The Daily Rave
The picture at left is a piece of jewelry that I rendered in Paint Shop Pro . . .after having a dream that I was seeking help for a problem about which I have no recollection. Actually, I took it for one of those dreams where you have a problem to solve at work, but you enter into a sort of extended metaphor of the problem and somehow arrive at a solution. It might be called a translucent dream, because I can't say that it was all that lucid, but I had a certain awareness that it was a dream -- which I forgot frequently throughout the course of the vivid visualization. It was quite a colorful dream: Mark Campbell used to call them Early Technicolor Dreams -- the kind that don't look like normal color vision, but more like rich color photographs -- or a day in the summer when you're wearing the old, green-tinted sunglasses -- or maybe like a day in The Matrix.
The surroundings or setting of the dream was in a place that looked like the Garden of the Gods or somewhere else in the Rockies above Colorado Springs, maybe up Cheyenne Mountain or towards [Zebulon] Pike's Peak. It had that dry, rocky appearance of the Garden, though -- or maybe more like one of those artist villages like Boulder, Colorado or Bisby, Arizona. I'm seeing a regularity here, but I don't think I'll post it with this story.
Anyway, I was on a dusty path with that reddish Martian Terrain look that the Arch has in the Garden or somewhere around the rock that looks like some kind of giant head -- it could have been one of those old farm access roads in the Georgia Plains, too, where they have that red clay; but it would have had to be during one of those droughts when the cracked soil crumbles and turns to powder.
There were people around me -- a lot of them -- with typical Midwestern casual wear like plaid flannel shirts -- or maybe just the tartans that look like the flannel shirts (you would have been crazy in the blinding sun of the dream to wear flannel, but dreams don't have to make sense, do they?).
These people on this colored landscape seemed genuinely interested in helping me, and were gathering around me like some kind of desert workgroup. There was the feeling of concern around me, like they all wanted to help, but beyond a certain specialization that they had -- they could only commiserate. Then one of them stepped forward in a sort of cream-colored skirt and white blouse that positively radiated in the bright sunlight. Everything seemed to glint and my vision was blurred as though the thick dust were in my eyes or that I had been crying -- the same kind of effect that you see when they film through a lens with petrolatum smeared around the edges. The effect made sense, as though sweat kept rolling into my eyes: I had the sensation that my skin was fevered -- like the roasting after-effect of sunburn. Maybe I had a slight cold (catarrh, grippe) whose influence I was no longer able to notice after I awakened.
This glowing figure, a woman with dishwater blond hair (as we used to say in Central Indiana) walked up to me with an animated sub-group who seemed quite encouraged and said, "Here, just put this on, and you'll be all right." People around her nodded and murmured in movie-style peas-and-carrots. I put the tether around my neck, and someone seemed to be helping me hook the crude fastener in the back.
As I had the amulet or pendant in my hand, I caught glimpses of it so that I noticed several basic figures in color -- a red button in the middle and green extenses around the edges. I noticed a very distinctive rope-braid etching around the edges of the crude silver. I later identified the individual stones -- a garnet in the center with a fine-dactyled ring setting, and inlaid turquoise forms that surrounded it. The silver seemed like the kind that you see from souvenirs of South American villages -- not like the fine Sterling that you see in the urban United States.
When I first awakened, I thought little of it -- hmm . . . a curious dream . . . and it was virtually forgotten. Later, though, it kept resurfacing until I thought to investigate it. I still do upon occasion -- I've found some old Russian pieces that resemble it -- but they are all in gold and feature clearer stones. I went to several exotic stores (without benefit of the image above), but I didn't find anything like it. One shopkeeper had me draw a rough pencil sketch in the store, but asked me to tell him what the materials were. I found it curious that none of the people with whom I spoke seemed to think it peculiar that I was searching something that I had only dreamt -- they treated my strange request as though I had told them, "I lost my catalogue."
The fellow who had me make a rough drawing in pencil suggested that it looked Navaho in a lot of ways, but then said, "No, I'm not sure -- there's something about it that makes that not quite right." He stared at it for a bit and added, "It can't be Navaho because all their jewelry has stones that are on the Medicine Wheel."
"What?" I asked, being wholly unfamiliar with formal studies of Native American Culture (except what one may learn walking around catching people here and there who tell you this thing and that; informal field work?) He made a smacking noise with his lips and then raised a finger in the air as if to say, "Wait just a minute." He ran off quickly and then returned with a big book that had a chart in it, "Garnet is on the Medicine Wheel -- I was wrong."
"So you think it is Navaho?" I asked.
"It could be . . . " he answered, "but, no, I don't think so -- there's still something wrong."
I didn't go back to that shop (near the Woodmont Triangle in Bethesda, Maryland) -- not because of any negative experience -- just because it isn't something that occurs to me on a regular basis. I had been thinking about it one day when I passed the Bethesda Farmer's Market. It must have been Spring or Fall because it was temperate -- not the nasty cold spray of a Washingtonian Winter -- nor the sweltering heat of Summer that afflicts the area around August. There were tables set up outside, and I remember the event like a delimiter of the season -- either one of the first days for such an event -- or one of the last ones.
I was looking at stones that day -- there were a lot of them -- particularly at the table of an Indian (Eastern, from the country India) merchant. He had huge eggs (not to say oolitics, but just to remark on the shapes) of turquoise that left a striking impression at just the sight. He also had some curious red stones -- some of them moonstones, I think, but the smaller ones seemed less rosy and more ruby. Anyway, my eyes flashed past crude silver, large lumps of turquoise and little bubbles of red as we casually conversed and I bought a few decorative minerals -- mostly I remember the amethyst, similar to an oolitic that I had hired cut in half as a friendship bond present for and between Mark Campbell (mentioned above) and Rick Kirby, a journalist that I can't seem to interest in Internet communication.
We started talking about my dream and the strange talisman that I was awarded by the people. It hadn't started out as a detailed description or elaborate conversation on the dream, but he asked me about the size of the piece, and I said, "When they gave it to me, I held it comfortably in the palm of my hand."
"Who were T h e y?" he asked.
So I told him a little more about the dream.
"I can have this made for you in India," he said, pushing out his lower lip, "It won't cost more than $40 in American money -- but you must promise not to be disturbed if it costs as much as $50."
So, in the context of our agreement, I came home and later that evening I made the above painting. We made several arrangements to give him a diskette with the JPEG image, but none of them worked. I later called his office persistently until I reached him and he told me that a full-sized FAX would be sufficient because he knew what the materials were in the pendant. He didn't call and I didn't see him again. Some people have told me that they think I simply designed some jewerly without charging anything.
I used to have this guy's business card around here -- maybe I still do -- but since I wouldn't be doing him any favors with this kind of advertising, I'm not going to identify him specifically. Who knows what could have happened to him? Maybe he was just too embarrassed by how much he underestimated the work -- maybe he was trying to hint at payment in advance -- if so, I wish he'd just been specific. I could have easily sent him a check and then waited for it to clear. I don't think most outdoor bazaars take credit cards -- if they do, I'm not sure that I want to use one where they tear down the show at the end of the day. I would have come to his store had he said it were necessary.
To sum things up at this altogether late hour at which I seem to be writing regularly, I'd still like to have it made. So many of the jewelers in DC have started drooling when I ask about having it made, and they pretty much balk at mentioning any prices, that I've stopped approaching the shops with all the glitz in the windows.
. . . but if anyone could help me to seek my fortune without losing one . . .
Copyright (c) 2001 Email Ernie Cordell