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Falling

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
My 1990 cassette single of Julee Cruise's "Falling," the theme from "Twin Peaks."
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The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had” – “Mad World” by Tears For Fears

OKLAHOMA CITY – Early Sunday morning, February 24th, I came out of a most vivid dream.

I was somewhere in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. I was on a road of sorts that had degraded to a rough trail as it wound up along the edges of a wooded mountain, covered in pines and other evergreen trees, there amidst the rocks and dirt.

It seemed somehow familiar to me. Growing up in Arkansas in my early years, I had spent a lot of time hiking, camping and canoeing in the Ozarks, so for this to be part of my dreamscape made sense.

Yet, in this place, I was concerned. I was aware of other people with me as I traversed this road-turned-trail on this Ozark mountain top. Only one stayed with me. It was a man in his early 40’s, wearing an ill-fitting navy-blue T-shirt and a gray shorts. He was balding. His name was unknown to me.

My concern was that this well-traveled road-turned-trail was in rough shape. Plus, it was too close to the edge. It was dangerous. And I was worried that other travelers could fall over the edge of cliffs.

I expressed my concerns to this hiking “companion” on this trail. I told him, “The condition of this road is a big liability.” There was an emphasis from me on the word “liability.” But he waved it off, replying, “Well, I’m not worried about it. We live here and you’re not from around here.”

I was sort of stunned by this statement. At that moment I think I suddenly realized that I was actually from Kansas - having been an abolitionist, inspired by John Brown, in another life. And as Dorothy Gale told her dog Toto in The Wizard of Oz, upon realizing the tornado had transported her to another world, I thought, “Well, I’m not in Kansas anymore.”

I continued my hike over the rocky, uneven ground of the road. And this was no smooth yellow brick road. It was scarily close to the edge. And yet I knew this trail and I knew a particular tree I had to hold onto to help prop myself up as I went forward. My unnamed companion was ahead of me and I carefully held onto the small tree which seemed to be clinging to the side of the mountain, perilously close to the edge.

And so was I. The edge was right there and I was counting on this simple tree to help me keep moving forward. I grabbed the narrow trunk of this cliff-edge tree and as I did I tried not to look down, knowing full well that the drop into the precipice, were I to fall, would be fatal.

I was putting my faith in this tree to hold me up as I tried to get around it and further down the trail, heading who-knows-where. (As a side note, the band The Jayhawks – a reference to the free state folks in Kansas during the American Civil War – seemed to be providing the soundtrack in this particular dream. A strong clue). The focus? Tomorrow the Green Grass. In the dream I thought it was released on Feb. 21, 1995. Actually, it was Feb. 14, 1995. That album played a big role in providing a soundtrack to my life back in '95, when I was living in Northwest Arkansas full time, working odd jobs, reading used occult paperbacks picked up at Dickson Street Books in Fayetteville and wandering about trying to figure things out. I guess I'm still doing that.

But as I gripped the trunk, I sensed it giving way, clods of dirt and rock began breaking away from the edge and the tree bent toward me and toward the abyss. I suddenly and clearly realized that this was it. There was nothing to keep me on the trail. Gravity had me now and I was falling to my death, the rocks and trees and everything awaiting me below. It was all so clear in that final moment of falling. Even in dreams, it seems, when death arrives your life flashes before your eyes. The clarity of it all was stunning.

As I hung in midair and my body began its descent I thought, “Wow, this is what it feels like when you make that choice, that decision, and you just have to see it through to the end. You can’t go back. You are off the trail and over the edge."

I was falling. And there wasn’t anything I could do about it. The sensation was a mix of shock, surprise and, well, others I can't quite articulate. The sharp rocks and trees below me grew ever closer as death lurked ...

And that’s when I woke up.

My heart was beating fast. It was dark. I got up. I had to move around and clear my head. What was this all about? Was this because of my research into the 94th meridian and The Stilwell Enigma, which runs right through the rugged Ozarks and Ouachita mountains? An area I have long suspected holds more secrets and mysteries than we will ever know or uncover?

I emailed myself that morning at 6:45 a.m., with the details of the dream, the parts I could remember.

What I then remembered is that this was February 24th, the 30th anniversary of the events surrounding the death of high school student Laura Palmer in the series Twin Peaks. It is the morning of Feb. 24th where a railroad switchman spots Ronette Pulaski walking down the railroad tracks, over a bridge, clearly in bad shape from her experience with Laura that previous night.

That was an eerie coincidence, I admit, being a Twin Peaks obsessive since my high school days. It was a series that had a “secret knowledge” that most people didn’t seem to understand. Once it was revealed that Laura’s father, Leland, possessed by a demonic entity called BOB had caused her death, most people moved on. I never did. Even with Twin Peaks: The Return in 2017, and Agent Dale Cooper (?) asking aloud, “What year is this?” I knew there was so much more to uncover and learn.

Recall that the theme song for Twin Peaks is the haunting Angelo Badalamenti instrumental "Falling." Back in 1990, there was a single of "Falling" featuring Julee Cruise singing the lyrics to the song, which includes the opening lyrics: "Don't let yourself be hurt this time ..." Are we falling in love? The idea of "falling" having a dual meaning. That sensation of finding yourself in a new situation that is scary, exciting - the unknown. Falling off a cliff and knowing, "well, that's it," has a certain quality that is difficult to quantify.

As I wrote in late 2015, weeks before the death of David Bowie, I noted the sync/links between the-then new series True Detective and Twin Peaks. Both involved investigations into matters that were not what they seemed to be on the surface. Note my post about Bowie's Blackstar album and how the accompanying video features "a Lovecraftian Cthulhu-type entity in the video (Lovecraft loved The King in Yellow), and Bowie is blindfolded but can see through two small holes in the material. Very eerie stuff. But with Bowie, not surprising. He's long been linked with the esoteric.

And yet, True Detective and the mysteries of Carcosa are allegedly not reference points for Bowie or the director of the "★" short film. As for Twin Peaks, I could easily have seen David Lynch involved in this film somewhere behind the scenes." 

BLUFF

So, I have been watching the third season of True Detective with great interest. Please take time to look at "The devil you know" post from January 14, 2019. 

Mahershala Ali (Det. Wayne Hays) and Stephen Dorff (Det. Roland West) are terrific as the plot jumps back and forth between 1980, 1990 and 2015, as the puzzling mystery at the heart of this season is not just what happened to the Purcell kids at Devil's Den State Park, near Fayetteville, Arkansas, but what is real. What is imagined. And how time is not what we think it is.

So, it is 1990 in True Detective. Det. Hays is taking another look at the Purcell case with West. Hays begins poking into areas that seem to lead to certain conclusions, at least in his mind. But is this what is really happening? Two black cars show up outside of Hays' home and Hoyt Foods bigwig Edmund Hoyt strongly suggests Hays go for a ride. I won't spoil it, but Hoyt and Hays end up in the Ozarks, on a remote road near a cliff. 

In a summary of this final episode ("Now Am Found"), which aired this past Sunday, hours after my "cliff" dream, The AV Club writes about the "confrontation" between the grizzled Hoyt (played by character actor Michael Rooker) on this "bluff" on a mountainside - just like the setting in my dream with a middle-aged, rough-looking character. An Arkansan. It was uncanny as I watched it. And without giving too much away, what happened to me in my dream does not happen to either Hoyt nor Hays. But the threat was certainly evident, there on the edge, by the very same-looking trees I viewed in my dreamscape. It was as if I was Det. Wayne Hays there on this Ozark mountainside with a seemingly troubled and dangerous man - a powerful man with many secrets. A "king in yellow," as it were. But the "yellow" stands for chicken, since Hoyt is the local "chicken king." Or, as Bob Dylan sings in 1965's "Tombstone Blues: 

"The Commander-in-Chief answers him while chasing a fly
Saying, "Death to all those who would whimper and cry"
And, dropping a barbell, he points to the sky
Saying, "The sun's not yellow, it's chicken
"

Was this like the "time loops" theories of The Nightshirt blogger Eric Wargo in his brilliant new book Time Loops? Did my dream early in the morning of Feb. 24th, predict the situation featured in the final True Detective episode, which aired on HBO later that same day (and which I would not actually view until today - Tuesday, Feb. 26th)? Note my thoughts on Time Loops in my November 14, 2018 Dust Devil Dreams post "Crossings and predictions."

BLUE EYE PT. 2

As a side note, I wanted to note a follow-up to my February 1, 2019 Dust Devil Dreams post “Blue eye.”

The post was, primarily, triggered by the “evil eye” amulet hanging from my car’s rearview mirror falling from the string holding it up.

The "evil eye" amulet has come loose twice, now. (Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report)

Well, after my post, I went to Craig’s Emporium on NW 23rd Street and told the employees about this peculiar event and how I wanted to replace the string with a metal chain, which I did.

And it seemed secure for most of the month – until yesterday.

I was driving with some family members and listening to Prince & The Revolution’s 1985 album Around the World In a Day. It was during the third song, the stripped-down, surreal ballad “Condition of the Heart,” when the metal chain inexplicably snapped and the amulet fell.

I wondered why it happened during that particular song. And what was really going on with this “evil eye” amulet?

In the song, seemingly a reflective response to the insanity of the prior year, following Purple Rain, Prince, a “sometimes lonely musician,” is “getting real” and trying to make sense of everything, singing in the second verse: “(N)ow, isn’t it a shame that sometimes / Money buys you everything and nothing.”

Prince, of course, was one of the most brilliant musicians/artists of our time. He is deeply missed. And "Condition of the Heart," with its simple beauty, is a gem.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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