Merriam-Webster’s definition of a DAYDREAM is “a pleasant visionary usually wishful creation of the imagination.”
Wikipedia goes a step further to say: A daydream is a visionary fantasy experienced while awake, especially one of happy, pleasant thoughts, hopes or ambitions. There are so many different types of daydreaming that there is still no consensus definition amongst psychologists. While daydreams may include fantasies about future scenarios or plans, reminiscences about past experiences, or vivid dream-like images, they are often connected with some type of emotion. Daydreaming may take the form of a train of thought, leading the daydreamer away from being aware of his or her immediate surroundings, and concentrating more and more on these new directions of thought.
I often find myself in a deep state of daydreaming. Sometimes these daydreams take on a very realistic pretense, I can literally see myself standing somewhere or accomplishing something and it’s real. It’s standing right in front of me, this thing I’m imagining. Sometimes they take on a very artistic and almost animated state, like a scene from a movie where I’m standing still but all the pieces around me are moving.
Yesterday, on a tricycle riding the 45-minutes back to Colasi from Pandan, I sat in the passenger seat and looked out onto the ocean about 300 yards away, the waves moving so slowly against each other the water almost seemed to stand still, the rice fields came and went in various states of growth, some deep with mud, some being worked over by a man being pulled by an ox with an old-fashioned hand-plow. The villages we passed by quickly, the sound of children’s laughter and the bouncing of a basketball coming and going in simultaneous moments. Grass waving towards the ocean, the sun beating its hard afternoon sun down on our faces, occasionally having to squint even through my sunglasses and the trees and the clouds provided mere moments of respite from the strong rays.
In that moment, I looked down and instead of pavement, I saw dirt beneath our tires. Dirty, brown and uneven and we bounced along the road, the passenger car jumping and jolting at every bump. I reached out from the tricycle (they without doors anyway) and ran my hand along the ground scooping a handful. In my hands the dirt wasn’t brown anymore, instead each grain seemed to stand out more than the next in bright colors. Like small gemstones shining purples, blues, yellows and reds. Instead of the dirt being crude in my hands, it was like the very definition of what I know dirt to be disappeared from my head. I looked down and as if for the first time, it was something I could define for myself. It was smooth and soft, like freshly-washed cotton. It didn’t leave remnants on my fingertips as I brushed and swirled it softly into circles in my hand. It smelled like a fresh bouquet of flowers, the kind of wafting you get when first stepping into a blooming garden. It had weight to it, not a lot, but just enough not to let it fly out of my open palm as we drove along the Filipino countryside.
I lowered my fingers, pointing down to the Earth, and slowly the dirt started falling from my hand. As I looked over my shoulder, it fell in a straight line and shone against the rest of the ground still in its sparkles and bright colors. A trail falling right behind us. Even as my hand should have long run out of dirt, it continued to fall and trail along after us until as I stared behind me, it seemed a separate path was being created alongside the original road.
And a voice inside my head said, “Just because you have always thought a thing was one way, who is to say it cannot be another? You must define for yourself the path you take and that will forever change the trail you leave behind you. Strive to make that trail shine brighter than all the others. Make it your own so that if you were to look behind you, you could always recognize it from all the many others.”
In a moment, one to end it just as quickly as the one to which it had began, I was thrown back into reality. My daydream over. As I looked out to the ocean, the waves still crested one another, the sun was still eclipsing us at turns where the trees gave us shade, and the men were still laboring hard in the fields. The only real difference, that I could tell, was that the road beneath us had been pavement all along, and I looked all around, but the brightly colored trail of dirt, each grain symbolizing a piece of the story, was nowhere to be found.
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