I had a dream once—I think I can almost say it is one of my all-time favourites—in which I am moving through an underground passage. It was larger than a rabbit burrow and was probably made by man. There were things down there like old chests. I never got to see what was in those. There was something magical about this place. I knew that if I kept going I would discover wonderful landscapes that I’d never seen before. Also it was, being enclosed, safe. It felt very safe, despite the potential lurking monsters and small, sharp-toothed mini-monsters that could snap at my ankles. But I knew there were none of these here. It was dark and light, somehow at the same time. It was dark and intimate, yet I could easily find my way. Sometimes there were other people, sometimes not. It didn’t seem to matter to me one way or the other.
At one point I come out of the burrow and I am in the hills, with grassy meadows, a sunny sky, and acres of green all around me. This is nice, I look around, and then I go back down. I feel more comfortable down there. It is infinitely more interesting. Has so much more potential.
I follow a tunnel that goes even deeper. A sort of sub-basement. There are some people down here, all heading in the same direction. I follow along for a while. Strangely, we come out into another outside landscape. Again, I take a deep breath, enjoy the scenery, and go back into the burrow. The others stay outside.
I have the feeling I am supposed to be going somewhere specific and that time is running out. So I concentrate on moving through the tunnel and intuiting which branches I should take. It seems like I am going deeper all the time; each time I come to a branch and make a choice, the path I choose leads down. But maybe they ALL lead down. Maybe they all lead to the same place.
Unfortunately, I wake up before I get there.
I wonder if this could be a metaphor for my life? Going deeper and deeper within until I find—what? My true self? My centre? The seed-centre of the mandala? I am aware that time is in fact running out, and perhaps I should spend less time looking at the green landscapes, and more time in the burrow.
Time runs out and then—I wake up? Perhaps I can wake up before that, and will see where I have ended up.
This word brings to mind the complex nature of the English language, and how very easy it is to misunderstand what is really being said, especially when words sound the same but mean very different things. I’m thinking back to my uncle Jack’s funeral.
We gathered afterward at the Legion in Westport, just up the hill from where the service had taken place. Some of us were standing together talking about what was happening next and, at one point, someone said: “Well, we’re going to Newboro.” We went on to discuss the details of how people would get to the little town, some nine or ten kilometres away, where my uncles’ home was. One of the little kids, my cousin Helen’s three-year-old son Brett, was sort of rambling around people’s legs, cat-like. He seemed to be processing something but there was so much to process there was no telling what it might have been. Then Brett finally looks up and asks my brother: “What’s a burrow?”
Everyone in our immediate circle starts throwing in their interpretation, anxious to clear up this question and give Brett the most complete picture of what a burrow is. Some of them even accompany their verbal description with physical actions an animal might make, like scurrying around, diving into its home. I stand in silence and watch as the whole thing plays out. It’s clear that the adults are delighted with their charades—yet Brett, while seeming to be amused by their antics, remains confused.
Finally it clicks, and I share my insight with my brother and cousin: “He’s trying to understand where we’re going, and what to expect next. He wants to know what a burrow is because he’s heard us all saying that we’re going to Newboro after this.”
Everyone cracked up! It was as if an aperture had opened and everyone got it, including little Brett, who finally received the explanation he was looking for. And we adults laughed and laughed, imagining him imagining us all diving down into some little hole in the ground, in our suits and ties and dresses—wondering about the bunnies we might meet up with!
“Burrow” is word #160 and can be found in Volume Two on pages 51 and 52.