Adrift on Lake Rift

Matthew Word Bain
3 min readDec 15, 2021

I don’t think of myself as the kind of person who has visions. Even active visualization is difficult for me, although I am very much a visual learner. Whenever a therapist has asked me if a vision or even a word or message wants to make itself known to me, e.g. from my subconscious, higher self, etc., I have typically found nothing upon looking within.

One time though, maybe seven or eight years ago, I was lying on a massage table, ensconced in a state of dynamic stillness from a combination of massage, energy medicine, and cranio-sacral work, when, in response to just such a prompt, a clear image appeared fully formed and with it a single mysterious word.

The image was of a placid lake in a mountainous region, viewed from above and at a distance, in strangely warm colors of what must have been a cold sunset. It seemed to be in the midst of a larger mountain range than any I’ve come close to — the Rockies, or perhaps somewhere in the Alps.

In the same way that a dream can leave you with a palpable physiological signature, a tingling sensation, or some heightened sense of vitality, this image brought all of that, and stayed with me. It also activated a new line of inquiry within me as the word that came with it was so unexpected and seemed to bear no relation to the image. I knew the word, but I couldn’t remember its meaning.

Several years after this experience, I was driving home a different way, seeking novelty, knowing intuitively that the repatterning process I had doubled down on in a therapy session that morning and was committed to on a larger time scale required novelty for the new pattern to take root. I was driving through the eastern foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, slowly wending my way along narrow gravel roads, referring here and there to my topographical atlas, but mostly letting the reins fall slack.

At one point the difference between map and territory became extreme, as an intersection appeared that was unmarked on the map. I turned down this anomalous road and very soon felt as though dream space had intruded itself upon waking reality — a sensation for which I had no doubt been primed when the territory diverged so clearly from the map.

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Matthew Word Bain

purveyor of stochastic resonance | pilgrim of blur | describing diaphaneity by way of ambiguity | https://www.patreon.com/matthewwordbain