One Day, One Dream

(Photo by Trudy Wischemann)
Local writer of the column 'Notes From Home'

I live one day at a time
I dream one dream at a time
Yesterday’s dead, and tomorrow is blind
So I live one day at a time.

Willie Nelson

“I live one day at a time,” Joan Baez was singing in my head one morning last week, then “I dream one dream at a time.” The night before I’d listened to her album from 1969, “One Day at a Time,” though it felt dangerous to go back that far at this moment. Joan’s voice and songs have taken over my mind many times in the past, but I risked it in search of comfort music.

I didn’t know that Willie Nelson had written the song until I looked at the CD insert. According to the liner notes, it was the first track on one of his earliest albums, “Country Willie” produced in 1965; that basic philosophy must have served him well, however, since he’s still alive, praise God. But the song entered me this time because I find myself suddenly living two dreams.

I am writing this before my last trip to my mother’s home, where my sister and niece have accomplished its emptying in record time. Her mobile must be sold to pay for the assisted living facility she has moved into, and all her worldly possessions, except what she needs there, have now been distributed.

From two previous trips, my home is now filled with memories, recorded mostly on paper: my aunt’s journals, our family photographs, letters, birth announcements, obituaries. There are some small artifacts the size of the lives we used to live, and I treasure them for the reminder of what I hope we can resurrect. The life, singular, of my mother’s side of the family, is suddenly residing with me. The hope of making it all make sense hovers over my days, bumping aside my hope for resurrecting the small farm pattern of local land ownership and democratic control of our region. I’m sure you remember me writing about that, although it feels vague to me at the moment.

In both dreams, yesterday is not dead: it pulses through my veins just like it does yours, whether you can feel it or not. Tomorrow also is not blind, as I’m reminded every time I talk with my geographer friend who is tracking our projected demise from climate change and corporate takeover of the world, with significant costs to his health. We can see what’s coming if we look.

Making sense of family history might be even harder than accomplishing the land reform my first dream is suggesting. But in one 3 a.m. wrestling match, as the pictures and stories started shaping an outline, and the cover and title for a book appeared, joy began to rise up. And then the role of land appeared: the soggy homeplace on the Little Hanaford near Centralia, Washington, the desert homeplace in Imperial Valley, and my aunt’s little farm on Lincoln Creek. She bought that farm long after her father, my grandfather, left the desert and returned to Washington to shovel coal for the rest of his life.

Then another book showed up, reappeared: the little book my geographer friend has been imploring me to write about the influence of land tenure on us all. Suddenly it had a new title: “homeplace.” There are now three books on my desk waiting to be worked on, but the relation between them is clearer, their purposes connected.

Yesterday’s not dead, and tomorrow is not blind, but the dream that dreams me—the dream of unity, of wholeness, of being able to feel and express gratitude and awe for the real mystery of existence even as we try to unravel the tangled threads—is one dream. I don’t know, maybe it’s the same dream that dreams you. But what I do know is that I can only follow that dream one day at a time. Wish me luck.

Trudy Wischemann is a dreamer who writes. You can send her your visions of wholeness c/o P.O. Box 1374, Lindsay CA 93247.

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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