The Lost Children of Chechnya

Nov. 11, 2010

Is there anything more inexplicable than our ability to dream anxious,

compelling narratives from what seem to be other times, other lives?

Map of Chechnya

This dream took place in, as far as I could tell, a mountainous region of Chechnya, about which I know almost nothing.

I brought three children, all boys, say ages 2, 5 and 8—very young boys; I brought them on foot up a mountain, across alpine meadows, tree-covered ridges. (Photo credit:

Dariel Gorge

There was still some snow in the cold shadows of the forest. (Photo credit:

In a clearing high up, I found the cabin we’d been hiking toward, and we entered. It was a one room log cabin, but one side had been curtained off.

The priest lived there as a kind of hermit. I knew him as a humorous and kind man. I looked around, but he wasn’t at home; he came in from the woods shortly, as he was expecting us. (Photo credit:

I’m not sure what we were doing there or how long I was to leave the boys in his care, but obviously not long. I was in charge of the boys’ safety; we were fleeing from some terrible danger.

I needed to leave the children for a short time, and I left, hiking downhill, across a meadow. A small plane circled, recognized me with a wing tilt, and landed on a narrow power line maintenance road (although there was no electric power available locally—I knew that—no communications.

I got in the plane for the short ride to a little town in the valley. The pilot started to taxi, and two more people ran out of the woods and got suddenly on board, and we took off irrevocably.


Bush plane in mountains

As it got darker, it got snowier, and we got further and further away. We weren’t going the short hop of my errand; this was a long and mountainous crossing to a distant town ... (Photo credit:

One of the other passengers was my sister Cheryl, and the other an armed man; together, I knew we were all the protection the boys had on the mountain and somehow, through a too-quick and unconsidered decision, we were all on the same plane, flying away at dusk.

We flew down the mountain following the power line, often under it. As it got darker, it got snowier, and we got further and further away. We weren’t going the short hop of my errand; this was a long and mountainous crossing to a distant town with few lights and none of them electric.

"Mountain Village Gunib in Daghestan" Painting by artist Ivan Aivazovsky

"Mountain Village Gunib in Daghestan" Painting by artist Ivan Aivazovsky (Photo credit:

We landed on a dark air strip and put up in a small, dark-paneled old hotel room, Cheryl and me together. I was pacing the room, beside myself with anxiety for the safety of the boys. I knew the hermit priest would take basic care of them,

Childrn of Chechnya

but they were my responsibility. I was consumed with panic; remote, stranded, unable to return, terrified, anxious.


6 thoughts on “The Lost Children of Chechnya

  1. I love that caring part of your nature revealed in the dream.. I enjoyed the pictures. It brought the element of reality to the dream….I’m sure this is a story that has similarly happened. You’re sharing this dream reminds me of the tremendous amout of suffering happening right now in this world.
    It’s not often in my dream experience that the end of the dream has some kind of resolved ending as did yours. Thanks for sharing

    • San,Thanks for your compassionate response. As you can see, I am trying to revamp my blog to more closely parallel my inner life and thoughtstream more than my previous idea of doing ex-Em news. I got over that! Now I’m trying to listen ever more closely to my inner world and find a place for that on the world wide web.
      Love from me!

  2. Very interesting…your words convey the rhythm, images and enigmas of the dream. I really appreciate you sharing this experience. I love the way that a dream emerges, with half-formed images, familiar and unfamiliar people, places that are both recognizable and new at the same time…all in an inner journey. Your dream was very detailed. I wonder if this has significance? Is its message more meaningful? It seems that some dreams may be “processing the day” while others, such as this, are a calling forth from the soul.

    • Cher,
      Thank you for your thoughtful post. I agree that sometimes the brain is just house-keeping, and at other times, I feel like my soul is off doing other work, or that I’m with and watching over someone else that seems to be me. These are vivid dreams with a real-world character. The strangest one I had was being a yellow spider in the stained glass window vault of a Gothic cathedral.

  3. Yellow spider in the stained glass window vault of a Gothic cathedral…how amazing! I love your imagery. Please let us know if you post more of these dreams. They are so interesting. I too have had dreams that are very detailed with amazing characters, different nationalities, wildlife and varying perspectives. I love “looking into the dream.” It seems like the dream is only part of what is uncovered. As with art, I give room to live with the essence, the images…not forcing but looking as though looking at something beneath the water. Only part is seen at first. As internal space is given to abide in the essence, I see more.

    Sandy, I have always loved your writing and ability to reveal the truth, unadorned.

  4. Cher,
    Remember our Dottie and the Water Dog collaboration? Maybe our mutual interest in dream imagery will bring us creatively together again! I do a lot of art around dreams, especially dream mandalas because the circular shape seems to fit the shape of a dream. As I spend a lot of time online, I am really careful these days to devote focused time to deep reading, writing, and art, so that the inner world gets nurtured.

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