Continued from Chapter 5.
“The world is as you dream it.” Numi
By Richard Juarez
I sat on my bed after dinner, partly listening to my radio, but mostly thinking about the day and about Tío Emilio. After a while, my eyes just felt so heavy, I couldn’t keep them open. Maybe sweeping the walks front and back, and sweeping out the patio and wiping down the patio furniture before dinner tired me out more than I thought. Or maybe it was from eating too much. I sat there with my eyes closed, thinking about the leather binder cover and the scene carved on it. Finally we would get to talk about it in the morning. The thought occurred to me to get up and change into my PJs. But instead, I plopped over on the bed and immediately drifted off into a deep sleep….
I must have been traveling very fast. What a rush, feeling the wind on my face, and hearing it speak to me as it whizzed past my ears. It told me to look up and see the clouds. They looked like huge beautiful puffy balls of cotton floating in the sky. The next thing I knew I was sailing up into one of the lower clouds and could feel the coolness of its moisture. I leaned to the left and curled back down out of the clouds, then sailed right back up into the cool mist. Sometime while sailing through the clouds, I realized that I was a small eagle, flying through the sky.
I looked down. What a majestic sight! I could see mountains, a river, grasses and shrubs of many shades of green and yellow covering the open fields, deep brown earth, and trees and plants covering the wetter areas along the edge of the river. Most of the creeks feeding the river looked dry, but the green trees along their edges told of water flowing under the surface.
I could see roads below, and houses. I followed what looked like a main road. It had more traffic than the others and seemed wider. The longer I followed it, the more houses appeared. This road and a few others were paved, while most of the rest were dirt roads. Nearing what looked like the center of town, I realized this place wasn’t very big at all.
I felt pulled to a dirt street with a few houses where I saw lines of light leading up into the sky. They came from two men and a baby who were outside one of the houses. A third man walked up and joined them, and as they met, the energies of these four humans joined with the energies of the Earth Mother to make an even more powerful force, a tube of energy that shot up into the universe.
I circled around the column of energy, as my eagle energies intertwined with those of the earth and the humans. I flew, flowing with the lines of energy, spiraling down and then rising again on the currents of warmth rising from the heated ground below. The wind joined in, carrying me up as I continued to circle, it also flowing with the call of the universe. With a gentle shove, it lifted me even higher before falling toward earth to find more heat to push it on its way. I joined with the wonderful majesty of the sky as I soared up through the clouds, and with the astoundingly beautiful earth as I turned back toward the multiple hues of blues, browns, yellows, and greens.
I let out an eagle cry, telling all the world to take note of what I had seen and come to know from this lofty perch in the sky—the four strong energies below, three adult humans and one baby, joined in prayer to the Earth Mother and to the source of all being, flowing an energy strong enough to summon an eagle and the wind. Again I cried out, “Cheeee, cheeee.”
“Cough, cough.” Startled, I sat up. It took me a while to figure out where I was and who I was. I could see that I was human and not an eagle. Slowly I realized I was home in my bed in the middle of the night and that I had been dreaming. It was disappointing in a way. I now felt so very confined sitting there in my body, after having flown so far and so free as an eagle. I couldn’t recall ever having had such a vivid dream. What an experience! And I could recall it like a movie being shown again inside my head. I didn’t want to lose it, so I slowly eased my head back down onto the pillow and watched the scenes repeat as I drifted back to sleep.
At the first light of dawn, I was awake. I hadn’t closed the window shades, so the red light of the early morning sunrise splashed my room with ever-brightening hues of color as it slowly pushed away the darkness. Its colors reminded me of the eagle’s feathers, and of the sun and clouds at sunset in my dream. It was such a strange dream, but it felt so good! How wonderful it had been flying high above the ground, exploring free, and yet connected to everything below.
Normally, at this time of the morning, I would have just rolled over and gone back to sleep. But today I was just too excited! I got up and stood by my bedroom window, watching the intense colors of the clouds and sky change as the sun rose. After this sunrise, and the sunset in last night’s dream, I felt a new appreciation for the beauty of the earth, the sun, and the sky.
It wasn’t too long before I finally heard other sounds in the house. Breakfast would be early this morning. For once I was glad because I was anxious to return to Nana and Tata’s.
“My, you’re up early today,” my mother remarked as I walked into the kitchen. I was a little surprised she spoke to me, but there was no one else up yet for her to talk to.
“Yeah, I woke up right when it started to get light.” I couldn’t wait to tell her about the dream, but as I began, I realized it was so involved there was really no way to describe it all.
“You don’t usually remember your dreams, do you?”
“No, I don’t. For some reason this one really stuck with me. I remember it almost like I was watching it again right now.” I paused for a moment and thought about telling her more, but decided not to. “Well, so much for my dream. Can I help you with anything?”
“You can wash, peel, and slice the potatoes in the sink for me.”
I got busy with the potatoes while she rolled out flour tortillas, which she was cooking on the stove at the same time. After a few minutes of silence, except for the sounds of the knife and the rolling pin hitting the cutting boards, she finally spoke again.
“How was your discussion with Tío Emilio yesterday?”
I thought to myself, it was too short because you made me come home early. But I couldn’t say that to her. So I said, “Well, it was kinda interesting. He talked a lot about the work he does and even Tata joined in the discussion. They were talking when I first got there, so we started late. We ran out of time so he asked me to come back this morning after breakfast.”
She turned to me with a look of surprise that I would be going back to talk with Tío Emilio. I guess she hadn’t expected him to have time to talk with me about his work, and about “the old ways.” Perhaps she thought he would limit himself to describing the leather cover. She looked like she was about to say something, but maybe because Tata was involved she chose not to say anything right then, at least to me.
“Well,” she said, “you can go right over after we eat. Emilio doesn’t have much time this morning. Tata and your father are giving him a ride to the bus station at about eleven o’clock.”
It wasn’t long before breakfast was finally ready. Once we sat down to eat, I quickly devoured it. Of course, both my mother and father encouraged me to slow down and chew my food. It probably helped me to get in a few more chews, but basically I inhaled it.
“Why are you in such a rush?” my father asked.
“He’s going to see Tío Emilio again before you leave for the bus station,” my mother answered for me.
“Yeah,” I said as I got up from the table, “We didn’t finish our talk yesterday.”
I grabbed the leather cover from my room and headed for the door. My father got up from the table and walked me to the door, still chewing his food.
“I’m very disappointed in you,” he said in his gruff, somewhat angry voice. Not his real, real angry voice, but angry enough that he got my attention. “I understand you were over at Arturo’s again. I thought we had an understanding that you wouldn’t go over there.”
Dammit! I got caught! All I could do was stand by the door and look stupid. One of his friends must have seen me over there. I knew that was gonna happen!
“Go on now. I know you have to see Emilio. You and I are going to have a talk later. I just wanted you to know that I know.”
Walking down the street, I felt a sense of relief that I didn’t have to stay home and deal with my father right now. I knew I was in for more punishment, just for being with my homies.
But more important to me right then was that I was finally going to learn about the carving on the leather cover.
Copyright © 2013 Richard Juarez
This publication is protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. All rights are reserved, including resale rights. Any reproduction, transmission, distribution, or use of this material without the expressed written consent of the author is prohibited.
The author, publisher, and distributor of this material assume no responsibility for the use or misuse of the information contained herein, or for any injury or loss sustained as a result of using this information. The use or misuse of any methods, instructions or ideas contained in the material is the sole responsibility of the reader.
You can subscribe to Tío Emilio and the Ancestors and get an email whenever a new chapter in this novel is posted.