Sunday, January 8, 2023

These Wonderful Broken Years

 I haven't written here in a while.  Things haven't gone as planned.  Today, I'm writing about a dream that stayed with me after waking this morning.  In the dream, I was in my grandmother's house, as it had been in my childhood.  There were people there, but I don't remember who.  It feels like they were cousins from more current times.  Not that I saw them, just heard voices in the distance.

There was a record album playing on an old-style victrola, though the machine looked brand new with wood-tone sides, an off-white face, and a brass amplifying horn that shone brighter than anything else in the dream.  The music was just background noise, pleasant old-style stuff but nothing worth paying attention to, until the final track began.  It was the kind of orchestral music you'd hear on the old Lawrence Welk show, strings, wind instruments, with female voices, in sweet three-person harmony, singing just the ending phrase of the song - "These wonderful broken years, wonderful broken years, these wonderful broken years."  Not the best lyrics, but fair enough as the closing line of a song.

The entire album track was just that one sentence, like they'd missed the beginning of the song and only recorded the last few seconds.  That was the final song on the album.  Just a fraction of a clip. In the dream, I wondered why it was so short.  I picked up the album to look at the tracks.  There were several full length ones, but that last track, the one I heard so clearly, was just a very short section.  You could see the grooves for all the other songs were normal length, but the final set of grooves was extremely short.  The record label was blurry except for the last song listed, which had the title, in an elegant cursive font, "These Wonderful Broken Years".

I can still hear the music in my mind.  It's a unique dream for several reasons.  First, I rarely remember dreaming, and when I do, it's normally just a hodgepodge of images and events.  If I have a clearly remembered dream, it's usually the result of having a high fever.  Fever dreams are ultra-realistic, and usually nightmarish.  Second, I've never before been able to 'read' in a dream.  See written material, understand it in the dream's context, yes.  But not literally see it, and read it so clearly that after the dream I can still see the record, and the text on it, and have the words be so legible and meaningful.

Third and strangest, that short clip doesn't sound like any song I can remember. It was clear, distinct, and the instruments and voices were beautiful. In my whole life, I have no recollection of ever dreaming actual music with words, much less music that sounded pretty.

I googled the words as soon as I woke up, but there were no exact matches.  The dream is already fading, but the clip of music is still in my head.  I'll play it on my keyboard and save the sound file, to make sure I won't forget the tune.  I really wish the dream had played a whole song.  It's going to haunt my thoughts, wondering why and how the dream was so specific and so realistic.  It had a nice melody, instruments and voice harmonizing well, clearly remembered words and written text that was actually legible.  It feels like there should be meaning to it, but as far as I can tell there's no meaning.  Just an incredibly clear fragment of a dream.

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