First Encounter With the Dream Sage

I’m walking with a person from work down a suburban-rural road, with lots of vegetation and trees. I don’t know where we’re returning from, but we are passing what in the dream I knew to be my house. The house itself is set back from the road some distance, and we are passing the fenced-in bank of trees and ivy that meets the road at almost eye level. It is night, but somehow not dark.

Sitting on the other side of the fence, nestled in the ivy, is what seems to be an infant boy, wearing a loincloth and focusing intently on something across the road. He’s adorable, and, wondering if he’s been abandoned here, I say (slight baby talk) “Hello!”

He looks up at me and smiles politely. There is something unsettling about the child. His face is incredibly wrinkled, especially around the eyes. I notice that he is sitting cross-legged, holding a tiny staff, and that what I took at first for a diaper is, in fact, more of a loincloth. “What’s your name?” I say, still assuming I’m talking to a baby. It looks back up at me, with what seems to be thinning patience, and shakes its head, maybe shrugging slightly.

“Oh, you don’t have a name,” I say, considering that the baby’s too young to have a name, but beginning to suspect a significance far more profound. It strikes me that for an infant this creature is surprisingly expressive, and obviously understands what I’m saying. Its eyes are focused across the road again, but I am blocking its view. In response to my last statement, it speaks, simply, or mybe not at all… The gist is: “No, now, please–” Did it really speak aloud? Or was that my mind’s voice, interpreting the thing’s simple impatient hand gesture, waving me off to one side?

Full realization begins to dawn on me. “Ah.” I say, looking dubiously over my should at the object of this creature’s study. Across the road is a field, at the edge of which rises a wall of trees and vines, greenery both abundant and chaotic. Its gaze seems focused on this organic tangle. I look back into that incredible face. “Of course,” I say, apologetically, reeling from the realization that this is no infant. This being is extremely ancient, extremely wise and powerful. Compared to it, we are the infants. I quickly hurry away, not wishing to disturb its contemplation any more, secretly hoping that someday such a being will be my teacher.

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