Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I dreamt of an angel today.

Since it was a dream, our familiar laws of time and space obviously did not apply. So this may have happened over many years. Or in the blink of an eye.


This was a fairly new angel. Still had all his feathers. His first trip back home. To earth. The inauguration, consecration, institutialization and benediction of an angel takes time. And can be gruelling. So he started out on his trip somewhat absent-minded. He had also become accustomed to the quiet setting in heaven. Where noone locked their doors. And the only sound you would hear were the whistles from the train in the morning, as it pulled into the station with a fresh batch of angel material.

Therefore, as he descended further and further, he became somewhat anxious when he started experiencing the hustle and bustle of the earthly life again. He realized that he had simply forgotten all about how frantic life could get down here. Well, at least he had been paying attention in angel orientation. This wasn't going to unseat him. Not his newfound stoic self.

Finally, he came down through the clouds, and kind of hovered just above the houses and the streets, the telephone poles and the trees. Funny how being thirty feet in the air changes your perspective, he thought. He started to look for his destination, but soon realized that he had strayed quite a distance during the descent. It looked like he had still a very long way to go. He had, in his absentmindedness, simply gone back home. Instead of where he was supposed to go.

The angel started to float towards his destination. He hadn't quite mastered that flying thing, so he kind of just floated along. Which was fine by him. Granted, it took him much longer getting between places. But instead, he got to look at all the strange games people play. He actually looked forward to seeing interesting and amusing things while he floated to his destination.

But what he saw was hardly interesting, and definetly not amusing. He saw boredom and stupidity, depression and anger, and even cruelty. He remembered the world as being more colorful, somehow. They seemed to be using way too much gray.

Nothing, however, could prepare him for what waited for him at the end of his trip. As he approached the house, which was his destination, he kind of rolled by this large, old tree. He liked trees, but wasn't too good with their names. This was one of these thick, really, really tall trees, with a large and wide crown of fresh, dark-green leaves. And almost at the very top, there was something moving.

At first, the angel thought it was a squirrel. They had lots of squirrels in heaven, so he wasn't really intrigued with them anymore. He had been fascinated when he first saw them, because they did not exist where he came from. But now he had become sort of blasé about squirrels, and had therefore almost floated on by, when he realized that this was not a squirrel at all.

It was a bird! And not just your every-day run-of-the-mill bird. No. This was an exceptional bird. Small, but graceful, with brightly colored feathers and beautiful wings. When the angel looked closer, the bird turned its head and looked straight into the angel's eyes. For a moment, the angel felt as if he would fall to the ground. Somehow, this little bird's gaze jolted him. Even frightened him. He saw in its eyes so much sadness. And grief. And compassion. And love. he had to use all his strength to gather himself. But just as he had somewhat regained his stoic composure, the bird began to sing.

The song was the most beautiful thing that the angel had ever heard. And he had been living in heaven for a long time. The notes seemed to carry with them all the burdens of the earthly life, but at the same time they did something to the angel's soul. He became scared. He tried to fight it. But as the bird sang on, the angel slowly lost his perfect composure.

He began to cry. The tears flowed from his eyes, and his soul filled to the brim with melancholy and unfettered feelings for the little bird and its song. He cried so loud that the houses and the streets and telephone poles and the trees trembled, ever so slightly.

And that's when I woke up. The light had just turned green. I made a right turn and drove down the street.