The recurring, on-going, slow motion, dream of my childhood.
Being buried alive. By my family.
Every night. Every night beginning where it left off the night before.
For far too many nights, tied down in a cart full of hay, pulled by an old horse, up and up and up and up a winding unpaved cart path.
A beautiful sunny day.
Past the homes of friends, houses of family.
Past the school, the shops, the barns.
To an open picturesque field of grass and flowers with a gaping grave.
The group of them took me down from the cart and set me into the hole in the ground, throwing clods onto my tiny child body.
No! Stop! Please don’t do this!
I never knew if I was unable to make a sound or if they were unable to hear me.
Or I was making a sound and they were hearing … but chosing to continue anyway.
They were silent. Serious.
First one handful. Then another.
Covering my legs. My tiny torso. My arms and hands. My face.
The dirt collected in my ears, my mouth, my eyes, my nose.
Cold and damp, it smelled of earthworms. Beetles. Clover. Grass.
The silence covered me, enveloped me, crushed me.
The camera lens of my dream retreated from inside my mind lying there in my earthen grave, and now showed the family all walking away. Back down the hill. Silently.
The dream shot panned through the parade of my family. The parents. The grandparents. The aunts. The uncles. The cousins.
Single file. Determined. Returning from their gruesome duty upon the hill.
The shot panned once more. Do you see the empty field?
A freshly dug space, no larger than a child.
A view of the mountains.
The soft touch of the breeze on the long wisps of grass and weeds.
The burial complete, the dreams ended.
But haunted my waking and dreaming moments.
The rest of my life.