Strange Dreams

Strange dreams

We awake atop the bluffs at Luffenholz Beach, just north of Arcata, just north of Moonstone Beach. Ven, Raquel and I decided to camp in a tent. The sounds and smells were heightened all night. I didn’t get cold until about 3:00 a.m., when the wind switched directions, became a gale.

Upon awakening, stillness. My tights had shimmied down, my socks loose like fins, all night I felt like a sardine. As it got progressively colder, Ven and Raquel immersed themselves into their goose down sleeping bags. I, on the other hand, froze. I’ve had to urinate since half way into the night.

I do so now, then jump back into my bag as the other two rouse.

We sit up, warmed by the sun, peeling off clothes, and talk about the night.

“Did anybody dream?” Raquel asked. Her thick hair sticks in all different directions.

We’d all had strange dreams.

“In my dream,” I said, “I was a lot younger, running though fields. There’s a tent, I’m supposed to meet friends. But when I go inside, I don’t recognize anybody. They’re all strangers. Then it becomes a stream, present day. I’m floating down a gentle current, laying back in a canoe, staring at big, puffy clouds.”

“Sounds lovely,” Raquel muses, laying back against the tent floor.

“Sounds hallucinatory?” Ven said. “Maybe influenced by our talk of L.S.D. yesterday?”

“Yeah,” I agree. “Could be.” We’d actually talked about the psychoactive properties of peyote. Ven is reading a book about medicine men, shamans, and rituals that use hallucinogens for purposes of having visions.

Raquel’s dream was about a turtle thrown from a truck. The whole dream focused on that one course of action. “It represented my feelings,” she said.

I didn’t follow. “How do you figure?” I asked.

“Well, you guys are going to stay in Humboldt.” She motioned out toward the land where our tent sits, on a promontory separating the beaches of Luffenholz and Moonstone. “On the other hand, I return to the madness known as Manhattan.”

“Ah,” Ven sighed, nodded, as if he understood. I was still unsure.

There was a sad pause, crows cawed. The swells of the Pacific whooshed.

“What was your dream, Ven?” I asked.

“It was too personal.”

“Too personal?” Raquel teased, elbowing him.

“No,” he shook his head, emphatic. “Graphic.” He blushed, twisting the ends of his glimmering long hair.

The early morning sun creates a hazy filter. It is the celestial being of worship. A powerful source of warmth and light. The city feels light years away. In these surroundings, one is reminded of the days before urban communities existed, when befriending cultures worlds’ apart was not uncommon.

When we arrived in Arcata yesterday, we went to Luffenholz Beach to explore. It was low tide and we saw starfish hugging a rock, their home. We saw barnacles and other sea creatures that waited for the salty brine they depend on to eat, sleep and behave. We looked at rocks: moon gems. They seemed pearly, diffused, and ancient.

There is a sanctity here, aligned with eternity. Feels raw, so uncommon. As we walked on the beach, I wondered, why do we always turn to people for these needs? There is something about humans being from this- their natural composition, their inner beauty. But amidst the fierce roar of the ocean’s floor, the senses overload.  I feel a humble desire to be synonymous with the love of the beach for the waves, the sun for the dew, the birds for the new day.

“Anyone for coffee?” Raquel wonders.

I nod. Rub my eyes.

“Wildflower Café it is,” Ven says.

11 thoughts on “Strange Dreams

  1. Angela

    I am so appreciative of your beach stories these days, as I navigate through my first (entire) NY winter. I really loved this one – the closeness of friends, the sharing of dreams and experiences, nature. I particularly enjoyed the dream of the narrator – the stream of life consciousness is what it invoked for me. And my word for today is “promontory.” 🙂 Your stories are so compelling, Robert – this one really made me hungry for more. I am wondering which ones you are fleshing out that I will get to enjoy in their entirety!

    Reply
  2. david

    Sun’s coming up. like a big bald head. poking up over the grocery store. it’s sharkey’s day. it’s sharkey’s day today. sharkey wakes up and sharkey says: there was this man… and there was this
    …and if only I could remember these dreams… I know they’re trying to tell me…something. ooooeee.
    strange dreams, strange dreams

    Reply
  3. Shari

    I loved this, and feel the same wondrous senses often when I am in nature (not necessarily camping, mind you!). Such an exotic setting, filled with the camaraderie of intimate friends. I wanted to see where this is headed, what sort of conflict is building (is there more than Raquel’s eventual departure?) Also, I wanted to get a better glimpse of this narrator person. Are you planning to work on this more? Continue? I sure hope so.

    Reply
  4. Don

    I visited Arcata once and LOVED it! The Redwoods in the backdrop, these beaches that you mention, the sleepy yet buzzing town. And that place with the hot tubs…cafe…name eludes me. Thanks for re-visiting those memories/

    Reply
  5. carolyn

    Your writing always seems to transport me to the place where it takes place. I love that about your language on paper. I get the same sensation as moving into a 3-D movie where I feel like I am listening intently to the conversation that is taking place next to me rather than being in the one going on in front of me.

    Reply
  6. Andrea

    I love this story. Your description of the beach and the overwhelming sense of the ocean. It’s so real it is grounding.

    Reply
  7. Theo

    I have been to this knoll between Luffenholz and Moonstone. It is gorgeous, those huge boulders on the beach, and the vast ruggedness of the windswept forest path that leads down to the beach area. I like these characters you describe, feel as if they are friends of mine, too.

    Reply
  8. Beverly

    Your writing has taken me on yet another thrilling ride. Who needs adventure parks! I live this through your daily blog. Lovely setting, so different than my own concrete jungle. Thanks for this!

    Reply
  9. Betsy

    Can we have the reunion at this place? 🙂 Your words are so beautiful and your description of relationship is especially touching. Wonderful!

    Reply

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