Thursday, March 22, 2018


The water moved in and out. Slowly. Methodically. Miles of coral reef prevented it from forming enough critical mass to make waves. The sun was dropping down, settling into an oceanic horizon. A tiny island with one palm tree appeared only as silhouette courtesy of the sun's back-lighting.

Suddenly something grabbed my wrist, pulling hard. I didn't look down at it because I thought I wasn't supposed to stop looking at the island's silhouette.

It was a dream. But I didn't know it.

I was back in Palau on a familiar beach.

One that was always somehow simultaneously calming and lonely.

The water moved in and out.

I resisted the pull from whatever had caught hold of my wrist, continuing to stare at the island's silhouette, watching the one palm tree lean and move a little. There was something else on the island and that's why I was watching it. If I looked away, even for a moment, that something would get washed away by the water.

But there was a distraction.

I couldn't remember what that something was. I just knew that there was a thing on that island. A person, maybe? Yes. It was a person. One who had been neglected and ignored. One who had done some bad things, and now he needed help. But no one would help him because he had done some bad things. And now he was on an island and if I looked away from him he would be washed away.

It wasn't hard to look at the island, because I loved the island, and I cared about the person on it.

But now there was a distraction.

The grip on my wrist grew tighter, making it more and more difficult to focus on the island. Whatever had a hold of me yanked a little, demanding that I pay attention to it and not to the island.

It was painful. Painful enough that even though I was still looking at the island, I wasn't thinking about it.

The water moved in and out, like a ticking clock reminding me that time was passing and the sun was setting.

It yanked again, more aggressively this time. Finally I looked down, because that seemed like my only option.

And then I saw it. Green thick seaweed that had never been on this beach before had crept across the white sand. I hadn't noticed it because I was looking at the island. The sounds of its movements were muffled by the crescendoing hum of the water moving in and out.

It had crept across the white sand until it reached me. It had wrapped itself around my wrist, tightly, and now it was pulling.

There was a rock nearby, and so I reached for it, hoping to use it as a tool to pry myself free from the seaweed. I struck at the seaweed, trying not to hit my own wrist in the process. I glanced up repeatedly to make sure the island was still there. It was, but the sun was setting and soon it would be impossible to see it.

I called out for help, but I was alone on that beach. The only response came from the whispers of the water moving in and out, attempting to sooth me.

That beach was always simultaneously comforting and lonely.

Eventually the seaweed released, injured in the fight, but more angry than before. I could feel its anger.

I resented the seaweed for stopping me from looking at the island.

Then I woke up.

I lay in bed for a while, my heart racing a little bit, feeling powerless, and like I had failed at something. Like I had failed someone. Even though it really was just a dream.

And then I got up, and got ready for the day. A day in which I would look at the island.

The thing about seaweed is that it's just seaweed.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. This made me cry.

  2. Having read your blog for quite some time, I am tempted to make an uneducated interpretation of your dream. However, I know how important it is to just write sometimes. And I hope that you have been able to feel that release. You are an amazing individual with an amazing capacity for the written word.

  3. As someone who has been the person on the island more than once, thank you for not getting too distracted by the seaweed.

  4. That sounds like an intense dream!

    Last night I woke up laughing and snorting at the dream I had. I was on a tour with a bunch of people - some nosy older women, and a group of guys around my age. One of the guys said to me, "do I have muscles??" and started walking away attempting to show off his butt muscles. Before I knew it there was a group of 5-8 guys who were all competing to have me say they had the best butt muscles, but I could only laugh because they looked like they were walking around trying to hold in their farts. I startled my roommate when I woke up laughing so hard.

  5. It wasn’t until I finished reading that I realized I was holding my breath.

  6. A few nights ago I had a dream that I was on a road trip with you and Mr. Pants and a bunch of other people. At one point, stop for gas maybe, everyone got out of the car to stretch legs except me, so you gave me Mr. Pants to hold. Then you got back in the car, and I was somehow out of it, looking in at you and Mr. Pants who was still sitting in the drivers seat. And you know how dreams flex and change? I could feel this one shifting into something else and I was so sad that I would never see the rest of our road trip. My next dream was being coach to a squad of cheerleaders with magic powers, and it was a little manic going from the quiet road trip to that. Dreams are something kind of special, aren’t they? Thanks for sharing yours with us.

  7. This captures so many emotions without ever being specific. It was beautiful in the way that sunsets are beautiful. Thank you for this. You have a gift.

  8. My friend, I think you need to call Daniel.

  9. I come to this website for the funny, irreverent posts...I stay for the amazing writing like this.

  10. I'm teaching my students right now about how writing can be poetic without looking like a poem. Could I share this post with them as a part of an assignment?

    1. You are more than welcome. Thanks for wanting to.

    2. What a great idea!Especially as we move into national poetry month!I might have to adapt this idea.

  11. Once when I was in Hawaii I was sleeping on a futon outside on the lanai. I had a dream that I had a bracelet on my arm and I couldn't get it off and it felt like it was slithering around my wrist. I woke up and there was a millipede that had wrapped itself around my wrist. I slept inside after that.