Then I woke up. It was a dream. A nightmare.
Often, I can’t figure out the settings of my dreams. It could have been the Colorado Rockies. We took our young family there when our oldest was 12 and our youngest was 5 — the six of us on a cross-country trip in our Ford Taurus wagon, with our luggage strapped to the top.
Or maybe it was the curvy, narrow roads in Ecuador when I went to visit our daughter there — roads that made it impossible to see oncoming traffic, and yet vehicles passed each other with abandon.
I have been lucky enough to travel through a variety of terrains. There is the Atlantic Ocean, cold and crashing against the rocks in Maine and at Cape Cod. There is the ocean of my youth “down the shore” in New Jersey and Long Island. There is the warm, inviting ocean at South Carolina where we once vacationed and at Miami Beach where my grandmother once lived.
And the west coast — the mountains and ocean along Highway 1; the crowded, busy area around Los Angeles and San Francisco; the cold, windy, kite-flying shore at the Pacific Ocean near Portland.
And between the coasts: the deserts, the farmlands, the small towns and the Midwestern cities. Then there is Las Vegas popping out of nowhere with its garish hotels and other worldly architecture. And New York City with its Statue of Liberty and its huge skyscrapers, literally scraping the sky.
There are all the lovely lakes and rivers — of course Lake Erie, the Huron River and the mighty Mississippi and the Ohio River at Cincinnati and the Olentangy River in Columbus.
And there is Dallas, which until now I only knew as the place Kennedy was shot, but which now holds pleasant memories of my grandchildren playing.
So where did my recent nightmare take place? Where do all my nightly dreams happen? Often, they are in houses I cannot recall ever being in when awake. Mostly, the dreams themselves recede as I awaken, and I cannot remember them at all. And for much of the night, I have no idea whether I am dreaming or not.
Still, that bus high in the mountains woke me up with a residual feeling of fear which did not go away for quite a while.
It left me, well, very happy to be in Norwalk. As I walk around this spring, I marvel at the beauty of it all. The colors of the flowers on the bushes and trees are vibrant. The trees are freshly green. The birds are plentiful, and their chirping is loud and done with gusto. Squirrels, chipmunks, even the dogs that frolic in their yards and bark at me as I go by — it’s all wonderful.
I hope you are enjoying it. I know Jim Busek already wrote of the beauty of this May, and I agree.
I was very glad to wake up from my dream and realize I was right here in Norwalk. I am glad to be here, and nowhere else. And I am especially glad not to be on that dangerous mountain road in my dream.
Unlike Busek, I will have to wait until Thanksgiving to have a day off from writing my column, but I am still glad it’s May.
Debbie Leffler is a free-lance writer who lives in Norwalk. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.