I had a dream last night that I had died while dreaming. My dream began by wooing me into a medium unlimited by the problems of physical travel to a place twice better than real life. The location, a well-lit cave. How far above or below sea level I could not tell. I was certain gravity, air pressure, and the fresh air were identical to what I had always known. Away from an opening cum door was a natural pool with a rim of smooth boulders of fifteen metres in diameter and white sandy ground twice that size surrounding it.
The pool’s water was clear and crystal, revealing a variety of little tropical fish with sharp reflexes in sparse numbers and white sand that made it seem shallow. The pool reminded me of the upper section of my beloved River Ethiope, but the water was not flowing. Not a fountain or tributary in sight.
The vegetation was pop-tropical; short-trunk palm trees no taller than three metres and shrubs that looked like cocoyam but no grass. Figuring the source of the lighting was a wasteful exercise. It was located six metres high or higher and harsh to my eyes. Looking straight ahead and downwards in contrast was pleasant.
I could hear playing in the cave music spun by Jabig in the background. The tunes, new had the signature of DJ Jabig; an often aggressive but smooth and harmonious entrance of a new track while the expiring one clings on as it fades. His music is a melcine [medicine] for my soul.
The warm air held scents that chased each other in a continuous stream. The aroma of sweet berries lasted the longest, several minutes at a time. Roasted beef would arrive in short whiffs while fresh air came so timely, the other two scents were both welcome and tolerable. Once again, I remembered a barbecue by the River Ethiope in Eku, where fresh air was dominant with interrupting whiffs of roast meat and the plant, Queen of The Night.
Three women in their twenties were sitting on rocks opposite me across the pool. They were wearing bikinis and calm, perhaps free from worries. Another older lady was in the pool swimming. The ladies age, as older, I could only guess by the streaks of grey hair she had. The women were perhaps sisters. Round pretty faces, medium height, medium build, with flat tummies, shoulder length natural hair and fair African skin. The women knew I was there but ignored me. They were busy eating Suya, salad, Jollof rice and drinking from figure eight scooped out gourd with bamboo straws.
The lady in the water swam towards my end of the pool and smiled. The gap between her two front teeth and the pinkness of her lower lip reduced me to a very confused man and she probably knew it. I knew she knew.
“Hi, you alright?” she said.
“I am fine,” I said.
“Good. If you want anything, join us. Don’t be shy,” she said with a second smile, and I shivered.
The lady in the water soon swam away doing the breaststroke. In the middle of the pool, she did a slow energetic dive between four to six metres deep, then came up to the surface fast, gasping a little for air and showing her companions sand in her palm. The buoyancy experience in water does that to you.
The lucidity of the dream offered me the permission to adhere to certain beliefs. My people, the Urhobos, like most Southern Nigerian ethnicities, hold strong Christian and pre-Christian beliefs that eating in a dream is a bad omen, poison. The same is true for having sex in dreams, spiritual problems that linger. No romance with any of the ladies, nor eating the food available. I could enjoy the music of Jabig and make observations. This does not mean my sleeping body did not develop an edifice below my navel or saliva did not accrue in my mouth, but such is mere suspicion. I cannot prove it.
And I forbid myself to talk about the what-might-have-been issues.
A noise rumbled through the caves opening displacing the sunny tension free disposition on the ladies faces with one contorted with bulging eyes, opened mouths, and raised foreheads lines. I played the hero, shouting, “It’s all going to be all right. Let me check it out.” Then I headed to opening through a tunnel lit by sunlight onto view a panorama of trees, hills, and a beach below. A bomb landed a hundred metres in front me and went off. Then nothingness, total blankness. It was all over, no points of return workable or imaginable.
However, when I woke up this morning, and found that I was still alive, fresh, and sexy [testosterone defiance abounds!], I almost went unconscious again with the shock of surprise. My working perception of reality had to be reloaded similar to restarting a crashed compute password free. The interfaces of reality reality came back one by one. Recovery from unconsciousness I have tasted as pleasant, but not the permanent one in my dream. Sleep, ethanol induction, general anaesthetics, and super-high fevers I have awoken from, but waking seemed impossible with this dream. I have never suffered a knockout in all my many fights, and my youth is past.
Maybe my awakening is the harvest from many years ago of reciting Psalm 3 with constancy and in which verse 5 states, “I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.” Never underestimate the “Words” chanted as litanies within the collective unconscious of mankind. Their octaves might have something inexorable in them. It seemed the Lord had let me die in the dream as a discursive experience, but He kept me alive in life.
Or my intuition warning me against my easy forfeit of security and privilege for for dares and dangers. Should I have stayed inside the cave and enjoy? My intuition says I should have. Maybe it is time to enjoy life and relax, but I consider utterly mufugbenous. I did not ask for the spirit I was born with but I should explore ever more superior possibilities.
Taking stock, my experience has indicated more time for connubial activity, new works, good food, strong drink, funny friends, great books, exciting travels, amusing conversation, making babies, cool relaxation, satisfying music, cooking delicacies, visiting new places, writing petitions, crafting pieces, singing songs, inner development, and a lot more. Living is the march from memories of splendour to better ones. Or so we hope! Good is living enjoyed for the tongue that has experienced the bland taste of death and survives it. The aftertaste makes you want to live the enjoyable life… as if forever. After death, it’s finished without trace in ways we know it and there is no hindsight to it. Fact.
I am a stone rational person, and often appear heavy, because of how impersonal I can run my conversations or do my things. Right now, at worst, I am being non-rational. It might be easier to appreciate my story when you become rust dead in your dreams or have a near death experience in this life. Please eschew the experience; fears and fixations on mortality can be habit forming, I heard, and can somehow mimic the real thing. Otherwise, you can read Psalms for knowledge, fun, curiosity, box-ticking, daring, hope or even piety.
Enjoy, most appropriately!
Be good, not lucky
Please take a look at my musing, The Confessions of A Post-Impotent Guy. Cheers