Monday, April 25, 2011
I had a dream. I was in Montreal, sightseeing with my wife and some friends. I've never been to Montreal, nor do I know what Montreal looks like beyond the vague descriptors "old," "urban," and "French," but in my dream it seemed accurate enough: tall gray multiwindowed office towers, some glass and steel and others concrete, rising to meet an overcast sky, traffic sounds dopplering by and sounding slightly wet (it's early morning, so everything seems damp with dew or last night's rain), and commuter cars and cabs and buses are following a complex pattern around a flat, open public square where I'm standing amid pedestrian Montrealers going to work and heading to lunch and conducting conversations on cell phones that I can hear snatches of as they walk by and flagging down cabs and crossing the street in waves, squeezing between concrete bollards (to keep drivers from driving into the square), and generally acting like busy upwardly mobile urbanites on their way to other things and so disinterested in the tourists and tourist attractions around them. I'm taking a picture of my wife standing in front of a cathedral. I check the picture and it seems good. Then we're driving in a car along a heavily wooded two-lane highway. It's more overcast. Only the two of us are in the car. Trees line the side of the road, a mix of spiky pines and heavily leafed green trees. The air is cold and misted. Occasionally a car drives by in the opposite direction. We're going north. I get the feeling we're far north of most civilization. And then we arrive at the shore of a wide and cold expanse of dark blue water littered with floating debris. The sky is gray, windless, and the shore is dotted with wooden shacks in various states of dilapidation, some once having been houses and others having been stores or gas stations. I see no people anywhere. In the middle of the debris is a seaplane, apparently abandoned. Then we're in the water, but not in the car. Nik is sitting in a white plastic bucket, her legs hanging off the sides into the water. I'm floating in a discarded open suitcase. Both of us are paddling out farther into the water. We're bobbing on the surface and paddling with our bare hands farther into the lake or ocean, whatever it is. The only sound is of our hands scooping the freezing cold water. Nik bobs near a cluster of floating debris and I paddle my suitcase over to the seaplane's rear and see that it's got a low belly and a ramp-like hatch, and the hatch is open so I can see inside is a tumble of cargo crates and possibly a person sitting in the cockpit but not turning around, not moving. I grab one of the skis of the seaplane and feel the suitcase under me list and sway, and I tell Nik to paddle over, because we're headed farther north still and the seaplane will take us there.