"Do you dream you can see?" I asked Ebony at breakfast. "I mean, literally, dream in pictures?"
"Sort of," she said. "I dream in things that are like pictures. But I don't know how a lot of things really look, so I'm not sure."
"You're learning to see, though. Does that help?"
"Somewhat. I can dream of colors now--I don't know what most of the colors are called, but I can see them in my mind."
"So, when you learn a little more, you'll be able to dream visually more accurately." I mean that as encouragement.
"Yes..." she seemed unsure. "But I don't know that my visual dreams aren't accurate now. I think about that a lot. Like, maybe I can actually see when I dream? Maybe I'm really seeing something?"
"What could you be seeing, though?" I asked. "You can't really be seeing if there's nothing real to see."
"Dreams aren't real?" asked Kit, who was sitting across the table from us.
"They're real dreams," I said, though I was a bit nervous about it. I don't usually challenge other people's logic, but I could imagine Ollie saying these things and he's not here anymore. "I mean that dreams don't involve sensory perception. They're creations of the mind, not perceptions. So you can't see or not see them."
"Are they? Not perceptions?" Kit challenged me. "There are dreams that seem to communicate something. Do you think that is an illusion?"
"You mean, like prophetic dreams? I don't know. But wouldn't that just be another version of creating dream imagery based on your own thoughts and feelings? I mean, like, if you're psychic, maybe you dream about the things you've perceived psychically? How could dreams be perceptions when they happen entirely inside your head?"
"I thought the same thing, once," Kit said. "What you're saying makes sense. Except that I've had dreams of being different kinds of animal, like birds, or foxes. These are very physical dreams--like I had the experience of having a long, bushy tail and mobile ears. How on Earth could my brain generate those experiences from entirely inside itself?"
"You're probably remembering a past-life experience," suggested Joy, who was also at the table. I still find it startling when she says things like that. She takes ideas like reincarnation for granted in a way none of the others do--it's not just that she believes in it, it's that she acts like everybody else does, too.
"Maybe," acknowledged Kit. "It doesn't feel like a memory, though. It feels like a doing."
"But how can you know if the feeling in the dream was what it's actually like to have a tail? Or mobile ears?" I asked.
"It's like I don't know about seeing," said Ebony. "Except you can't find out. I'm hoping I can. What do you mean by a doing?"
"I mean it doesn't feel like a memory or a symbol or anything made up. It feels like I'm actually doing something that is real on some level. Like I interact with beings that really exist, I didn't make them up, and I go to places that really exist. At least they really exist on some plain."
"If my dreams are doings, too," asked Ebony, "and I really can see in them, then what am I seeing? Where am I?"
"I don't know."
Joy suggested it may be an OBE, meaning an out of body experience. She said a lot of people have them without realizing it as they are falling asleep.
"Would that mean I was looking at something out in the physical world?" asked Ebony. "It's not like I ever remember getting up out of bed or something."
"I don't think it's that simple," said Kit. "I think there is a reality inside the dreams, a place people go when they sleep. But I don't know what that place is."
Joy was about to respond, when J.C., the Dining Hall Head of the day, called for quiet. Breakfast was over.
"Are there any announcements?" J.C. asked.
Various people raised their hands and he called on them:
"I'm driving to the city today. If anybody wants to ride in with me, see me after."
"The meeting in the Rose Room at 11 has been moved to 11:30."
"Quill's birthday is a week from tomorrow. If you want to help plan his surprise party, get with me after." Quill has been off campus for a few days and wasn't at breakfast.
"I can't find my watch. I think it slipped off somewhere in Central Field, so can everyone please keep a lookout for me?"
"Any more?" asked J.C. There were none. "Alright. A moment of silence please?.........Blessed Be."
And another day at school started.