My New Hampshire house faces the Ossipee Mountains and I find that my dreams are more intense when I am here. Lately I’ve found myself having those rare dreams in which one finds oneself among total strangers all of whom seem to be acquainted with the dreamer. People come and go in a casual manner like relatives in old home movies.
I take comfort from these dreams. "My father’s house has many mansions." Here in New Hampshire, sleeping on the island, I sense my kinship with other dreamers.
Carl Jung believed that it’s possible for all sleeping people to share the same dream. His vision of a "universal unconscious" also worked across time: Jung thought it was possible for people to dream of the past and future. He surmised that all cultures throughout history are connected by means of the universal unconscious.
Jung got some of the impetus for this idea from Jacob Boehme, the 16th century German mystic who wrote a treatise on the invisible but present energies of God entitled "The Signature of All Things". A "signature" is, among other things, the stitching that holds the binding of a book together. Boehme saw that God holds everything together, both visibly and invisibly.
The American poet Kenneth Rexroth wrote a remarkable three part poem called "The Signature of All Things" which you can find in the Collected Poems of Kenneth Rexroth, edited by Sam Hamill and Brad Morrow, and published by Copper Canyon Press.
My dreams by the lake are influenced by the forest and perhaps by my nightly swims. Perhaps the feeling I want to share is best conveyed by these opening lines from Kenneth Rexroth’s poem.
I will go now for my nightly swim.
THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS
My head and shoulders, and my book
In the cool shade, and my body
Stretched bathing in the sun, I lie
Reading beside the waterfall–
Boehme’s "Signature of all Things."
Through the deep July day the leaves
Of the laurel, all the colors
Of gold, spin down through the moving
Deep laurel shade all day. They float
On the mirrored sky and forest
For a while, and then, still slowly
Spinning, sink through the crystal deep
Of the pool to its leaf gold floor.
The saint saw the world as streaming
In the electrolysis of love.
I put him by and gaze through shade
Folded into shade of slender
Laurel trunks and leaves filled with sun.
The wren broods in her moss domed nest.
A newt struggles with a white moth
Drowning in the pool.
The hawks scream,
Playing together on the ceiling
Of heaven. The long hours go by.
I think of those who I have loved,
Of all the mountains I have climbed,
Of all the seas I have swum in.
The evil of the world sinks.
My own sin and trouble fall away
Like Christian’s bundle, and I watch
My forty summers fall like falling
Leaves and falling water held
Eternally in summer air.