We had been visiting my parents’ house and were returning home. We had just set out and, oddly, my parents had left before us on some sort of errand.
My parents live on a small peninsula that juts into Peconic Bay, the body of water between the two forks at the eastern end of Long Island, and perhaps this was why it didn’t seem strange to me that we were departing via the water and not the land.
Of course, we always leave by land. But this was a dream.
We were not on a boat. We were walking, and were nearly shoulder deep in water, water that was buoyant and marvelously warm. It felt no different from the air. And we (Bill and I) were pushing things out in front of us– rafts of some kind, maybe. Emma Grace was with me and the boys were with Bill, and we were walking gently through the water, slowly, pushing these somethings instead of driving cars.
It was late afternoon. At the beginning of the dream it seemed dark, so that the people around us (and there were people around us, passing us in opposite directions as if they were in cars going the other way) were hard to see. But all of us were walking, and walking slowly, and we conversed just a little bit with them in that friendly, meaningless way you do with strangers.
And then somehow we were higher up, no longer in the water at all but over it. It wasn’t dark anymore: the sun was low, on its way to setting but not disappeared yet, so that the air was full of that low-angled light that is richly gold and amber and infinitely warm. We were floating up above the water, most definitely in the air, looking down at the water and the yellow sunlight that was reflected again and again in the water’s folding and scalloped surface.
I felt a little nervous. I feared I wouldn’t know how to continue to drive (or push or guide) this raft-like thing I had control of. I don’t remember there being a wind, but I gripped the raft tightly, wary of gusts.
Still, the nervousness was off-set by wonder and an encroaching peace. The air was a golden color, and the water below me reflected and reflected and reflected the light.
Then I saw the boats. There were several of them, not far beneath us, and their white sails billowed with the air that carried me. But these sails were not the curving triangles I am accustomed to. They were instead like great white balloons, filled with air and light. And all around them was water.
Bill frightened me. The very thing I feared happened to him: he lost control of his raft, and suddenly he went plummeting down into the water. I watched him splash in, horrified. But the next thing I knew he had climbed up to join me, and now all five of us were in the air together. Bill seemed completely unruffled by the whole ordeal, and I don’t remember his being wet.
We continued on, all five of us now. I looked down and saw where a pointed, climbing bit of land descended to the water. It was covered with trees, and I watched the rich green of the trees’ leaves pass beneath us.
On the other side of this jutting land was another boat. It was much larger than the boats we had seen earlier; its presence eclipsed the presence of any others. The sail was mammoth and swollen, once again like a balloon rather than a sheet, and it was luminous, diaphanous, and glowing with the amber light of the sun. And all around it, as before, I saw the light reflecting off the water.
I had lost all fear at this point. The air was warm. It wasn’t rushing or blowing past us. We were riding it and borne up by it and absolutely safe. And I could hear the voices that I heard last Sunday, singing together with me in church: “Alleluia. Glory be to our Great God.”
My father and Bill both have recurring dreams in which they are flying. This was my first one.