Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Last weekend, I heard a story about a recurring dream. For years this person had dreamt of being in a room and seeing an ominous man in a window by a door they couldn't open. Years of practice in lucid dreaming resulted in one night when the doorknob finally turned and they could face the man, finding themselves in a dramatic gun battle. The dreamer woke just when they were shot, and afterward never had the dream again. Listening, I wanted to hide, sure that this dream was going to end in someone dead.

Last night I heard a story about finding a news item in an archive about an immigrant woman buried in Seattle in the 1920's and the research odyssey that stretches from it. The smaller story is about a woman who followed a love here from Russia only to be denied entrance into the United States due to apathy at the immigration office; distraught and lost and unable to move either backward or forward, she took poison and died agonizingly more than a week later. Her affianced sat at her deathbed and then died unmarried years later in San Francisco. She was buried in an as-yet unknown cemetery that my friend is still trying to pin down, his valentine's day pilgrimage to Kent having been unfruitful although he did locate the grave of the man in California. The larger story is the romance of that journey, of rediscovering what was not only lost but completely forgotten only because it doesn't make sense not to. We are quite sure that no one has visited this woman's grave since she was buried in it, but have every intention of doing so once he figures out where it is.

I walk through this city of trees every day, wondering about what feeds them, all of the things lost or discarded or buried. I wonder what secrets are drawn through their roots and stored in the bones of all these trees.

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