A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.
There are two reasons why I posted this quote by Wilde: 1) I love his fairy tales, and 2) this particular quote resonates with me.
Walking up to Mrs. Jaramillo one day in fourth grade (or was it fifth?), I stood before her desk and stared past her shoulder, out through the window beyond. In my hand is Victoria Henley’s The Seer and the Sword, my favorite novel at the time.
“Mary,” she says, staring up at me from a chair that occasionally liked to fall apart. (My fellow classmates may be to blame for this.) “You’re a dreamer.”
“Oh, ok.” I said, and returned to my seat. But why did she call me that, I thought. I wasn’t sure if I should feel insulted or proud. But, I never forgot.
I am a dreamer. It’s not because I can come up with stories, am a writer, or because I like to sleep a lot. It’s because I see possibility. I think ahead of myself, at what I can be, of what anything can become. I see the world outside my door and am amazed, terrified, excited, breathless, and hopeful.
But, even now, I am still working on my definition of “a dreamer.” I am not completely sure of my interpretation.
Now, why did I choose Oscar Wilde to quote as my post?
If I asked you, “what story do you remember most from when you were a kid?”, what would you say? What story comes to mind the moment you flash back to childhood?
For me, it is Wilde’s “The Selfish Giant.” It is about a giant who returns home after seven years, and finds that children have made his garden their playground. Angered, he builds a wall and puts up a sign for them not to trespass, which plummets his garden into a never ending winter. However, the children soon find a way back into the garden, and he sees that trees that were once frozen were starting to bloom, and realizes that these children are meant to be there. At that moment, he becomes friends with one child in particular, which he helps climb a tree, but he never sees him again after that day. Years pass and he ages. One day, he finds the child in his garden, resting beneath a strange white tree. He sees that he is hurt, bearing injuries in his hands and feet, and becomes enraged. But the child calms him, and reminds him of the day he allowed him to play in his garden. The child then tells him that it is the giant’s turn to play in his garden, and takes him to Paradise. In the morning, the giant’s body is found under the tree, covered in flower blossoms.
On the few nights she didn’t work, my mother read this story to my sister and I from an old university textbook. We loved it when she read to us because it was “our time”, time when we had our mother to ourselves.
And now that I think about it, my mother came to America with many wishes for the future. She still carries them, and works hard to make them a reality. So, if she is a dreamer, of course I’d be one too.