Gustav Klimt, The Virgin, 1913.
When I was younger, I had a fascination with Native Americans and their culture. I used to go to Cahokia Mounds like every other weekend with my best friend Tony. Well, my dad used to have this Native American friend who came around a lot. His skin was white and his hair was long, so he didn’t look like an Indian to me, but he was gentle and soft-spoken. I always loved him. For this up-coming birthday, I wanted to have a pow wow at my house. He came over once before my birthday with a box of dream catchers and told me I could choose one for my birthday. Some, however, we’re not up for grabs due to the complexity of them. I chose, of course, an off-limits dream catcher. But it was the only one that caught y eye. He told me I couldn’t have that one, but I didn’t find another I wanted. So he left. This man did so much for me for that birthday party, though. He came over and we made traditional Indian food and he brought over his Indian friends in their traditional garb to dance around a pow wow drum in my living room in front of all the spectators. I was mesmerized. I wanted to be an Indian. I got lots of Barbies for that birthday. Even worse, lots of them were duplicates. But one of those many gifts was my dream catcher. The one I loves but couldn’t have. Ever since I can remember, that dream catcher has slept alongside me above my head every night I’ve ever slept at home. I still look at it today with the same fondness with which I looked at it in the box many, many years ago. I realize now that it is more than just a birthday present, something to marvel at. That dream catcher represents my childhood. All my dreams, both of sleep and of wake, all my nightmares. My dream catcher has filtered my every thought. And sometimes when I look at it, I am grateful. When I have nothing to rock me through the night, I know my dream catcher is right there with me catching my every bad dream. It is a good friend of mine.