postcard, the morning swim

august 1

As I swam this morning, I was remembering my dream, a bough of young owls ready to leave—the owls we have listened to all summer?—and my children were also young, in their small bathing suits, standing under the boughs. This is an important moment, I told them. The owls are leaving their parents to make their way in the world. When I woke, I held the dream close, each detail—the wing feathers of the barred owls, the bright suits, the skinny tanned legs of my sons and daughter—so clear that I knew I would never forget. I swam, I remembered, and the water also held the details of the last two weeks: two small boys with buckets at the edge, their father under the surface, the rattle of kingfishers interrupted at their breakfast. Owls and water and the sound of my grandsons racing to tell me about the frogs, the bobcat they saw, the lizard the cat brought to the patio that we coaxed him to release to the freedom of the woodpile. When the owls flew from their bough into the dusk, the children lost interest, wanted to return to their game in the grass by the garden, more than 30 years ago, though the owls were the ones we heard this summer, one in the arbutus tree last week, calling as we dreamed in our own bed.

To convince ourselves that they are really ours, we must reinhabit these dreams.

–Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Reverie

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