Our dreams confirm our reality.
|I long for perfection. It shows itself in glimpses: the Starry Night by Van Gogh, the smell of wooden furniture, the breeze in a rainstorm. Perfection exists in symmetry, and the puzzle of how well the reflection copies the original. If I considered only the unchanging to be perfect, how paltry would my vision be, for it comes from the busy fireflies on Independence Day, the dance of sparks about a bonfire, the crunch of fallen leaves underfoot. |
The best definition of perfection comes from a Richard Bach book called Illusions.
“I’m not sure I want to be perfect and finished. Talk about boredom.”
“Look at the sky,” he said, and it was such a quick subject change that I looked at the sky. There was some broken cirrus, way up high, the first bit of moonlight silvering the edges.
“Pretty sky,” I said.
“Is it a perfect sky?”
“Well, it’s always a perfect sky, Don.”
“Are you telling me that even though it’s changing every second, the sky is always a perfect sky?”
Yes. Yes, it is.
I’ve owned a copy of Illusions for thirty-five plus years. As much as the preceding passage strikes me, I still view perfection as static, a state that, when achieved, can only be lessened by change. Yet the colors of the hummingbird or the height of the wisteria matter. It is our vision, the content of our mindscape, that determines our dreams. My vision of perfection is a hodgepodge of rocking chairs and emerald rings, tubular bells and fireworks, road trips and afternoon naps. Achieving my goal of the ideal is an impossibility. The quantity of moments, places, memories, and people is titanic, far too great to imagine in one image.
I think about sitting in my mum’s garden. The sun is bright, but not blinding, and the air smells of pine needles. The patio tile is warm beneath my feet. I have discarded my flip-flops, and one is pointed towards me, the other on its side. My pony tail is high and falls to the bottom of my shoulder blades.
This day never happened. I had down-to-my-tailbone long hair as a girl, and when I was thirteen, my sister had it all cut off. It’s been short ever since. The rest—patio tiles, pine trees, the garden—featured in my childhood. Bits of a lawn and strawberry bushes are in the fantasy too, but those are from my sister’s last house, not my childhood.
Though piecemeal, this is true. It is an ideal, a story I tell myself, a dream of better things. I need the dream to remind me of the reality. There can be warm days and sunshine, pine trees and hydrangeas, bare feet and sundresses. Peace exists, as does beauty. I refuse to become careworn when I can be carefree.
I smile, I dance, I sing. I cannot go a day without laughter any more than I could survive without oxygen. I dream of better things, but create them as well. Meals shared with others, late night trips to movies with my kids, long drives with my husband. I do more than imagine and create.
I live the dream.