Last night I had a really remarkable dream. Usually I find that people generally don't care about other people's dreams, but this one was significant and I don't want to forget about it, so I'm putting it up here.
In my dream I was with myself as a young child in a strange and foreign place. It was like Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" -- we were outside in this barren wasteland, me and myself as a kid and many other people, on this dirty road next to a gully or something, stark and empty. There was a body in a plastic bag off to the side. And yet it wasn't a threatening environment, really -- it's just where we were.
So I was with this other version of myself as a little kid, and I was there to protect him and watch over him. I felt a strange love for him, as he was myself and yet someone totally different. Yet his physicality was so familiar to me. At one point I asked him if he thought we looked alike, and he laughed and said no. I remember walking along holding his hand and just chatting and moving through the day.
I don't think I've ever felt such paternal feelings before, consciously or not. As I've mulled over this dream today I keep thinking about different facets of my life that were expressed by it. Current facets as well as things I can't begin to grasp: the idea of fatherhood, of being responsible for a child, of feeling that innate connection, of seeing someone else with your very features. Knowing someone as intimately as anyone possibly could, because you knew and loved them from the start. Yet unlike fatherhood, in my dream I loved this kid because I knew he was me and that things would work out for him and he would be happy. I knew he would have a sense of humor and that the body he would grow into would be mine.
Anyway, it was a complicated stew of emotions and thoughts, from walking around an alien place with a little kid who was and was not me. It was oddly serene, and I felt all right when I woke up. This dream, though, took a lot of threads in my life and knotted them up in a way that I can't quite untangle.