Of Red Strings and Wings.

I had the craziest dream last night.

I dream a lot, often and always. 
They are typically lucid, colorful, and instinctual.
Sometimes, in the early waking hours after an intense night of dreaming, it’ll take me an hour of tossing and turning, or at least the consumption of an entire French press, to shake out the dreamscape from my lifescape. The dialogue in my head usually goes like this…

I’m sorry to break it to you, but all that time you just spent packing? Well, it didn’t really happen.

Shoot. Do I like Thomas Markham? I don’t think I like him, but he was just so nice to me in my dream.  I think I have a crush on him. What am I going to do when I see him in the lunch room today? Shoot, shoot, shoot.

No, you can’t levitate off the ground by inhaling.

No, Dad didn’t really come back for just 24-hours… but yeah, maybe you did actually get to see him last night.

You get the point. 

Last night started with a green parrot. Green, as I identified on my handy-dandy bird identification dream card, with a skinny red line marking across the entire upper reach of his wing span… yellow dots to accent, and a bit of faded white between the red and the rest of it’s green body.

I knew the bird was a sign, because I had already dreamed about him earlier… not on some other night, but within the dream I was currently in. A dream within a dream… the bird was like an omen.

Deep in my stomach, I knew I had to take the bird.

The complicated part was that 1) the bird was severely injured, and 2) I was getting ready to leave some country in South America back to the states.  In effect, in choosing to keep the bid, I was agreeing to smuggle the thing back in to the states.


I really didn’t want to injure it more. In front of me, the parrot held its left wing to its side delicately, fluttering his right wing for balance. There was red string tied off at his shoulder to keep things stabilized.

Rationality aside, I packed the bird. In my suitcase first for volume and breathing room, and then reconsidered in to the pocket of my carry-on backpack. Enter flash scenes of getting through security, and fear over potentially being caught and forced to separate with the bird.

Then… Home. Safe.

Yet now, scrounging in the depth of the bag I can’t seem to find the bird. I unzip it entirely to lay open, the contents facing the artificial light in my bedroom. Nothing. Then, out from under a book and some papers flitters a tan and green butterfly.

In my head, it’s obviously the parrot. I don’t even stop to think about how strange this is that the bird has morphed life forms.  I’m more reassured knowing that the tiny red string is still around its left wing.

I’m so happy he’s still alive. My butterfly. I place him up on a ledge in a little square paper house I’ve made for him, where he’ll be safe.

The next time I come back in the room, I look up in the little paper house. The butterfly’s wings are on the floor… tan, dried and still. The red string is lying there too. 

It’s about all I can do to choke back tears. Why? I think. Why would that happen?

Then from inside the little paper house things start to grow. A green fern slowly unfurls and fills the space inside the house, poking its fingers just outside to glow silvery from the light. Looking closer inside, I can see the home has now been filled with things that felt good… soft things, small budding ferns and succulents, and flecks of gemstones. 

Just then, from behind one of the leaves, out crawls the body of the butterfly.  It moves spritely, with purpose and intent. He’s been busy – cultivating, creating, dreaming.

And only then did it click: his wings hadn’t fallen off, but the butterfly had chosen to let them go.

He looks at me just then, and if butterfly bodies could smile, he did before crawling up to the ceiling and weaving himself in to a cocoon.  Silver, glowing with green and blue threads. Cut off from the world at first glance, but transparent enough to see, the butterfly became the glimmer of a secret of something much bigger, and much more beautiful, yet to come.

Now here I sit.  Something left to ponder in my waking hours.