation house for the weekend. On the outside, a completely ordinary looking suburban home. In the back, however, a screened porch looked out onto a small beach, little waves lapping at a shore just inches away from the house in that skewed distance of dreams.
I dreamed—dream—of a house by the water, and here was a house by the water. Only you’d never know it. I never knew it. In my dream, I knew this person, even knew of the house, but it wasn’t until I was in it that I realized it was on the water. It was there the whole time, and I never knew how close it was. How close I was.
Days later, back in reality, it was a long, dreary Saturday. Summer days running together, nerves and patience running thin. Heavy air, dark moods, thunderclouds looming. Someone remembered hearing about a secret swimming spot. Should we go? Should we try?
Rain misted the windshield as we drove north, the car loaded with inflatable tubes. We followed the texted directions to the best of our ability. This exit? The next? Left? Into a cornfield? They must have meant right. Past a farm, down a winding lane. Is this a two-lane road? Was that thunder? Should we turn back? We’ve come this far.
Oh, look. There’s the parking lot. Yes, this is it. It’s stopped raining. Down this path. There’s the river! Look at that bridge! This is cool. I can’t believe we never knew about this. It’s so close. And we didn’t even realize.
The skies opened and the rain pelted down. The warm rain and the heavy air and the cold river combined to create an otherworldly mist. It surrounded us as we waded knee-deep into the leg-numbing water. It drifted past as we launched our tubes into the current. “Oh, well, we’re already wet, right?”
“Mom, I call this place the Mystical Forest. We are explorers.”
We drifted downstream, past fallen logs and mossy banks, narrow tree trunks stalking towards the stormy sky. We got out only when we heard the rumble of thunder, taking cover under the open hatchback, gobbling pretzels and giggling.
When the downpour passed, we waded back in. Drifting, twisting, turning, tipping, then striding back upstream to do it again. Intrepid explorers. Seeking adventures, weathering the storms, living our dreams.