Kage Baker was in my dreams again last night.
This is really a big deal. One would think that I’d dream of her often, but such has not been the case. I’d have loved to dream of her after she died, but no – my dreams then were notable for being bizarre, but more along the lines of talking doughnuts and finding myself lost on Faire sites that never existed. Not even my intermittent skill at lucid dreaming could lure Kage out of the mists of dreamtime.
It was a great grief to me. I dreamed of her a lot when she was alive, you see: I dream of all my family members a lot, and Kage was as usual a companion in my nocturnal wanderings as my daylight ones. But my unconscious mind made no errors of perception to ease the pain of her passing – it knew from that first night what had happened, and I never dreamed she was back.
Both of us had sometimes dreamed of our parents come back to chat. Kage said that, in her dreams, Momma was always cheerfully open about being dead, but just had to drop by to say something. (Had you known Katherine Baker, you’d know how funny that was. Nothing could shut Mamma up.) I usually dreamed that Daddy had dropped by on a day pass – which would also have been logical for him, to have inveigled a day pass from being dead. The dreams were sweet, and made us both laugh.
I’d have rejoiced if Kage had shown up as a baleful spirit prophesying doom. I wouldn’t even have minded silly, nonsensical dreams. It would have been her haunting me, and that would have been better than all the talking doughnuts in the world. Besides, my unconscious would have been hard put to put us in goofier situations than we found on our own in what passed for the real world … but she never showed up. Until now.
Last night, I dreamed that we were moving back into the Hollywood Hills, rather as we did when we were barely in our 20’s and left home for the first time. We had barely more than the clothes we stood up in., which was certainly historically accurate – backpacks, purses, a dozen eggs and $10.00 in cash, as I recall … at least in my dreams last night we had our camping gear and a car. But we still moved into a bare bones little room perched on the edge of a hillside; the sort of eccentric Hollywood apartment that has a glorious history, an incredible view and barely enough room to swing a cat, as they say.
I was triumphant, because when we left Los Angeles I had sworn we would be back. Kage had looked wise and opaque; I guess now she knew it would be only me.
Anyway. We lived in a lot of weird little places in our wild young womanhood. They alternated between being outright subterranean and being narrow ledges clinging to the hills; one or two managed to be both and partook heavily of the nature of those cave dwellings in the Dordogne … Kage painted them all, too. We had friezes of Greek gods, and doors done in trompe l’oeil to simulate panelled Tudor carvings; she painted the horses at Lascaux on one wall for me. Our windows were painted in saffron and scarlet.
You could get away with that sort of thing in the 1970’s, in the Hollywood Hills.
You can get away with it in dreams, too; we certainly were in mine last night. Kage was prepping to do some amazing mural, and our kitchen table – which was her drafting board lowered to flat level, as it actually was for years – was covered with paints and brushes and long strips of stiff paper where she was cutting silhouettes to use as a template. The one room was no more than 12 feet from back to front, but out the blazing windows I could see all the way West to the sea over a plain full of oak trees and red-tiled roofs. The late sun cast Kage’s shadow over all the back wall, like those sacred caves where horses and bison still dance in torch light.
Yeah, that sounds right.
I hope she comes again.