I am on a cruiseship on the lake by our cabin, which I find odd since it’s a relatively small inland lake. It seems to be a family gathering. Towards the end of the outing, people wash their hands and good deal of soap is released into the lake. I comment on it, but others don’t see it as a problem. I realize the ship will stay in the lake and continue taking people on tours. They are very focused on selling things, and they will continue to release oil, soap, and more into the lake. I realize it will destroy the lake but the others say it won’t be that bad. I see them as being in denial.
I wrote an initial response to this dream which you can read below. I didn’t publish it at the time since I felt something was off or missing. And now, several weeks later, I feel ready to rewrite my response and publish it.
This dream is about a lake in the forest south-east of Oslo where our family cabin is located. I spent a good deal of time at that cabin growing up and it is an important place in my life.
I had this dream just before waking up in the morning, and later the same day (at a Vortex Healing practice group in San Francisco), I learned it was Earth Day.
This dream seems to have represented a shift in me in how I experience the destruction of nature. I have always taken it seriously and even worked in sustainability for several years, but I have also held its impact on me at an arms-length distance. In the dream, there was very much a viceral experience of the destruction of the lake. It felt as I was the lake and the nature in that area. I felt it in my own body. There was no separation. And, somehow, that’s how it’s been since. I now feel these things viscerally, in and as my own body. It’s a welcome change since I knew the distance was artificial. It was created by my own mind as a protection. And it seems that’s no longer needed. For whatever reason, there must be a readiness in me to have a more visceral experience of what’s happening with Earth these days.
I have spent a few weeks at that cabin since the dream, and I notice a renewed and deeper appreciation and gratitude for all life there. Even the smallest insect is sacred and gives me joy.
A small footnote: I was at the cabin last week, and on the path to the outhouse I saw something resting on top of a shrub. It was a loose collection of feathers and fur, and I suspect it may be a wolf’s shedded winter fur a bird collected for a nest and then dropped. Somehow, it felt like a nod from nature. We are on the same side. I am on the side of the wolves and the birds. We are all part of nature. In a very real sense, and in a very visceral sense, I am that forest, those animals and plants, and that lake. The photo above this article was taken at that trip, just before midnight one night in the third week of June.
Initial draft written the morning after the dream (Earth Day 2018)….
When I woke up, the feeling and images that stayed with me was the end of nature. If we continue as we do, as humans, it will be the end of nature. I have been concerned about the human impact on ecosystems since I was little, but somehow haven’t experienced it as viscerally as I did when waking up from this dream.
Some associations: I have washed myself and clothes in that lake, and although I used a very small amount of biodegradable soap, I am aware that it has an impact. And I have been disturbed by how other people behave there: noisy campers at a nearby island playing loud music (removing any chance of the silence of nature to be healing for us), leaving garbage (which I pick up), and neighbors using chainsaws. Also, at my parent’s house – where I grew up – a new neighbor has replaced the charming dirt road with asphalt and put up bright street lights (as if there isn’t enough asphalt and light pollution in the world). And my childhood forest, five minutes walk from their house, is shrinking and land at the edges is sold for development.
So, on the one hand, this is a reminder of what’s happening with Earth. Earth will continue as a living system, and it will eventually heal itself and find a new balance. But Earth as we know it is in real danger.
And as usual, the dream reflects me. I have stayed in central San Francisco for the last couple of weeks (Hayes Valley) and although I love the Bay Area, I do notice the impact of the noise, dirt, and poverty I see when walking around the city. I feel like that lake. And since I am traveling, my diet has not been as good as usual. So I am polluting myself like that lake, and I feel it.
And although I love the western half of the US – the landscapes and the progressive subcultures – I do notice the impact of the harshness of the US mainstream culture.
In addition, I have been very aware of a pattern of complaining in my mind lately.
So yes, I am that lake, and the cruise ship, and the soap and oil in the water. And I have the opportunity to change it.
Note: The image is of the lake in the dream, taken from the cabin late night in June 2018.
Note 2: This dream seems to have marked a shift in me. I now experience the destruction of nature in a far more visceral way than I did before. I have been good at taking it seriously while holding the impact at an arms-length distance. Now, there seems to be no distance, and it’s a welcome shift.
- cruise ship, inland lake
- nothing new intellectually, have known / been aware of / concerned about just about my whole life
- but a visceral feeling, felt as if my body was that lake and it was dying
- couldn’t hold it at a distance, was immediate, me
- in the afternoon that day, learned it was Earth Day, appropriate to the content of the dream