It’s interesting how our dreams can sometimes seem so foreign and other times seem so real that we can hardly believe we were dreaming. Last night, after a long time of trying to wind down and before falling asleep, I visualized my dad. I looked hard into the darkness to see his wise gray-blue eyes, his gentle smile, and strong chin. I had not really pictured him in quite some time, not wanting to feel the loss again. But slowly, his face became clear. I could see his face, and hear his musical voice. I remembered sermons he gave in Church, not a clergyman, but a believer. Then his expressions, so loved and familiar, came to my vision. It was only a moment, but it fed my soul and my eyes filled with those happy-sad tears.
The dream that followed sometime in the night was so real. My dad, my mom, and myself were riding horses on what used to be Storm Farm (now Tysons Corner). It was beautiful. The hills were green and the horses were well-trained for timid riders. In my dream, my parents were elderly, but wanted to take a ride one more time. We followed a trail through the woods and came out on top of a hill. The sun was shining and I was so proud of them. It seemed as if the frailty of old age and illness were momentarily suspended so that we could share that time together. That’s all I remember of the dream.
On the way to work, I reflected on that dream and remembered another time 44 years ago, when my parents took me on a road trip west. We were going to the graduations of my brother and my sister and on the way we went to many national parks. One favorite area was the north rim of the Grand Canyon where the Kaibab Forest stretches for miles. We actually did ride horses there together and I remember the exhilarating feeling of riding through the crisp morning air, the scent of pine everywhere. My dad looked so proud and handsome on his horse. My mother totally surprised me by agreeing to get on a horse. I never would have thought it possible. There we were – the three of us on beautiful animals. I never felt so free.