How is the world dreaming these days? My dreams are often a reflection of my state of mind. Lately, of course, COVID-19 is on my mind.
A couple of nights ago – after what seemed like hours of angst – I finally, dozed off. And then ...
I was in the backyard of the home where Michael and I had raised the kids ... with Mike, the kids and one of my sisters ... everyone as young as they were ... back then. Suddenly, as five or six people – I did not know – arrived carrying birthday presents for my sister … I noticed a medium-size black bear. From that moment on, I was terrified. Yet everyone else – family and strangers – seemed fine with it. I insisted that we move the party into the house away from the bear – but, even then, I didn't feel safe.
And I said to the strangers: “I think, you people brought that bear to my house.” Immediately, I felt embarrassed, as if I was disrespecting the bear – to say nothing of the guests. And my sister said: “Relax, it's not as if we've never had a bear in the house before.” She was right ... well, sort of right.
And I clarified her remark : “That was just one of Grandma's stories. A bear got into her house when she was a girl and carried off one of her brothers.” And then I noticed ... Michael wasn't there.
Oh-my-gawd, where is Michael. Petrified ... I started to search for him ... going through every room in the house, until I concluded that I would have to look for him outside.
“Oh-my-gawd,” I gasped aloud: “This is a nightmare” ... and then ... I woke up ... and, instantly felt a balm of relief wash over me ... much like Goldilocks, must have felt, I'm sure, waking in Baby Bear's bed to discover Papa Bear glowering down at her – before making her hasty escape from that fairy tale.
A strange dream ... in a strange time ... tinged with disturbing headlines, family history and lore and the ever-present wish that all-will-be-well, when we awaken from our nightmare.
Note: (This is not part of the prose - just posted for those who might be interested in a bit of P.E.I. history.) My Grandmother grew up at the turn of the 20th century on Prince Edward Island – and what a tough coming-of-age it was. Though, there never was an actual bear in her house, her stories of that time, were filled with – almost unimaginable tribulations – terrible diseases that ravaged communities (between barn dances and strawberry socials). She, herself, had her tonsils removed, while lying on her family's kitchen table, anesthetized with a few gulps of spirits that her parents kept at the back of the cupboard for 'emergencies'. When she was 10, her father was killed, before her eyes, when the blade of the axe he was using to chop wood, flew off and hit him. Interestingly, her family was near-neighbours of Lucy Maud Montgomery, writer of the Anne of Green Gables books ... idyllic stories of life on 'The Island' – back then – which, to hear my Grandmother tell it: had a bit of fairy tale pixie dust, added to the pages … because … in those days … for, almost all ordinary folk … life was very, very hard … almost all of the time.
photo: Vera May Campbell - circa 1915.
©2020 Wendy Bourke.
©2020 Wendy Bourke.