when the day is thru,
and they might come true,
never are as bad as they seem
dream dream dreamí
Mercer - from Dream, popular song of the 1940s
once lived a dream weaver on a Caribbean island. I donít know exactly
how she came to do it because people all around her did real things. They
wove baskets, cut cloth in shops, or counted money in banks and factories.
Some made their living by slicing open the tops of coconuts with sharp
cutlasses and offering the cool sweet water and tender jelly to hot
thirsty people. Others hawked scent and scarves, shoes and sunglasses on
the streets. Still others were schoolteachers, secretaries, lawyers, and
here were capable of doing all sorts of work and were endowed with no less
intelligence or talent than anywhere else.
Now, for those of you who have never been to this part of the world
(it is small and often we are forgotten here, sliced away from vast
continents, some say cut off from life itself, a semi-autonomous planet)
there are no seasons here. There
are no rusty autumns and icy, snowy, sludgy winters, or springs where soft
rain and sun nurture delicately-hued flowers. The only thing that changed
here were the colours of the light provided by the sun and rain;
silvery dawns, lemon mornings glowing like a freshly starched petticoat, a
blinding white midday sun, orange and grey sunsets. Otherwise nothing
changed, nothing happened. Each day was like the day before.
mornings she was awakened by the twitter of a dozen birds and insects and
would get on with her daily work of weaving dreams. From her window, the
dream weaver looked out on huge dense vegetation so green it can look
black on a rainy day, on thick sculptured flowers which last almost as
long as the plastic ones. When the plants are not matted and the earth is
not dry and callused from lack of rain, it can be beautiful but in an
angry threatening way. Landslides left houses suspended on hills, snakes
coiled around electricity poles, trees with enormous trunks fell in the
middle of the road, brown water from rivers entered bedrooms, destroyed
crops, while strong currents carried away children in drains.
However, the blue and brown sweep of the coastline remained serene.
in her country were poor until oil poured like molten gold out of the
water surrounding it and suddenly everyone was so rich that they lit up
$20 on the street to look for 25 cents in the drain. They stopped working
and began to sun themselves on street corners or dance the streets all day
if they wanted to. Then, the oil trickled down and they were poor again.
However, this time, having tasted riches, the people became disappointed,
bitter and lazy, expecting manna to land in their laps. And when it
didnít they became angry, bitter and rude.
no longer took pleasure in the way the light was soft and bright at the
same time when it rained through pale sunlight. They didnít notice the
white curls in the sea, or the curve of the hills. Their mouths drooped.
They were too depressed to dream.
The combination of heat and anger drove many people mad so they
began barking or even clucking like hens and then had to be put away in an
asylum. The dream weaver started working furiously. She knew dreams would
be the only thing to save her people. For now she put aside dreams of far
away places, strange and wonderful events, of achieving the impossible -
going into space or getting a cure for a rare disease. She had a harder
task at hand - of weaving dreams that would restore hope to people.
those who loved the sea she created one about their building a magnificent
boat; for those who loved children she wove one about running a school;
for people who wanted to stop smoking she would make one where they
didnít need to. Then she wove dreams of a salon for people who liked
making people beautiful; for people who loved the law, she created
challenging and rewarding cases. For people who cared for the sick or
disabled she would make one of raising huge amounts of money. These dreams
were truly magical because they would give people discipline, and the will
to go on even when they felt they were tired and spent.
to the rules, dream weavers could only plant dreams in people with the
capacity to dream. Dreams didnít stick on people who simply dreamed of
material wealth or power for the sake of it. So a lot of her dreams went
to waste. She had many spare dreams about writers and poets and
playwrights but most of these went to waste. The only books people on this
island knew about were ones with dull
mathematical and grammatical equations so people didnít associate
books with pleasure or flights of fancy. They didnít know that books
were a way to get into other peopleís souls and discover that really
there is no need to be
she didnít get to put the dream of being a playwright with the capacity
to truthfully mirror peopleís lives, move them, and give hope to anybody
here. Although she went in many politicians and journalists heads, she
didnít get to use the dream of educating and uniting people through the
media and good governance. Journalists prodded at the politicians, not for
the good of the people but for the fun of it, and asked questions rudely
just to get noticed. They didnít do their jobs properly and most people
in the land knew nothing of what went on in the neighbouring islands. They
didnít care if a ship carrying more than 30 people sank because they
were busy talking about themselves. They didnít report that a storm in
their region killed more than 7,000 people in Honduras and Nicaragua, that
there were corpses everywhere and frightened people who needed help
politicians in turn were vicious and instead of concentrating on the
number of poor, uneducated, mad, homeless, angry, wasted people on the
land, launched an attack on the journalists.
She couldnít use the dream of joy, generosity of spirit and
affection or creativity. And this one surprised her most because in this
land there was a huge Carnival every year, which the people looked forward
to, even lived for the whole year round.
Instead of creativity, she found predictable tinsel which is
unfertile ground for dreams. Instead of joy and high spirits she found
profanity. People would turn their groins inside out and flap them to the
sun but they didnít touch
one another with affection.
every now and then, she would come across a real artist (not simply one
who dressed like one) and give them double doses of dreams because they
would often get scraped out and depressed in this land. And then they
would come out with another song, another picture, or another costume,
which would uplift the people for a while. Or a dream would stick in
someone who had a truthful, curious and generous spirit. Still this
didnít happen very often.
the dream maker had her own escape. She still believed (being a dream
maker) that one day she would be able to plant a dream in everyone, that
one day people would see how boring the pursuit of material goods, wealth
and power is, or understand that dreams prevent despair in even the most
wretched soul. She would lie awake at night, listening to dogs howl and
put herself to sleep weaving dreams for people who couldnít use them.
quite a sad story really.