I was in the Middlesex Fells this weekend and, after crossing over a hill, I walked down into a snow-covered valley in the heart of the reservation.
A ring of leafless trees,
silence and snow,
In Evanescence and Form, Professor Inouye claims “dreams do us the favor of helping us question the realness of the real” (Inouye, 28). And yet, we tend to search for meaning in the details that fade with the day. In her short work, Lady Sarashina attempts to give meaning to her otherwise monotonous life through an investment in a world of fantasy. She claims “I lived forever in a dream world,” articulating that she longed for a lonely, romantic storybook life more than anything the “real” world had to offer (Sarashina, 64). Dreams punctuate her life, and she seems to take them very seriously. For example, after dreaming of Amida Buddha late in her life she concludes: “it was on this dream alone that I set my hopes for salvation” (Sarashina, 107). The attempt to extract significance from dreams is not exclusive to Lady Sarashina or Japanese culture; it seems to be to be utterly human. Dreams are a reflection of the paradoxical human ability to recognize inconstancy and yet, attempt to impose form on the ephemerality to provide ourselves with meaning, even if the meaning is lost on us the next time we wake up.