Nana’s hands were tiny and delicate, so feminine and simply pretty, but felt strong and protective to me when I was a child. We held hands until she died, and although I was shy about doing that in public when I became a teenager, it was short-lived.
We were walking in the woods like we always do. Laurel Park in Northampton, Massachusetts had thick masses of deciduous and evergreen trees at the top of the hills that formed a semi-circle around the neighborhood of cottages, and we walked up there quite often in search of tea berries and the freshest air.
I can hear the brown oak and maple leaves crunching under my feet. It was comfortably warm outside, mid-autumn, and nightfall was beginning to stake its claim. I closed my eyes and continued walking.
I sauntered slowly with Nana, holding her hand tightly, then I felt the need to open my eyes. Instead of Nana’s hand in mine, there was the paw of a black bear. Its nature and manner were not menacing, and I didn’t scream. I was calm and continued to hold its hand while I walked along with it towards the edge of the tree line.
This is a dream that comes to me a few times a year for no particular reason. It is unchanging, never frightening, and at this point in my life, I find comfort in it.
What’s particularly odd about the dream is that I never saw a bear in the wild until 2016 when I moved back to Massachusetts from North Carolina. I never worried or watched for them when I was little, so my opinion is that it was not fear that injected that dream into my brain, but a simple curiosity and desire to see a bear.
Either way, I am sure I will dream that again tonight now that I am thinking about it. Do you have recurring dreams? I would love to hear about them.