Cloud Country

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Temple Cloud is an English village within the Chew Valley near Bath.  I have never been there.
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I once dreamt of my gallerist, whose face, upon giving me a tour of her new house, became covered with patches of red moss, while her lashes became heavy with long stringy buds.  More recently I dreamt of making sculptures out of clear jell-o that encased bronze and wooden objects in big wobbly blocks.  It was a stupid dream, and I would never make those in real life.
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I once boarded an empty train with a friend, and realizing our mistake soon enough, we tried to get out but we were locked in.  The train started moving and brought us to the far end of the tracks where all sleeping trains go to rest.  We rushed to find the driver, but there was none, so it seemed the train had moved by itself.  It was a stupid mistake, and I regret that it happened in real life.
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It is quite difficult to recall dreams, and more often than not, their images and narratives blur with memories so that reconstructing them becomes a slippery task of sorting truth and lies.   When we sleep, we fly off to cloud country, where our resting minds weave stories and invent landscapes, conjure super powers and strange creatures.   But as we wake, those dreams remain as clouds: you might see a rabbit taking shape while another sees a dinosaur but it’s still just water.
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Memory is a tricky thing.  When we recall we see things twice.  Once, we saw it for sure while the second time our eyes do a somersault and searches to retrieve a picture in our head.  Recalling dreams perhaps is seeing things from a farther remove.  The disquiet arises when we’ve seen it twice, and twice yet again.  I’ll see things for myself, and for you, too.  We’ll write our biographies as paperbacks, flimsy and full of flourish.
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People store keepsakes to remember certain things, particular events.  “As remembrance,” one often hears, but are memories really warm fuzzy things kept away in cedar boxes?  I wouldn’t want to assent to that and be called uncool, and I wonder whether a cold glassy brick would better represent the ambiguity of my memories. 
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Marco Polo, upon reaching the Southeast Asian islands is confronted with a one-horned creature with black hard skin and a head of bull.  A unicorn!, he pronounces, and proceeds to “correct” the long-held vision of the elegant white unicorn resting on a virgin’s lap, with the image of a muddy rhinoceros.
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The platypus is a duck that looks like a beaver and has tits to suckle its babes.  I can still recall the illustration from my worn (now lost) copy of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.  The hippogriff is an eagle with the rear legs of a horse.  It is a proud mythic creature much like its co-star you-know-who.
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Dreaming is an odd event. Our closed eyes move rapidly while our minds meander among the contrary stuff in our heads. We move about the stuff of life and fiction sometimes as if a train were propelling us forward, backward, upward; sometimes as if we were lucidly flying about ourselves. Astral projection may be the stuff of quacks but who’s to say dreaming isn’t real?
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On my last road trip, I drove through long tunnels into mountains, on old stone roads, rising several hundred vertical meters, going from summer to winter in a twenty minute drive.  Along the way, I passed what looked like a big cloud resting on the side of the road, but at closer look was a block of ice.  It sat there majestically on the mountainside not caring that June had come and that December was still very much far away.