Perhaps it’s the full moon. Or the leaves turning from green to gold to brown, falling at my feet. Or Soten returning home to die or reading about Natalie nearly dying. My dreams have darkened and become most vivid and visceral.
But I dreamed this:
They seem to bomb us in the very early hours of the morning. I imagine they know our terror is intensified when we awaken to bombing, disoriented, searching for our shoes and glasses. We cannot respond quickly when we are startled awake, we are unable to raise our hands in protection, or to cover our faces, when we emerge from between worlds.
It came to us that way, perhaps 3:00 a.m. It had been very dark and chilly. I woke her and we stared out the bedroom windows, toward Denver and Cheyenne Mountain, home to millions of people and old, buried secrets.
A deep rumble beneath our feet echoed the aircraft above like an earthquake, like a great machine underground coming to life, with rusty gears grinding and enormous fans beginning to whirr.
You see the flash of light first, like driving westward around a corner in a canyon before sunset, suddenly blinded by the sun, disoriented. We had to turn away.
Time slows and each moment becomes a pixilated frame, life passing in still images.
I smelled it, Fermi’s toxic, acrid chemical cocktail, seeping in through the windows. My airways collapsed. My eyes burned and bled. I mourned every minute I had wasted in my life. I knew there would be no more.
Before the fire, billions of molecules organize into a wave of concussive energy that levels hillsides and houses, slamming into us like a train. Animals run in circles, then collapse. Humans are much too soft for this pressure, much too warm and moist.
Scholars say we have been doing this to one another since Song Dynasty China, roughly 1000 CE. And I suspect those Chinese had warfare in mind more than Shangyuan Festival celebrations.
Connelly, Gillingham and Lazenby in The Hutchinson Dictionary of Ancient and Medieval Warfare, (Routledge, November 1, 1998) describe bombs thus:
“An explosive weapon that uses the exothermic reaction of an explosive material to provide an extremely sudden and violent release of energy. Detonations inflict damage principally through ground- and atmosphere-transmitted mechanical stress.”
I see images of Dresden, Baghdad, Al-Raqqah, Hanoi, Nanjing, Nagasaki, Gaza, and Beirut. I feel the victims’ fear, those standing and facing “mechanical stress” with their soft, pliable, moist bodies, or running away, their skin on fire. I share their knowledge that this is the end.
What else can bombing another mean than that we have abandoned reason and compassion, that we have no idea how to hold our anger, that we lash out with no interest in solutions to a conflict other than to end our own discomfort like children throwing a tantrum?
Back to the dream…
First came the bombers’ growling drone.
Next, the light, so very bright.
Then the smell and the taste like a mouthful of metal filings.
Finally the invisible energy tearing off skin and limbs.
I awoke before the fire as the full moon slipped behind dark clouds.