We are sacrificed into this world. Not born. We give up something sacred and eternal when we come here, something excruciating to lose. Each of us takes a mortal form and with it the certainty of death. (And along the way there are all those human passions to deal with.)

Our essential selves do not sit easily with this bargain. Life for Death. The calm that we surrender when we assume life-form is not easily forgotten. In our secret dreams we recall the old way of being, before life.

Night is the natural habitat of dreams. They scurry through the haze and do not declare themselves outright. When the sun is occupied on the other side and we fold ourselves into sleep’s embrace, dreams begin their perambulation. They are wild and eternal, indomitable and haunting.

Though they are transparent and made of the volatile elements, their conjurors’ tricks seem real to me. I see the carnival wheel pockmarked with knife strikes, the flaming typewriter, the bedouin’s tent with the serpent softly coiled. There are times when I try to set my compass to detour around. But in truth I cannot avoid it for long: eventually I am dying of thirst. I want to drink at the oasis, mirage or not.

Life is a side project. It is the mysterious whispers that really guide us. What I can imagine is far more real than the things I do by rote. Of course, like other people, I work, I toil, I do things — but this activity takes place many leagues removed.

All this movement between the poles of my existence leaves me deeply exhausted, as if I am being ground down. The by-product of this excruciating process is a fine dust that is all that will remain of my life when it is over. A life. A powder. Dust to dust, as they say.

But they err in the interpretation. This dust that they say is the confirmation of our material being is rather a dust of distillation, a triturate of our essential being. In the end, the dust that we leave behind is not a mute confirmation of our base selves, but a distillation of dreams, the fairy dust of lore. Life is the mechanical process by which we become what we are.

Yes, we are dust, but of the magic kind.

– by Kevin Carrel Footer

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