I stand atop a gleaming white snow-capped mountain looking down on the frozen tundra with the winding trail that awaited me below. There I stand resplendent in all of my gear in awe of this wondrous world that will soon be my personal daunting challenge. My gloves firmly grip one pole in each hand. The goggles are in place over my somewhat blurred eyes from the radiance of the white. Each toughened boot is strapped firmly into my skies. A deep breath is drawn almost immediately proceeded by a long slow exhale.
My moment of truth has arrived. One last breath in and out is taken. With a lurch and a thrust forward my downward spiral begins. Picking up speed as I recklessly round each turn. Faster….faster….ever faster I go. Now flying past the waving flags and the wobbling markers uncertainty approaches. Twisting turning slipping and sliding my way through my travel I wished I’d never begun. Inside of my chest, my heart is relentlessly banging as if it were struggling to free itself from entrapment. Sweat is incessantly pouring out from underneath my goggles onto my now reddened frostbitten face.
To no avail could I cry out. Just ahead my eyes capture the image of a contorted cliff almost daring me to challenge it. Despite plunging my poles into the depths of the snow I could not slow down nor regain traction. My body now ravaged by weariness is at a point of collapse. In a hunched over posture, my ski found itself stuck in a crater of ice. In a desperate attempt to free me from this almost certain death trap, I jammed my pointed polls into what was mostly a resemblance of granite. With a violent forward thrust accompanied by an equally violent lunge, I made my exit.
Soon after obtaining my freedom from the self-proclaimed death trap that had ensnared me the aftershock of my contortionist like movements propelled me to the very edge of that cliff that was once so far away in the distance as if it were a mirage. The blinding sunlight led me to become dazed and overcome by dyslexia. The ferocious unforgiving wind sent me spiraling out of control to my destiny of doom. Now in a state of unconsciousness somewhere in mid-flight, a creature created by terror appeared to me. With saliva drooling from his mouth at the prospect of dismembering me and devouring my remains for his dinner the creature constructed a knife from glaciers which he used to slice my throat through to the bone. The last thing I thought I saw was my blood-soaked headless body laying next to my severed limbs.
Suddenly I awoke to discover I was laying in my bed quivering with fear. My urine streamed over my sheets that I would immediately discard. I thirsted for water to soothe my painfully cracked lips. Unceremoniously I exuberantly leaped off my mattress to joyously exclaim I AM ALIVE! I AM ALIVE! Being in possession of this newfound knowledge I pulled my multi-colored quilted blanket that was woven with the finest wool under my chin so I could contentedly return to my slumber. I had no reason to suspect my nightmare was still engraved inside of my brain that would cause me to awaken once again quivering with fear. No longer in control of what I was thinking, I wondered out loud if the nightmare was really reality while the reality I thought I was in was, in fact, the nightmare.
When Calm and composure returned the next morning I tried to rationalize what happened in addition to determining why it happened. My background in behavioral psychology taught me to locate the trigger that set this whole sequence of events in motion. Hard though I tried the trigger could not be pinpointed. My next step was to seek out men of good wisdom who could untangle this web for me. At the end of my block, there was a shtiebel where holy men would come to daven and learn each day. A grandfatherly type of a man with a gray bushy beard peered at me through his horn-rimmed glasses greeted me with a generous smile. Could all the knowledge this man had acquired throughout his life allow him to help me resolve my dilemma that was shrouded in mystery these last 24 hours?
I confronted him with all the details that I could remember. Yet again he would peer at me through his horn-rimmed glasses while greeting me with his smile. His mouth formed no words as he went about the task of continuing his studies. Naturally, I was perplexed as well as puzzled at this turn of events. In dire need of answers to my questions but not wanting to appear as being rude or disrespectful I whispered in the ear of this man who as it turns out was a Rav. He then told me all that all the information I sought would come to me in a dream that night.
The next morning I was woken up by the sound of somebody knocking at my door. Much to my delight, it was the Rav who came by to visit while inquiring of me what the dream the previous night revealed to me. To relieve me of my angst from not being able to recall the dream the Rav explained that the night when I had the initial dream was in actuality the night I died. The creature that killed me while I was in mid-flight was none other than ME! I was killing all the evil that existed within me these many years. Despite all that evil, I had done so much good and gave so unselfishly of myself that it was decided my soul would be returned to my body so that I may go on living. Having revealed all this to me the Rav stood up in front of me put on his wide-brimmed black hat buttoned up his near ankle-length black coat gave me something he called a brucha.
“ Come dance with the west wind and touch on the mountain tops. Sail o’er the canyons and up to the stars. And reach for the heavens and hope for the future and all that we can be, and not what we are.” These words are an excerpt of the lyrics to the song Eagle and the Hawk that was written by the late John Denver.
My friends, we must continually take stock of ourselves. Our dreams may not be self-generated but they can contain messages we must take great effort to figure out. We go into and come out of dreams without realizing it during the course of the day. While a nightmare is a manifestation of our dreams we cannot simply ignore them or let them go uninvestigated. May your dreams reflect that which is good about you.