In eighth grade, my English teacher Mr. Mono asked us to write an essay on our dreams. I didn’t think to ask for clarification on this, and true to my matter-of-fact, pragmatic self, I wrote an essay on what I dreamt about the previous night. He returned the paper and gently suggested that next time I might consider staying on topic. I, thinking I was on topic, came away slightly confused. Apparently, no one else shared my confusion because standing tall and proud at the top of their papers were letter grades, while scribbled at the top of mine was a large, red question mark.
As far as dreams go, that question mark has hovered above my head ever since I saw it written across that lined sheet of college rule paper. I wondered if I wasn’t the dreaming type. Or that I didn’t dream big because I didn’t know how. Or, maybe that growing up on a solid diet of realistic expectations with a high value placed on practicality, swept me clean of dreams. I didn’t realize that for some of us, dreams gather in the cobwebbed corners, the ones that can’t be swept clean no matter how much life and well meaning adults try.
Big dreamers draw me in; they both fascinate and overwhelm me. Sometimes I want to be like them, and then I remember that my dreams are spun in the dark, still places. I don’t know what makes some of us out-loud dreamers and some of us silent dream weavers. Out-loud dreamers paint the walls and floors with their dreams, while others of us carefully spin them in the corners where the floorboards meet.
There comes a time though, when the afternoon sun hits the shadow and gossamer strands just right, and the beauty of it takes your breath away. Your dream’s intricate design becomes perfect and clear. And you realize that you’ve been creating it there all along, you just needed the light to shine just so in order to see it.