Dream World

By Dave Hanks

Isak Dinesen, author of “Out of Africa”, in her short story
“Echoes from the Hills”, talks about Juma, a former house boy grown old. “An old
man by the name of Juma from time to time would come up to the old house and ask
permission to walk the grounds, to think, there, of the time that had once been,
and for an afternoon would walk on the paths beneath the tall trees and then
again would disappear. It was believed that he had come along a rough
grass-track winding into the Masai Reserve – a long way for an old man to walk
in order to meditate on the past.”

A past that had now become a part of a “Dream World”. A world where
conscience is subverted to imagination and memories. Recollections that becomes
shaded and hard to determine which was really real and which was nothing more
than perception of that time, memories that make an event or place “bigger than
life”. A thing I have learned is that one can never go back to a place from the
past and regain the splendor that one recalls that place to have had. That
particular past is like a dream, gone and hard to remember in total accuracy.

So the question arises: What is reality? Could it be just imaginings of the
mind? Is history, whether secular or biblical, real, or has fantasy played a
cruel trick upon the recorder’s psyche? Especially events of centuries ago,
have, perhaps, been embellished beyond actuality. I know how present day
occurrences are mis-reported and how legends spring forth – one who has a
personal knowledge of that event, cannot recall things happening in the way they
were reported.

We cannot own or control anything for long. We seem to be mere transients
upon this world’s stage. That which we do, when we are gone, will be just a
figment of other’s imaginations. At one time I existed. Was my life and the
lives of past family members real or just a dream long past?

I live in an old, intriguing brick house on a small farm. The yard consists
of about 4 acres. My parents, now deceased, planted the original yard and since
those days my wife and I have greatly enlarged upon the trees, lawns, and
shrubbery. It is now difficult to remember how it used to be – real, or is it
remembered with a grandeur that wasn’t true? All the work and care expended can
be erased so quickly, after some new proprietor takes hold of the reins. Because
it was my parents, I have never felt like I completely owned it. The burden of
what will become of it weighs heavily upon my conscience. It will all be a
dream, hard to recall in detail.

My college athletic past and notoriety shrunk from view so fast that it makes
me think of the song that says: “The things we did last summer, I’ll remember
all winter long”. Gone in the “twinkling of a calendar year”! Years of school
teaching and coaching are fading more slowly, but I now have a hard time
recollecting any but a few special students and athletes. I was the driving
force, so how would others, less committed, remember those days?

An obsession of my elderly years is wildlife photography. But what will all
this concerted effort come to when my time is over? The photos will have to be
exceptional if anyone, or school, would want even some of them. Their ultimate
destiny, like school notes so carefully taken, will be the fire. So one must
milk the present for what satisfaction they get because in the end it will
become a “Dream World”. Perceptions of that past world will be as varied as each
individual dreamer!