“The theft or forgetting of dreams is the greatest of tragedies.”
— “Bawaajimo: A Dialect of Dreams In Anishinaabe
Language and Literature”, Margaret Noodin
I’m in a space where the dream world feels the realest. When the mind can’t comprehend what it sees through waking eyes, it shuts off. I’m okay with sleeping in. I’m okay with sleeping too much. I’m busy. I’m vision walking. Keep in mind, I never asked for this.
Lie awake, craving the taste of lakewater and the scent of September rhubarb. I’d give it all for the autumnal. The desert has made my eyes dusty. There is soot in my ears. I’m missing the night birds. All summer long they sang,
“Aki — aki — aki!”
There were complaints. “Nuisance birds.” I wondered if they were eradicated. Shooed off. I realized they all just flew home. See, without that cycle, that transition of seasons, I don’t know where I am. I don’t know who I am.
I’m awake again. I’m asking the empty room if the spirits will recognize me underneath the scars of assimilation on my skin. All I did was speak the language. All I did was pierce a veil. I remembered. Aki. Earth. Those songs were a warning. A sweet sounding plea.
I hear my nokomis answer. “They never had a problem knowing who you were before.”
In the silence of the birds, in that great pause, it came to me. The meaning. I never realize when I’m practicing patience because I’m always surprised when things just come to me. I never even know what I’m waiting for.
When the little orange moth shows up a few more times on my doorstep and I finally feel brave enough to ask it,
Aniin ezhi chigeyan? What are you doing?
Helping you remember. Helping you see.
Again, I’ll remind you, I never sought the visions. I just accepted them. Opened the door for them. Lived by them.
Realized they were the only things that mattered anymore.