Crossroads

Cashtown Corners Cropped

Last night I dreamed I was at a crossroads.

A literal one that I used to know fairly well growing up (though in the dream I was seeing it from above, which I never have viewed it from in real life), and a figurative one I’ve been standing at in life for several months now.

It’s funny, that particular intersection has turned up in dreams before, though I think this was the first time I looked at it from above in a dream, too. There’s not much going on at the actual site – there used to be a gas station that I’m not sure even still exists – but three of the four branches were where I spent much of my travel time as a kid. One led home, one led to high school and towns that had actual places in them like movie theatres or department stores, and one led to the school where my dad worked. I think we also went that way to go visit my grandparents, too.

That fourth branch, though, I know we occasionally drove that way, but I can’t really remember where it leads, or what it looks like on the other side of the hill. I guess in whatever’s left of my kid-brain, that direction holds the unknown; the unfamiliar. Not scary, exactly, but there is a bit of anxiety attached to it, because I don’t know it nearly as well as the tried, tested and true routes.

My dream eventually put me back in high school, or at least in the building as a former student, if not a current one. So I guess it decided to go with the route most travelled, too.

Except for the route home, of course. No matter which way we were coming from, we always ended up on the same stretch beyond that particular intersection.

In life, I have the feeling that I’ve been taking the known routes all too often, as well. And there’s nothing wrong with that, exactly, but for quite some time now I’ve just been standing at that intersection, staring at the hill that I’m not quite sure what’s on the other side, and then glancing at the other paths that I have a better idea about. I’m pretty sure I know where those lead, and what will happen while I’m on them. But if I take one of them, even for a few steps, I’d still have to come all the way to this intersection in order to change my route. So I have to be certain that I don’t want to go over the hill and check things out over there. Because every time I think I want to try, it takes longer to get back to the crossroads than it did before.

In some ways, the world moves more slowly now.

Or I do, anyway. I definitely do.

I just have to figure out a way to take a step again – in any direction – without feeling like it’s the end of the world if I choose wrong.

I also think it’s getting harder and harder to choose anything BUT the unknown path, which is also contributing to my long hesitation here. I haven’t quite gotten to the point where I understand that, even if I have to come back to this intersection again after going the way I know less about, the NEXT time I’m here, I’ll have all the information I need to make a new choice; a choice based on all the facts. I’ll know what’s on the other side of the hill, and I’ll know where all the other paths lead. That alone is good reason to take the first step.

Now I just have to do it.

In other news, I had a kind of cool experience this morning, thanks to my Facebook memory feed. Four years ago tonight, I was walking home from the subway and as I passed one of the closed storefronts along my route, I saw this little face looking up at me:

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I fell instantly in love, and stopped to take the picture, and glance into the store to see if I could locate the little one’s person. I couldn’t see anyone, but I assumed they were probably in the back getting ready to leave for the night. I would later worry that someone had left their doggie locked in the store alone overnight, and entertain thoughts of going to break the door and get myself a new dog, because anyone who would do that to a pet (aka dependent family member) didn’t deserve to have one, anyway.

I did check in the morning on my way to work, and saw no doggie in the window, so that was good. I never actually saw that dog again.

Until I stumbled across the picture in my feed this morning and had a confused moment when I thought it was Brody.

When I took that photo, I wouldn’t meet Alysia for another year and a half…more, actually. I had no idea that a little puppy who would look so much like that random one would one day come to live with me and become the newest love of my life.

Maybe I glimpsed my future that night?

Maybe I should keep my eyes open for a big bag of money next time?

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