“I can,” the BFG said, not looking up.
“But how? Is it by the way it hums and buzzes?”
“You is less or more right,” the BFG said. “Every dream in the world is making a different sort of buzzy-hum music. And these grand swashboggling ears of mine is able to read that music.”
from The BFG
by Roald Dahl
illustrated by Quentin Blake
Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 1982
In June, 2016, I wrote this:
They say dreams help us work out problems and troubles. Trouble is, for me at least, I often don’t remember my dreams, so I just have to trust that my dreaming self is taking care of things for me.
When I wrote that, the movie BFG was about to hit the theaters. I read the book, which I had somehow missed when my kids were growing up. I missed it when I studied and read lots and lots of children’s literature. I missed it until 2016. The BFG is about a giant who is the vehicle our dreams use to find us when we’re asleep.
Dreams are funny things.
We all have them, whether we remember them or not. That fact has been documented and studied and discussed. Dreams can be bad or good. Horrifying or inspiring. Expressions of our our most dreaded fears or of our wildest wishes.
August 28 (today) is the 55th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. He delivered it in front of the Lincoln Memorial before 200,000 people at a peaceful civil rights demonstration. (It was 1963. Math’s not my best specialty, so I figured it out for you, too.)
MLK’s dream was the good kind. The best kind. He envisioned a country where prejudice and hatred disappeared into the dust of history. He spoke about the necessity for change and America’s potential for hope in that change.
Kinda like our Founding Fathers when they wrote the Constitution. High hopes were the order of that day, too, despite half the population being ignored and another half being taken for granted. (I counted black and brown and red women twice, but they deserve it!) Jefferson, Madison and the rest were on the right track. We were headed in the right direction for a long time. Now, I think, we’re not.
Our country’s best dreams will come true with a good plan, good people to carry it out, and our trust in the forces of good that we can’t see. That’s another part of my 2016 self. I still wore my rose-colored glasses.
Here’s my dream now. I dream of a time when my granddaughters and my grandsons will grow into responsible adults who are able to rise to their potentials. Grown-ups thoughtful enough to move our great country back onto the path where we define our collective goals:
to be able to trust the news of the day
to ensure our children are safe at school
to live in a world where we breathe clean air and drink clean water
to grow and harvest clean food
to protect trees and whales and butterflies
to be able to trust each other and act on those goals. Volunteer for a congressman. Support an environmental organization. Demonstrate or write letters promoting sensible gun laws.
Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream. I think it was more of a vision, but he called it a dream. I’m sure he did not need the BFG to deliver it to him. He thought up that great dream all by himself.
We might need to depend on the BFG to deliver our dreams, but we can make them come true all by ourselves, too.
If we all dream together.