As I turned toward the door of the cathedral I glanced back to see my late father walking beside me. We stepped into the brightness from the leadlight windows as he became someone else – a stranger. I would not be able to talk to Dad today.
A bridge to the other side of the river lay just outside the heavy doors. My Father as stranger declined to cross, disappearing around a corner without a glance back. I would have to walk this bridge alone, but he had been at my side all along, I took great comfort in that. The river water below was brown, flush from earth dredged in by storms and mudslides. A black metal grill walkway invited me to take in the caramel rush below as I crossed. It was a long walk but the bridge was strong, I made it to the other side without breaking pace.
I awoke from the dream knowing there will be an important crossing, but I will make it, albeit alone. I saw then that some crossings must be made alone, without the safety of those who watch over us, otherwise we’ll never find out what we’re made of. I thought it generous of my Dads spirit to accompany me so far.
Most of us do it at some time in our lives – cross a bridge without looking back, change cities, empty the closet of all of our clothes or just burn the whole house down – anything to make the journey into the new world. We need to shed our skin or be suffocated by a life we’ve outgrown.
I don’t know how I came to the edge of that bridge, but I know it was for me. Time to cross, time to not know what lays before me, just that this foot belongs here, and the next and the next. This is the place of immanence and vulnerability: becoming.
Nations and cultures go through such changes, one world dies as another is born. There are many deaths and births that await us all. I know what needs to be born, more than I understand exactly what it is that needs to die. Thats a good question to ask myself now: what needs to die? Perhaps its a question we should all be asking of our culture. I think there is a lot we need to let go of.
An apocalypse echoes across this new year. I’ve no doubt armageddon will come for some, perhaps even many. As the bloom of the modern world continues to unfold, indigenous people continue to disappear. For many the End of Days has been going on for millennia.
I trust that when I arrive at the other side of this river, whatever its really made of, I’ll be gentler. I know I’ll be closer to life and to death. In the dream I saw myself walk a snake winding path down to the edge of the river. The spring forest leaves danced in the light wind, welcoming me to the other side. My Dad was not there, but I missed him a little less. I was on my path, with the living. My pace quickened.