They had eaten and had the Discussion as the evening darkness rolled in. Everyone was tired. They were preparing themselves for sleep when Pron approach Emru.
“I don’t feel settled. My arm still feels as if it belongs to someone else. The vibrations are disturbing me.”
Emru looked into Pron’s eyes and could sense sorrow and worry. “I’m not settled, either. Sleep will help us. Would you like to sit with me, first?”
Pron nodded. They put their sleeping pads next to each other and sat down, cross-legged, facing one another. Emru said, “the most painful part was seeing the eyes of that man just as he was starting to swing his arm. So much turmoil and rage. He seemed so unable to identify all of his feelings and to manage them. He was more willing to harm me than to do that. I knew that this woman wasn’t just facing one moment, but a lifetime where harming her was more acceptable than sorting out that turmoil.”
Pron was quiet. This was what had been so difficult to expel. That inner turmoil which somehow swirled into a vortex of intensity over applying for a new chair. How that intensity was so unbearable that it was easier and more comfortable to transmit that energy at someone else than to unwind the vortex. What a draining way to live. “All that internal pressure made my body hurt. My shoulders and hips feel so contracted that I can barely move. My chest feels so tight that I’m not breathing well.”
The others had started to listen, after they noticed Emru and Pron sitting. When Pron mentioned all this tension in his body, they were all silently noting that they felt the same way. It had dissipated a bit via the Discussion, but they could still feel it.
As they were focusing their awareness on this, Emru reached out to Pron’s gesturing for Pron’s hand. Pron put their hand in Emru’s. Emru placed that hand where the bottle had impacted their forehead. It only took a moment before they were both crying.
Rora looked around to see how the others were responding to Emru and Pron. Their eyes were fixated on them with a bit of longing. Rosa realized that they all might benefit from touching. Their bodies were still holding some of the tension from the Past. The Discussion hadn’t been enough to restore the sense of connection which allowed everyone to flow more freely. “I would like to make a suggestion.”
Everyone turned to Rora, in anticipation. “How about we all sleep next to someone tonight? It might help us be more prepared for Calling Up the Past again.”
Small, sweet smiles of relief appeared on all the weary faces. They all knew that contact would make them feel better. Somehow, having been in the Past had made them forget, temporarily.
Pron and Emru remained where they were as the rest of the group gathered themselves together. They all came closer and laid their bedding down next to each other in twos and threes and one group of four, snuggling into a good night’s sleep.
That night, Prada had a dream. In the morning, as everyone was waking, he shared the dream while they were all still lying down and could better connect to the dream experience:
A friend from far away is visiting me. We decide to drive out of this city where I live and along the shore of an ocean. After an hour or so, we stop at a visitor station where there is a small cafe and chairs to look out over the water. This friend is somewhat aloof, talks to other people and sits at a table with a mother and child. I sits at a different table with someone else. We all eat pancakes while looking out over the ocean and watching people swim and play.
We get back in the car and drive further down the shore line, until we come to a place where the forest meets the beach. The road doesn’t go any further. It doesn’t seem like anyone has been here in a very long time.
Curious, we get out of the car and walk along a vague pathway into the woods, where we come upon an abandoned building. It is somewhat grand. Especially given that there is nothing else around. It has a stone foundation and brick walls. It is four stories high. As you approach it, it has a concave shape, with entrance doors at the center and two wings spreading out to either side. Inside, there is a large open space leading to a giant glass wall on the other side. We can see the ocean through it.
When we walk through the doors, we step into sand. Waves are splashing about 100 feet away. Our nostrils are filled with that salty, energized smell that is unique to an ocean’s edge; that place where the water churns the land and constant transformation is underway. The warm sand caresses our feet. The sun seeps into their skin, inviting us to rest.
We walk a few steps toward the waves, sit down in the sand and look out over the water in awe of the vastness. Eventually, we stretch out and take a nap. My friend’s aloofness is gone after we nap. We get up and walk hand-in-hand toward the water.
Later, after walking for a while, we realize that we want to stay here rather than return to the city. We head back into the building. It is structurally sound. There is no electricity, but if we clean things up, it will be fine. So, we start clearing rubble and looking for tools to clean with. We find a storage closet with brooms and mops and cleaning supplies and set to it.
After a few hours, the lobby is clear and sparkling clean and we’ve prepared one bedroom. We had to toss out the mattress, so we moved the bed frame to another room and would sleep on the floor, but it would do. There was a bathroom with a composting toilet, so we had gathered small twigs and leaves into a box next to it. Most amazingly, there was running water in the bathroom sink.
We made a fire at the beach and fished for dinner, with poles we found in a room at the end of the building. We ate and talked until we were ready to go in to sleep.
The next morning, we woke up feeling quite happy. We talked about cleaning up the rest of the building and inviting others to come stay here. We would need supplies and some furnishings, but it could work. It had rustic charm and it was so peaceful.
We made a list of things to do and to get. We went back to the car, to get ready to leave. I was writing about our night here and our vision for this place, preparing to post it for our friends to see. Just before posting, I looked up to take a picture of the building. As I did, I saw the building in full repair, bustling with people and something didn’t feel right.
I changed the head line on my posting to “Would you? If you could?”
I realized that it wouldn’t be the same peaceful place it is now, if we had all these people coming here all the time. The forest and the beach would be changed. I felt sad and remorseful.
Then I woke up.
The group absorbed this dream as, one by one, they clambered up to start the day. They gathered up bedding, walked off to relieve themselves, prepared breakfast and sat down to eat. They weaved in and out of each others’ paths and did tasks together with warmth and delight. Sleeping next to each other had been just what they needed.
During breakfast, they chatted idly for a while, but all conversations seemed to lead back to the dream the Pada had shared. They had so many questions: Why was the friend so aloof? Why did they eat with other people at the rest stop? Why had the building been built there? Why had it been abandoned? Why did napping on the beach there end his friend’s aloofness? If the building was there and could be used, why did Prada feel so sad and remorseful about that? What would happen to the beach and the forest? Had it happened before?
At one point, they realized they were all very curious about this dream. It felt compelling to explore it; relevant to the explorations of their trek. Upon surveying the group, they all agreed that they would postpone the next Calling and spend today contemplating this dream. The Grounders seemed particularly pleased with this decision. It gave them more time to recharge. So, it was decided. Today, they would Delve into a dream.