One of the most disappointing things, to me, is waking from a dream in which a song was being sung, that seemed like a well-known traditional song of some sort, only to realize that it was my own, crafted in dreamworld, and was not well-known. I never seem to remember the entire song, only a hook, or fragment, which would normally be enough. “What’s that song that goes ‘la di da da’?” But no one knows the song but me. There’s no “what’s that song.” No one to ask.
As soon as I realize that it’s a dream song, I try to go back to it. For me, dream memory is very body-position dependent. If I can get myself back into the exact same position I was in just prior to waking, I can sometimes go back and retrieve a detail or two, and pull them with me into consciousness. But a song is a complex structure. Harmonies, rhythms, lyrics… even in a wakeful state it has always been hard for me to capture these aspects of a song literally and write it down, or to otherwise describe it adequately. I don’t hear harmonies very well, I can’t listen to something and tell you it’s a diminished seventh; I have to hope to remember each note and then reassemble them and figure out what they are.
Same with lyrics. I’ve said many times that I don’t know the words to any song. It’s kind of true. Not completely, of course, but pretty much so. It’s especially difficult if it’s in a foreign language that I don’t know well.
So the challenge for me to remember a song from a dream is doubly difficult.
This morning, in the wee hours – as I write this, it’s 4 AM – I woke from such a dream. It was an exuberant song, a hopeful song, for the future, but mournful of the past. Sung by two men, it seemed to be called simply “Costa Rica.” When I emerged from the dream, it was just being explained to me. It was a colonial folk song, with specific choreographed movements that helped to tell its story, and the two singers were explaining to me the symbolism of the choreography. “It is a song to commemorate the incredible friendship between our two countries…” “In this section, we stand shoulder to shoulder, but look in opposite directions, searching, each for our own homes and loved ones, who are not here with us, and our voices are raised from low to high, to express the hope we have that we will find them.”
This particular song was sung in a foreign language. It would be easy to say Spanish. But I don’t remember what the other country was. If it was Uruguay, say, then ok, it was Spanish. But if it was a South or Central Asian country, as it seemed, it could have been something else. I don’t know. It just occurred to me that it could have been the Philippines, in which case it could have been sung in Spanish. Hmmm.
Anyway, all that remains is this. Two men singing the words, “Costa Ricaaaaa!”, and then vague bits and pieces. I’ve asked (prayed) that I be brought back there, some day, to the place where the two men were singing so soulfully. Until then, I go forward with a feeling that I’ve been there, that I’ve had this experience, that I’ve visited this place and seen and heard these things. This alone enriches my life. But I pray to visit there again, and to actually learn, and come to know, this song, and all that it stands for.