Time it was,
And what a time it was,
It was...
A time of innocence,
A time of confidences.
Long ago...it must be...
I have a photograph.
Preserve your memories;
They're all that's left you.

Paul Simon, Bookends Theme

Omnia mutantur, nihil interit.
(Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost.)

From The Wake

So you have returned, friend Dreamer.

You have kept this corner of the Dreaming very busy. I'm not surprised you're back, although I am impressed - few reach this deep into my kingdom in a simple daydream.

Congratulations.

What, you thought I did not know? Mortal, this is my kingdom. I know all that happens here, just as surely as if it was happening right before my eyes. In a sense it is. I exist here to serve all those that pass through this place, and I understand more than at first it might seem. You are here to mourn the passage of time, are you not, to return in dreams to a time that is past?

Oh, I understand, Dreamer. I am Endless, but not unchanging. I have been many things, been known by many names. Some you would be unable to pronounce. Others may be more familiar.

Once, I was even called Daniel.

Perhaps one day I shall be so again.

I see things around me change also; when (many Dreams ago) I went by the name of Morpheus, I took great interest in your world and its people, Dreamer, I saw and understood the transitory nature of your existence. So many changes during the course of your short lives, so many friendships made and broken, friends gained and lost.

No wonder you come to my world for solace.

Here, everything can be as it was. Dear friends long gone can be revisited here, loved ones who may never again be seen in the Waking. Here, in my kingdom, you can say things to them that you never had the time to say before, simply be with them as before. This Dream is oft-used for the latter purpose. You and your companions are very close, for the most part; they all return here, on occasion. Yes, Dreamer, it is not only you who visits this Dream.

Surprised?

Don't be. Those you interact with in this penumbral reality are not always a part of the Dreaming, sometimes they are visitors, as you are. You shared this place before, in the Waking, is it not fit that you should share the same Dream here in my realm? It seems you cannot bear to be away from here, cannot bear to lose what is really already lost. Perhaps over time this feeling will become weaker, although somehow I doubt it.

See, Dreamer, I understand. This is an aspect of what you call love. I know it well, although my elder sister might disagree. I simply do not cling to these things of the past as you mortals do. Perhaps that is where the difference between us really lies, Dreamer. I have a different perspective on existence. I love as you do, but let go much easier. My sister would tell me that I do not love truly, but I am Endless and ever aware that I will continue to be while all around me changes through eternity. You are part of the changes, swept along in the current that moves past me and leaves me standing, stationary, motionless. You drift away from parts of your past, but can always return to them here, in the Dreaming. They are gone, but the illusion of their continued presence remains in your memory, in your dreams, so you miss them all the more. You exist here with these people, in this place, because you wish it. In a way, part of you lives here, in this dream. And this is your love.

I...

I cannot dream, for I am Dream. I have no such link with my past, no tantalising reminder of what I once had that I do not now. Should I be envious of you, Dreamer? My sister might say yes; she is very fond of you mortals, and probably understands you better than I. But I do not envy her her task, and I do not envy you the ability to dream, mortal. Perhaps I should, but I do not. You think me cruel, Dreamer, heartless even. By your standards, maybe I am.

You think I should take a holiday, Dreamer? You think this place will run itself, that this room that you return to would still exist?

Ha ha, very funny.

This story is dedicated to a group of people who know who they are. May you find peace in your Dreams.
O.M. 10-5-01