I took this picture two months ago as we were driving to a B&B. Our friends, Mary and George, treated us to a long weekend to celebrate our wedding anniversaries. We both were married in the same year, a few months apart. This is the second time we have had a joint celebration. It was a fun time.
Last night, or rather this morning, I had a dream that bothered me. In the dream I am back in the army, stationed somewhere in Europe (Germany?). I am part of a squad that is working in a bullpen in an office building. We are working with computers, doing something that is secret. I don’t know the rest of my squad very well, but we get along.
One day a new commanding officer comes in to address us. He tells us that our operation is going to be moved to a new location back in the U.S. We have two weeks to pack up all of our paper printouts, files, equipment, and personal belongings for the move. So, we start the process of packing everything.
First, we start dismantling the computer equipment and peripherals. A crew from somewhere else comes in to pack up the hardware and prepare it for shipping. We start packing up all of the accumulated printouts, manuals, and other paperwork that the army accumulates. All of this is packed in banker boxes and sealed.
Meanwhile, we are told that we have to move out of our barracks. We each have one cardboard box in which to pack our clothes and personal effects. We will move into our near empty bullpen where we will be issued a blanket and will sleep on the floor among all of the boxes that are awaiting shipment. A few of us build a cubicle of boxes in which we sleep.
One day, when everything had been packed, we are marched out into the countryside where we are put to work clearing brush from drainage ditches. When we returned to our office at the end of the day, we showered and went to sleep on the floor immediately.
My sleep was restless. I thought that I heard people moving around, stepping over us, and things being moved, but I was too tired to fully wake up.
When I woke up the next morning all of the boxes and all of the people with whom I worked were gone. My box of clothes and belongings were gone; even my blanket was gone. I was just there in my skivvies. I left the empty bullpen area and went down a hall that had offices on each side. One door was open, so I looked in. There was a middle-aged woman in there, so I asked her where everything and everybody had gone. She appeared to only partially understand what I was saying and waved vaguely towards outside and said, “Gone.”
That’s when I woke up. Usually, after a dream that I remember, I reflect upon it and laugh. After all, those dreams are almost always absurd. But this time it was different. This morning I woke up feeling alone, abandoned, and sad.
Cindy, of course, is elated that I had feelings and was able to express them. She has always asked me what I felt, not what I thought. That’s her training as a counselor. But I quickly got past the feelings and started analyzing the dream.
For once I wasn’t befuddled by the dream. I am sure that is a metaphor for what is going on in the world, especially here in the U.S.A. The pandemic is forcing us to interact with, at best, small groups of people. We may not know them well because most of our interaction is through electronic methods. If we are actually with them, we are wearing masks. We may soon have a new leader who will give us new directions. What we do is simplistic in that we don’t do our tasks as we normally would, and we do fewer things, e.g. eat, sleep, perform tasks in limited ways. And some sad times we look around and the people we are in contact with get sick, are kept from us by quarantine, or die. Alone, abandoned, and sad.
Other things are going on as well. Race relations are getting worse; political campaigns are becoming more divisive; and relationships among countries are strained. You can probably come up with your own similarities, but it is my dream…and I wanted to share it.