In my dream, I am hiking up a mountain. I am very high up; the wind is cold and dry. The path is hard stone, not gravel but the solid rock of the mountain itself. There are no trees at this height, no weeds, not even soil; just steep, rough, bare rock. The path winds among boulders and outcrops, and often I have to use my hands to climb. The view behind me is probably spectacular, but I don’t look up. The path requires my full attention.
I come to a place where the path levels off, and I meet a man there. He is grizzled and old, but lean and strong. His eyes, his face, the muscles on his arms, and his gnarled legs and feet all recall to me the rugged gray stone of the mountain; it is as though this man had been made for this place, out of the materials at hand. He stands waiting, wearing a tunic, a simple staff in his hand. He does not smile, nor does he frown, but he stands and waits with quiet regard as the wind tugs at his grizzled beard. I am not afraid of him, but I treat him with deference.
“Can you help me find my way?” I ask him.
“Yes. Where do you mean to go?” he replies.
“To the promised land,” I tell him. I do not know at the time why I chose those words, but I know as I hear them leave my lips that they are true.
“You are on your way,” he says, and gestures behind him. Then I realize that the flat place is the mountaintop, and I can see into the valley below.
I am so high that as I look down I can see puffy white clouds hovering over the valley floor. But for the shadows of the few clouds the valley is bathed in the brightest sunshine, and the air is brilliantly clear. A river winds over the valley, bordered on both sides by emerald-green fields. The fields turn to woods further from the river, and the woods cover the foothills and come partway up the mountains on each side. I see a hawk circling above the river; sheep dot the pastureland.
It is all very distant, but also very sharp and distinct. I do not see, but know somehow, that further down the valley there are homes. Among them is my home.
This is my dream, and unlike most of my dreams I have not forgotten it, though it has been years since I dreamed it. I can still recall the mountain, the man, and the valley in my mind.