I dreamt about my dog in the car and woke up missing her with a strong ache in my chest. Missing her breathy pants and gentle eyes. Missing her happy tail that would wag when she caught sight of family. It’s funny how dreams take me to places I don’t want to be, how try as I might, I cannot get rid of my honest longings. I try to forget during the day and I drive out my wandering thoughts. I try to look out the window at the great plains and brilliant rocks and look ahead. I keep telling myself I am happy and nothing else. But where my mind is acquainted with night, I am taken back to where and what I want to–but am terribly afraid I’ll–forget. I am taken back into the arms of those I love, back to the joy I feel beside my dog… and I wake up feeling displaced, like I’m somewhere wrong, somewhere I shouldn’t be… my mind back home and my body elsewhere, two parts tugging and fighting until my eyes and cheeks feel wet and all joy has subsided even if only for the moment. And I remember who and what I miss and where I really want to be but I know I cannot. I try to forget… but my dreams won’t let me.
I just saw him. I just saw her. I just saw my dog. They were all so close, within my reach, and I felt as if I were back home.
My dreams are not vivid, and I don’t remember much of the details. I simply know I was where I felt I was supposed to be, and in my waking moments, I was fighting to stay asleep.
It’s easy to distract myself while I am awake; the sights and surroundings are beautiful and I am always moving. Everything is moving. The water flows, the clouds drift, even the trees don’t stay still. I can forget California; in fact, it does not feel as if I have left. I know in my head I will not return, but in my heart, I don’t know what true moving looks like. It does not look like the gently stirring leaves. It does not look like white water rushing against rocks. What does moving look like?
When I close my eyes, my mind finds its way back home. It swims against the Colorado current, bracing solid streams, travels weary mountain peaks and paths, camping in the dry lands of Utah where the air is so thick and heavy my skin is always weeping, searching the Arizona canyons, its brilliant red rocks, to walk the lonely Nevada roads where the lights are bright and the night, awake, to distract from the emptiness inside… back home to a little garage in California where a sweaty dog awaits and where the school, a bike ride away, sits and waits, also, to be filled with the familiar faces that autumn will bring. Back home where everything waits because my mind knows well where it belongs.
These are the realities I am scratching out into a journal as the car continues to move and roll and bump along the roads to a new place. Eventually I will call that place home, this I know, but for now, my mind knows better.