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Dream: A Fecal Crisis

April 28, 2020

Late yesterday afternoon, I updated a page of narration with the shitty matter of Herr Trompf’s murderous insanity, in general and specifically re the pandemic.  In the evening my yoga teacher, JF, had begun the lesson with comments about having experienced distressing dreams because of our stressful viral/political situation.  She reminded us that our practice would be about mental and spiritual health, as well as physical.

At around 3:00 (probably) this morning I was sleeping well, but woke just enough to realize that I might have to head for the bathroom soon.  I felt that I had been constipated for some time, with a resulting build-up of solid matter in my lower intestinal area.  As activity began to return to normal, I could feel a large turd now just beginning to emerge.  Still mainly asleep, but alerted to the impending crisis, I could feel, and vaguely see an image of, the turd beginning to protrude, to stick out.

Evaluating the degree of urgency, I was confident that when the time came to wake up enough to get out of bed and make it to the bathroom in time, my brain would produce exactly that response.  So I lay there for awhile, monitoring the situation.  I became slightly more awake, with the sensation that if this were happening during the day, out in the world (where I have not actually ventured since early March), I would be looking for a public restroom, so as not to do something deeply embarrassing.  However, my sense of urgency, my feeling of bowelful readiness, did not increase, nor did my wakefulness, and slowly I returned to a deep sleep.

At around 6:00 I woke up. Lying there comfortably, I remembered the idea of the crisis in the night.  But I had no sense whatsoever of any such physical condition.  I did not feel any sense of having been constipated, or of any need, or of having had any thought of any need, to hurry out of bed.  My entire waste disposal plant was simply humming along, as usual (good fortune in my old age, for which I am grateful).

Rather, I had my usual sense of having dreamed during the night, a series of dreams, short or long, of which one was particularly memorable.  I doubt that I had partially wakened.  I think I dreamed (exactly as I had dreamed recently of a journey) that I was partly awake because of a developing fecal crisis with potential for social disaster, which required my personal response.  I dreamed that my brain was alert to it and was appropriately working on it.  Ever the optimist, alas.  As they say, it will all come out all right in the end.

In fact I read, just a couple days ago, that health scientists in Paris were measuring the incidence of this new coronavirus by measuring its residue in fecal matter in the Parisian sewer system. That’s interesting, but not to the American Pr*sident.

To close the yoga session, J had shared a beautiful poem by Stanley Kunitz, “The Layers.” As he commented (noted on this page with the poem), he wrote it in his late seventies, after losing some of his dearest friends. The two lines that begin the poem “came to me in a dream, spoken out of a dark cloud.”  He closed the poem with what to me seems an affirmation in his “darkest night”:  “I am not done with my changes.”  It’s an elder’s dream, and its theme is an elder’s take on one of the great realities and principles of accurate thought.  It’s meaning is always the same, yet always a little bit different, changing as we change.  (He went on changing for more than 20 years!)

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