In a dream I arrived in the dark, not a star in the sky. The moon had set and all I knew is that my car was parked in a hotel lot and I was dog tired. I slumped forward with a suitcase in tow and made my way to the front desk. “Room please,” I said as if in a movie (dreams are haute naturel movies).
I was sent upstairs to the fourth floor where I found my room, slid the card over the electronic eye and opened the door. Immediately I was met by that familiar fragrance of plastic and cleaning fluids. The room looked fine in low light and I didn’t want to make it any brighter. Used the bathroom, brushed my teeth, undressed, and flopped on the bed. Good night.
I slept like the dead, which is weird to think about sleeping in a dream. I woke up groggy, but still in a dream, and made my way to the bathroom. Threw water on my face and looked at my sad self in the mirror. Found my suitcase which was hardly opened but froze with indecision about what clothes to wear. What kind of day is it?
I headed to the blackout curtains which had been fully closed when I arrived the night before. Only a thin vertical crack of light creased the otherwise dark wall covering the window. Literally, I stumbled backward when I opened it.
The sun was at nine o’clock on a byzantine blue shield that met a morning blue floor of waves. “Whoa!” I said out loud in my dream as I caught my balance. On the other side of glass was brilliant light spread evenly across the spectrum but caught in undulating sparkles on waves of water so clear that even from my high perch I could see large rocks on the sandy bottom. Reflexively my hands shot forward to palm the glass in a gesture of greed. I wanted it all. I was overtaken by urgency to get dressed and be out there. Then I woke up.
I confess this was not a dream, at least of mine. Rather, it was Olive’s human, Brian, who imagined such a scene. He told me about it on just such a brilliant day of blue and waves where Olive was walking him along the lake and I greeted them both on my bicycle. He had witnessed a group of tourists stumbling out of a bus at 41 Lakefront Hotel’s parking lot, all of them with their cellphones raised taking photos or videos as they discovered this amazing place to which they had just arrived. He had imagined their joy and awe as they stumbled out of the dark bus and found themselves facing Seneca Lake with its apron of green and flowered public space.
Sometimes it changes us to look at the familiar through someone else’s eyes. David Brooks had an amazing column in the New York Times entitled, “What if We’re the Bad Guys Here?” (August 2, 2023). In it he slips outside his own anti-Trump mindset to view the history of his privileged social caste and the January 6th riot from the perspective of those damaged by American meritocracy. I commend it to you, even as I also commend looking at our own spectacular waterfront again, as if for the first time.