Don’t Mess With Me Before Coffee

I woke under the spell of a dream.

A dream that left behind emotional residue.

Residue from imaginary events not possible, logical, or related but puissant nonetheless. 

It’s all very perplexing ~ keep reading, I’m sure we’ll figure it out.

Pushing myself up from the warm covers, I struggle to remember the smallest fragment of my dream, as if clouds, the images remain beyond my sleepy grasp. I have an inkling the genesis of this melancholy is embedded in the ethos of these nocturnal adventures, sort of like getting caught in a hail storm without shelter, you’re going to feel it.

The unconscious mind has innate power, thrusting us through seemingly random scenarios, as if ripping the veil of illusion off a fresh wound. I read this recently and it sort of stopped me in my tracks. Jill Mellick says, “Certain things grow in the darkness ~ babies, dreams, roots.” Perhaps the absence of light is key to our maturation, as if the night serves a purpose far beyond the relevance of sleep, and we wake to a world altered by our dreams. I don’t know. This is all very philosophical before coffee.

“Dreams live in a universe free of time and space restrictions. Only the fluidity of the arts ~ movement, poetry, myth, and art ~ truly carry their messages well to waking awareness. If we limit the dream to verbal analysis and reductive definitions, the dream dries up. However, if we feed our dreams with our creativity and curiosity, they will nourish our understanding for days, even years.” Jill Mellick

Sitting up in bed, I glance around the unfamiliar room. I’m surrounded by elegance, beautifully finished walnut doors, charming window seat, antique mirror. The solitude is noticeable. Where the hell is Larry?

Oh yes…as the fog of sleep recedes the memories come crashing onto the shores of my dehydrated brain. I fall back into the plush pillows, close my eyes, no chance I’ll fall back to sleep. 

If I concentrate (with Herculean effort), I recall Mom and I sitting at a perfectly smooth round table, as if a cake, putting a puzzle together, but half the pieces were missing. For some reason the two of us found this predicament hysterical? Seconds later, or could it have been years, I was flying effortlessly through space (dream talent), lighting the stars with a sparkler, my youthful parents waving to me from below. Is it possible to coalesce these vignettes? But really to what a avail? 

Let’s not go there…suffice it to say I had a confusing dream that has nothing to do with my current reality. I’m parched, suffering with neuralgia, and it’s quite possible I’m still dreaming.

“One day you’ll find yourself walking into an image from a dream you had years ago.” Marion Woodman

I gaze out the window with little or no focus. I can’t shake the feeling, you know the angst that settles in when you totally mess up, accidentally eat an entire pie, forget to feed the dog, lose something of value. It shadows me, as if a wooded umbra, completely devoid of light. Shrugging my shoulders in the emptiness of the room, I remain ignorant as to the meaning, and worthless before two cups of coffee.

I hope Dante remembers to feed the dog, we spent the night with friends in Carmel Valley, Larry must have woken early, it’s not yet seven. The faint light illuminating the room is as soft as my blanket, it makes me smile, and burrow deeper into the luxurious bedding. I’m sort of in love with morning (oddly this has a totally different meaning when spoken out loud).

As if by divine providence, the door opens, it’s Larry, holding a cup of coffee, he says “You’re up?” Not sure if this is a question or statement?

“Yes,” I confirm, “Is that coffee for me?”

He laughs, “No, but here,” he sets the cup on the nightstand, “I’ll leave it with you.”

“Is anyone else up?”

“Nope, I’m watching the Open downstairs.”

“Good, I’m going to enjoy your coffee, I’ll be down later.”

He nods shutting the door quietly behind him. 

One word, five letters, plentiful, it’s a game I play on my iPhone. Feast is the word that comes to mind when I think about last night. Greg and Claudia, our hosts, are not only gracious and inviting, but extremely gregarious. I think it was the Dunn’s from Texas, also visiting for the weekend, that got the ball rolling. The men (along with Claudia) all went to Santa Clara University back in the early 80’s, formed a stalwart bromance, and for middle-aged Broncos they’ve held it together quite nicely. I’m lucky. The women they married are lovely which makes impromptu get-togethers all the more enjoyable.

I remember all of us anchored around the large island in the Italian Villa style kitchen, sipping wine, throughly enjoying the camaraderie. I was completely unaware of the complex meal Claudia was putting together without a recipe, fuss, or notice. It’s as if she was conducting a symphony, I never even considered disrupting the motion, or euphony? I sat there enthralled with the performance and made no attempt to aid or assist. Total fail.

Surely this is what women do, how women walk through life, separately and together ~ never doing one task at a time, never moving in one realm at a time. Rarely is one activity segregated from another, rather each is woven into the complex fabric of daily responsibilities and relationship. The sacred and the heartfelt suffuse the ordinary. Marion Woodman

Fettered to our bar stools, we engaged in lively chatter, tossing around ancient memories, recent trips, antidotes on life. When the topic of friendship surfaced, it could have been job opportunities, or loans. It’s obscure. I think it was Michelle who said, “rejection is divine protection.” I repeated the statement in my mind so I wouldn’t forget. 

Grabbing my phone off the nightstand, I laugh when I see Claudia thought to text me, so taken was I with the idea. Rejection is divine protection?

I’ve experienced the sting of rejection more than I care to admit. Perhaps I was spared some awful fate? Or missed out on the adventure of a life time? Who’s to say? I do believe simplifying is the most elegant of tasks in our cluttered culture. 

My Mom was proficient at weeding through the closet of life, gently urging me to let go of outdated relationships, jobs, or circumstances, “drop him off the Goodwill honey, he’s perfect for someone else, box that up, you’ll need it in a few years, or that my dear is of no use to anyone, put it in rubbish pile.” I do miss her practicality.

We ended the evening out on the beautiful deck, sitting under the stars, warmed by a gentle fire, engaged in irreverent discussions, protected by woven throws. I have no idea when we went to bed? I can’t remember if I helped with the dishes? I am the worst guest. 

Thalassophile (n.), a lover of the sea, someone who loves the sea, ocean.

My cup runneth dry, so I slip into sweats, and tip toe to the kitchen in search of coffee. The hardwood floors are cool under my feet, the house is quiet, I’m captured by the view through the living room window, and stop to admire the landscape. Carmel Valley is stunning, especially in the early morning.

Thrilled to find coffee steaming in the pot, I refill my cup, and wander downstairs to the entertainment room. Where I find Gerald and Larry, sprawled in adjacent recliners, watching the golf tournament. They look a little #tossed.

Claudia comes up behind me and suggests a quick hike through the neighborhood. We head out, giddy to have some time together, and procure a little exercise in the process. The chatter is non-stop, Claudia is one of those rare people, as if a muse, she elevates the conversation. I have this urge to write things down when I’m with her so I don’t lose the name of an influential author, a fresh perspective, or new recipe. 

Did I mention the hills of Carmel Valley? They are as challenging as our discussions. My head is spinning, I’m barely able to breath, and just when I think I can not take another step, she says, “this is the last hill and we’re home!” There is a God. 

After a worthy breakfast on the patio, Claudia grabs the guest book off the entry table, “sign this for me before you leave.” 

I sit down on the couch and yell, “what’s the date Claudia?”

“It’s July 21st.”

My eyes instantly mist up, the pen falls to the floor, and I’m unable to hide the intense emotion that seizes me. She turns around as if grabbed by some invisible force, “What’s wrong?”

“It’s my Mom’s birthday.”

Her hand moves to her heart, “Oh, is it today?”

The realization hits me, today is the day my mother came into the world, she would have been eighty-two. This must have been what I was feeling all morning but failed to identify. Woodman says our dreams disturb in order to illumine. 

She came to me last night, obviously I couldn’t puzzle it together, and so she laughed with me while I honored her with a litany of stars. 

I sit with that for a moment, holding back tears I would prefer to shed, the guest book in my lap, and whisper, “Happy Birthday Mom.” 

Once we know what the dream world is,

to be without it is to be rudderless.

The dream continually corrects

our waking course. Marion Woodman

I’m Living in the Gap, drop by, we’ll interpret each other’s dreams.

  • “Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom,” Francis Bacon
  • William Shakespeare says we are such stuff as dreams are made of, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.
  • Audible! You can listen to stories at night, let them accompany you into your dreams, just set the timer, and drift away. Claudiaism. 


Leave a Comment

  1. Oh, such deep, well-written and fertile thoughts. I confess, puissant caught me off guard. Haven't used that one in a while 😉 First off, the details. Did Dante feed the dog? And sorry to hear you have neuralgia.So many thoughts floating through my head, many of them only loosely and tangentially related to this mind opening tome. I enjoyed your thoughts on rejection. When I reflect on rejections in my life, I am thankful for all of them. It was almost as if I was being protected from what I thought I wanted (except for when I asked Gail, which is another story altogether.) (So it is Devine protection!)Friends and family: when I read your blog, it is clear you have great friends and family. When you remove the trappings of daily life (work etc.,) it's friends and family that really count. Enjoy.Reading about your mom's ability to weed through the closet of life struck a sad note. Gail and I like to think about the mess we will leave our kids, and the junk in the closet they left us etc. I shed a tear when I think of some friends who just lost their house in the Carr Fire in Redding. Sadly the weeding out was done for them. Favorite lines: \”Where the hell is Larry?\” And \”Total fail.\”When Gail reads this blog entry, I can guarantee she will think \”when we visit people, are we good guests? PANIC!Anyway, to the crux of your writing. The primary foci of this writing are dreams and your mother. (At least to me, though I may be reading the tea leaves wrong.) As I visualized how your mom pulls you in your dreams, I tried to come up with a song (as I am want to do.) First up. Dream on. Nope. Then: All I have to do, is Dream by the Everly brothers. Sweet dreams are mad of this. Nope. Nope. Dream Lover…Nope and on and on and on.Then I realized…Your mom is your Dream Weaver.Anyway, will discuss our dreams when we visit. (I have not the courage to write them \”out loud.\” Will need to drink lots of wine first.Please stay safe with the fires.


  2. Dream WeaverGary WrightI've just closed my eyes againClimbed aboard the dream weaver trainDriver take away my worries of todayAnd leave tomorrow behindOh dream weaverI believe you can get me through the nightOh dream weaverI believe we can reach the morning lightFly me high through the starry skiesMaybe to an astral planeCross the highways of fantasyHelp me to forget today's painOh dream weaverI believe you can get me through the nightOh dream weaverI believe we can reach the morning lightThough the dawn may be coming soonThere still may be some timeFly me away to the bright side of the moonAnd meet me on the other sideOh dream weaverI believe you can get me through the nightOh dream weaverI believe we can reach the morning lightDream weaverDream weaver


  3. I had some different thoughts after reading your blog post and Mike’s comments both of whichmake me have to think hard and stretch my brain!- Mike’s Dad had his 82nd birthday on July 20- On July 21 we were also shedding tears as we had the service for Mike's Mom – I hope to be a good house guest when we visit!Looking forward to sharing stories, wine, coffee and doing dishes together!


  4. Great song Michael, Dream Weaver, well suited to the intent of this post. I just returned from the inferno at the lake and I agree it is a sad thing to have the weeding done for you. I've been thinking a lot about fire, family, and flames over the last few days, hopefully I can organize my thoughts into some sort of blog. I'm letting them simmer with me for a while. I'm one of those people who remembers just the edges of my dreams and fights to understand the emotion being explored, what my mind is currently trying to sort though, or adjust to in this life. I find I can usually identify what I am working through and it does inform me on some level. It cracks me up when I think I'm awake but in reality I'm still dreaming. How odd is that?I want to relieve you anxiety, Dante did indeed feed Shaggy, and the neuralgia was thankfully temporary! So far our brave firefighters are keeping the Clearlake fires at bay, hoping they'll have them contained by the end of the week. Good to be home!


  5. Oh my goodness Gail! I had no idea Mike's Dad and my Mom had birthdays one day apart. And then to discover we were all mourning on the same day, missing our wonderful Mom's. It seems we have many things in common, including this stage of life, which brings with it many challenges, but good things too like grandchildren, stability, experience, and wonderful friendships. I'm so looking forward to your visit, spending time with you and Mike, dishes and all! I believe some of the best discussions happen over dishes.


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