Definition of reverie: n. rev•er•ie (ˈrɛv ə ri)
1. a state of meditation or fanciful musing: lost in reverie;
2. a daydream;
3. a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea.
— The Free Dictionary
Mary Cassatt painted a woman contemplating a flower and titled the painting Reverie. I stared at that painting, reproduced in an Impressionist art book, struck by the name, a word unheard for years. I looked around the crowded Starbucks, and everyone was looking at a screen or talking intently to others. I wondered when was the last time I experienced a reverie. Do they exist anymore? Are they like the fabled unicorn, only appearing to young children?
round, red zinnia
smells sweetly of rainy days
tastes of summer
I remember reveries from childhood. One time I toasted a hotdog on a bonfire. It was burnt on the outside and cold on the inside. Afterwards, I felt sleepy, contemplating the fire. I had a twilight dream that I was the hotdog, burnt on the side facing the fire and freezing on the side away.
I remember looking for shells on the shore of Lake Michigan and finding agates, speckled with unusual colors. I wondered if the whole bottom of the lake, under the fish, the algae, the weeds, the shipwrecks and the silt was like a huge, curved agate of jeweled colors. Contemplating an agate with all the blues and greens of the water and the sky, I remembered hearing my father playing a record, the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. With the waves of Lake Michigan freezing my toes in August, I finally understood how a large ship could sink in a November gale on Lake Superior, a lake even more vast than Michigan. Water stretched as far as my eyes could see, and I imagined that Lake Michigan must be like seeing the ocean, immense and powerful.
cold wind blowing
salty like fish on Friday
seaweed between my toes
These days when I close my eyes, I see pictures in my mind from all over the world, places I have seen and places I may never see in my life. They are the stars of my inner eye, icons symbolizing places full of mystery and magic. They are all bounded by one thing. Were I to travel all the way south to South America: glaciers and ocean. All the way north in North America: glaciers and ocean. Along every coastline, more ocean.
I hear, in my inner ear, the songs of the whales, the call of seagulls and happy chirps of dolphins playing, free to travel always in the oceans that surround the continents, the islands of our watery world. I’m haunted by pictures I’ve seen of our oceans crowded with human garbage, stories I’ve read of medical waste washing up on the Jersey Shore, reports of massive numbers of sea creatures dying in the Pacific. I wish I could save the oceans from all our human trash, from nuclear disasters, from toxins, overfishing and pollution, because oceans are the cradle of life. Without our oceans, our world would have no ends, no edges, no reveries at the beauty of its limitless vastness.
Glaciers calving in the sea
Salt on my cheeks
Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham
Note: Inspired by the weekly Līgo Haībun challenge offered by Ese’s Voice and Ye Pirate. Thanks to Cindy Knoke for her kind permission to use her photograph of Patagonia. For people as fascinated by glaciers as I am, you can see an Alaskan glacier calving here.