I was awakened at 2:30 this morning by a flash of light outside our bedroom window.

I’m accustomed to the odd nighttime event, being a Dreamer and all, and this was definitely odd. Mainly because the dogs didn’t bark. Actually, I guess that was the good news. It meant there were no intruders on the property. (I’ve had intruders on my property before–during one of the very few times I didn’t have dogs–and it was the ultimate in creepy and scary.) So, when the dogs didn’t alert, I knew at least it wasn’t caused by anything human.

When it happened again, another flash, I got up to look out the windows to see if I could detect anything outside. All was quiet. Nothing moving. Except…there, yes. The light from an especially bright star had been pulled down and captured by the pond. I looked up. It was a magnificent night sky–like someone had taken a bucket of diamonds and thrown them across the heavens. I saw a few shooting stars in quick succession. I figured they must have been left over from the Orionid Meteor Shower.

Finn jumped up on the window sill in front of me and started playing with the Dream Catcher that’s been hanging in the window since Cait was about four years old. We made it together after a spell of bad dreams she’d had. The Ojibwa legend says that the hole in the center of the Dream Catcher web allows good dreams to reach the sleeper, while the web itself traps the bad dreams until they disappear with the first morning light. We hung it over her bed so it could sift her dreams. She’d tell you that it did the trick.

Cait’s Dream Catcher is made out of silver threads to represent the moon’s light, instead of the usual beads, and feathers (which wouldn’t have meant anything to her back then). We attached a few stars so she could wish on them before she fell asleep. It’s become a bit tattered from the wear of being touched nightly for a few years. When Cait announced that she no longer needed it, I moved it from her bedroom window to mine. It’s become a symbol of all the magical nights Cait and I have shared.

I believe in the power of Dream Catchers, those objects (not all necessarily made from willow hoops and sinew) that help take us from one realm to another while protecting the journey. From waking to sleeping, and sleeping to dreaming. From fear to safety. From the mundane to the inspired.

My most favorite Dream Catcher of all was made at about the same time Cait’s was, seven years ago. She’s black and white, with a little tan. There’s a little more white from the wear of constant use; she’s just beginning to show the signs of her age. But the magic she holds to keep me safe, to lift my spirits, to inspire me dream big dreams, only gets stronger with each day. She catches the bad and only lets the good come through. So when she didn’t bark, I knew there was no danger lurking. I could safely return to sleep and dream the rest of the night away.

By the way… Those flashes of light? They turned out to be a malfunctioning headlight on Andrew’s car. Still looking out the window, I caught it the next time it happened.