What Story Do You Need Right Now?

Nearly every night I put a bookmark in whatever library book I’ve been reading before turning off my bedside lamp. Some nights when I can’t sleep I sit back up, turn on my light, and read another hour or two. Maybe that’s why libraries sometimes seep into my dreams.

The other night in that delicious not-completely-asleep state called hypnagogia, I found myself walking up the long front steps of my childhood library. I felt happy anticipation as I carried a stack of books to return, knowing I could bring home a freshly enticing stack. I set the books on the returns side of the tall circulation desk, which was as high as my shoulders, so in this make-believe state I was a child again.

I asked the clerk at the desk what story I needed. (I never did this as a kid, I simply found my own books.) She silently lifted a finger and pointed me in the direction of my home away from home — the children’s section. I don’t remember, in real life, ever talking to the children’s librarian or even if there was one. But in my dream the children’s librarian indicated I should sit in one of the miniature chairs at a miniature table. She sat across from me. She wore a white blouse, tucked in, and half-glasses that slid partway down her nose. (Sorry for that stereotype. Or was it more archetype?)

I asked her what story I needed. She didn’t speak either. Instead she reached up to the crown of her head and unzipped. Inside her human costume she flickered through a series of curiously aware creatures, morphing right there in front of me into wildly colorful birds, softly furred mammals, mysterious deep sea beings, until everything settled into one living body. I could see she was showing me herself as a glossy gray seal with large inquisitive eyes. This seal being was beautifully and perfectly who she was, really.  

I woke, as much as one wakes from this state, wondering what the heck this meant. What does a seal mean, symbolically? Do I identify with seals –adept in the water, awkward on shore? Maybe there’s some medium in which I’m more adept than my awkward shore self. Was this a reference to the Scottish folktale, The Selkie Bride? Are there animals hidden in me, in all of us? Why was I asking for a story?

What story do you need right now?

4 thoughts on “What Story Do You Need Right Now?

  1. I am the grateful recipient of a way with words and hence a poet. The story I needed today I wrote this morning. ‘Tis a attached. (Type point very large to accommodate phone reading.) Lovely piece, Ms. Weldon. Thank you.

    ~ B. Lynne Zika ~ 🎎 Photography site: https://artsawry.com/


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