I dreamed last night that I was escorted through the ages by a robotic arm; it had swooped down from the sky, grabbed my elbow and off we went on a trip through time.
Nothing much has changed. Man is still an inherently violent beast. That is what the arm said to me in its mechanical voice. I nodded my head in agreement and my hair whipped around my face as we flew faster and faster, speeding over the dark ages and the middle ages and Victorian times. We were not going in order. I saw a ship from the Spanish Armada minutes before a dinosaur appeared in my peripheral vision. I mentioned this to the arm.
Time is static. Everything exists together. Your mind can only see what is real in your present time, though. Tonight. Tonight, you see it all.
Eventually we landed upon the modern day world and my host began to weep. So sad, so sad, he kept sobbing. I didn't know that mechanical arms could feel emotions, let alone sob like a hurt child. Then again, I thought to myself, this whole thing is sort of odd. I mean, a flying arm?
As always, I was aware that I was dreaming but I thought perhaps there was more to this dream than just random images from the crap-heap in the back of my mind. I prodded the arm to keep going, before I could wake up and not find out the meaning of all this.
The arm let go of me. Dropped me, just like that.
I fell through a cyclone of time, whirled around and around with cavemen and explorers and Confederate soldiers and Charles Lindbergh. As I got closer to the bottom of my fall, I came upon present times and present people and a dank, rancid smell overpowered my senses. My eyes began to water. My skin broke out in ugly, red hives. Smoke filled the cyclone, smoke that smelled like those stink bombs we used to light off as children, and I was instantly reminded of the day that Joey Manning punched me in the jaw for no reason. The stench became harder to take; I saw tanks and planes and shells of bombed out buildings as I sunk faster and faster. The cyclone became tighter, I could barely fit in its center anymore and I struggled to wake myself up.
The cyclone changed. No longer a lethal combination of time and space and all that existed in the world, it took on a shape. A face. A large, looming face with an open mouth and wild eyes. In those eyes I saw everything. The World Trade Center and Arafat and Saddam and lost children, begging for their lives. I didn't see those things exactly, but they were there. I knew they were there. I screamed, a scream so loud I'm sure that it woke every other person who was dreaming at the same time - a scream they heard in their own nightmare worlds that forced them to wake in a cold sweat - and I sat up in my own bed, my own world, breathing heavily and grabbing blindly for the bottle of water on my nightstand.
I didn't feel sad. I didn't feel scared. I was just left with the thought that no matter how ugly and fearful the world has become, no matter how many wars this earth has seen, how many tortures and killings and plane crashes, there was one thing that remained consistently beautiful during my trip through the cyclone of the ages.
I got up out of bed and walked outside. The stars, the moon, the trees. The gardenias and sunflowers. I walked through the yard, my mind still in a dream state, unsure of whether this was part of a dream or real.
The crickets and cicadas. The birds. Squirrels. Clouds and green grass and water trickling from a sprinkler.
None of these things know. The world could fall apart around them and they would just keep on being beautiful and unaware.
No matter what I read in the news every morning, no matter what is happening in my own city or a city an ocean away, no matter how much I am constantly barraged by images of despair and hopelessness, I can still walk outside and steal a few moments of pleasure and beauty. I am somewhere else when I am staring at the night sky. I am lost in a place that knows no sadness.