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The Coming Dark

dreamed 2002/3/2 by Jenny Badger Sultan; painting March 2002, acrylic on canvas, 50" x 60"

I am in a backcountry area, climbing up an incredible wall of stone that has been eroded into the most amazing shapes--rounded shapes, small arches--very intricate. The face is steep, yet there are enough places to put hands and feet so progress is possible. I am very high up and I can look far around me and far below.

acrylic painting by Jenny Badger Sultan of a dream of ochre hills and natural bridges
I see more people coming into the canyon space below. Daylight is starting to fade, and it would be dangerous to be caught up here in the dark. If I were here all night I might fall asleep and lose my grip and fall. But descent seems almost impossible. Still, I see that I must try. detail of acrylic painting by Jenny Badger Sultan of a dream: a climber in ochre hills

So I carefully lower my feet down and feel for good footholds. It is hard to see what I'm doing, but I am able to continue down and very shortly I am at the bottom--much more quickly than I had hoped. Perhaps I was not so high after all!

I talk with the people on the ground. One woman says "I'm reminded of some rock areas in Arizona, but there it was more of a sloping rock face, not so straight up as here." There is some talk of a nearby town and how the air quality is affected by a certain practice the young people have of starting and stopping their cars as they procede down the street.

I ask "is it a kind of lowrider parade?"

"Not really--it's more like gunning the motor and then suddenly stopping, trying to make the person behind run into you."

Now we are driving in the town. Smoke billows ahead of us--what has happened? Then a trolley car flies through the air and crashes to the ground a ways in front of us, crushing everyone inside plus people that it landed on. I think a second huge vehicle comes crashing down. What horrible things are going on?

The police come and talk to two teenage girls in a car just in front of us, and snap handcuffs on them! The girls seem tearful, acknowledging some complicity in the disaster.

acrylic dream-painting by Jenny Badger Sultan: a  burning trolley car on its side, smoke billowing.
A parallel dream: Getting Down; the painting of the burning trolley is from a composite painting, Mandala During a Time of War and Disintegration.

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