Sunday, October 12, 2014



The Dream of the Stormy Mountain

Years Ago:
* We took a summer family vacation to Colorado.  I can still feel the clear mountain air, the crisp chill it brought.  Thunderstorms crept over the mountains like black panthers and vanished again.  The mountains were grey ghosts, shrouded in mist.  I can still taste the icy mountain water, buckwheat pancakes thick with melted butter and pure maple syrup, and steaming coffee in the morning.  Blue and orange wildflowers sparkled like glitter in the sunrise along the gravel paths. Mulleins, were blooming.  Their flowers were butter yellow, poking up on slender stalks like living prehistoric candles between the jagged rocks.

Our young family went for a scenic drive up Long's Peek.  The road seemed only one lane wide as we snaked up the ancient mountain.  There was no guardrail.  It was a leap of faith to look down.  There were no turn-a-rounds.  The day got progressively colder and greyer we we climbed.  Cotton clouds rolled and tumbled like lamb's wool.  Chill settled over us like a damp blanket.  Was this summer?  Our car rounded a sharp bend.  I looked up, I shouted, "There it is!"    

I am sure my puzzled family wondered what "it" was.  "It" was an instant color reply of a dream!  That solid iron grey mountain top, spikes of pines raking heaven, those windswept clouds frosted in silver and cerulean blue.  I had already seen them in my dream!  I grabbed the camera and quickly captured the shot.  

Wander and Ponder
Reflecting back to experiencing the mountain dream, I remembered shaking myself awake.  At the time, I felt the dream mountain meant something, but what?  I brushed aside the mist in my mind, forgetting, yet not forgetting until now.  I knew, in a time to come, I would take brush to canvas and solidify the frosty moment.  Turning my mental camera lens into clear focus, I remembered the message "Paint Your Dreams" from another dream scene set in my personal art gallery.  "What Dreams?" I questioned.

Back to the Mountain
While trekking slowly on foot along the narrow mountain path, I daydreamed back to learning about meditation.  Zen:  the ever present NOW.  What is space and time as it rewinds, stands still, or fast forwards?  Does time exist at all?  By siting quietly and clearing my mind, meditation's centering discipline helped me to quiet storms of uncertainty inside.  I felt more calm, focused, relaxed and more able to cope with the twenty-four hour on-call job called motherhood.  

As I reflected more, I remembered practicing brush calligraphy and Chinese ink painting just for fun.  Bamboo and mountains were my favorite subjects.  Years ago we all enjoyed art exhibits in Washington, D.C. and watched Tai Chi practice.  Tai Chi looked so compelling to me, like slow motion synchronized concentration.  I wanted to attend Tai Chi class then, but I swept the idea aside with family activities and creative projects overflowing.  "No time, maybe later," as I reached for the ringing phone while the Collie barked and the kids romped.

Painting the Dream Mountain: The Dream That Came Full Circle
Finally the time came to collect art materials and memories.  With three colors and one ancient brush I slashed and burned the image onto the canvas in record time.  I cut the thick pure cerulean blue into the Payne's Grey fog.  I blended the titanium white into the blue until the color glowed like crystal.  I used my favorite brush, worn thin with time and love.  The dream shot straight from the heart effortlessly and with great joy.  I called the painting Silver Lining, symbolizing brighter times ahead.  Healing light shone in the silver clouds behind the silence of the stormy mountain.

The Vision: the dream, the scene, the painting had come full circle.  A physician friend felt that in my dream, I was already present on the mountain.  After wallowing in artist's block, like reconnecting with a lost friend, my explosive painting energy returned while painting Long's Peek. 


Long's Peek Full Circle
We first saw Long's Peek cloaked in grey clouds, recently the same mountain is splashed bright with sunshine.  Someone asked me, "When have you recently practiced stillness and silence?"

In the shadow of Long's Peek:  I felt a quiet and still mind.  I heard a welcome silence, free of cell phones, devices and various, machines as I absorbed stillness and solidity from the ancient mountain.  Gentle exercises of Tai Chi and Qigong practiced while gazing at Long's Peek with a silent group brought meditation in motion to The Dream That Came Full Circle.


* Reprinted, in part from Silver Butterfly:  Create A Vision, Awaken Your Creative Spirit
A Tai Chi Journey with a Mystic Twist, free illustrated  PDF E-book by Dahlis Roy

Related Topics:  Key Words, Tai Chi, Qigong, Meditation

Related Posts:

EnLIGHTENED Travel  (Oct 2014)
Going Within Clouds   (Sept 2014)
Wander and Ponder (Oct 2013)

Travel Light with Tai Chi  (July 2012)
Carry Water Chop Wood (June 2011)

Dahlis Roy:  Visionary Artist, Author, and Tai Chi Instructor

Images by Dahlis
Paintings: Silver Lining:  The Dream of the Stormy Mountain, 1987
Zen Circle, ink brush just for fun, this one has a heart center
Angel on the Mountain, Long's Peek in sunshine and mist, 2014

Tai Chi Moving Stillness, photo by K. B. Wilson