A blood-curdling, heart-wrenching wail pierced the silence of the house. The scream came from Number 3, our youngest. She's still co-sleeping, (a fancy attachment parenting term for sleeping with her parents), so I immediately checked her to see what was wrong. Her eyes were clamped tightly shut. She was still asleep.
Intense nightmares seem to be hereditary around here. I had them as a one-year-old, and so far each of the kids have had them in succession at the same age.
I, for one, at least had an interesting excuse. My parents, both teachers, moved to the Hopi Reservation, (pictured by Ansel Adams below), a few months after I was born. It's a beautiful, but isolated part of the country. It's also haunted.
The Hopis, pacifists who live atop three sheer mesas in what is now Northeastern Arizona, had developed a brutal but effective means for dealing with social issues. When the black plague spread across the Southwest, the Hopis, using this method, suffered less than some other tribes. Having realized the disease was contagious, they simply pushed those afflicted with it off the edge of a mesa.
The death by mesa technique was also used during the Pueblo Revolt. The pacifist Hopis served in the revolt only as messengers. When two of their young messengers returned with their hands cut off by the Spaniards who had captured them, the Hopis pushed every Spanish man, woman, and child who lived among them over the edge.
Over the years, the mesas have become crowded with the ghosts of those who have fallen to their deaths. The story goes that I, (among others), could see them. My nightmares were eyes open affairs. I'm told my parents would find me staring straight-ahead, screaming bloody murder., presumably at the offending ghost.
One, two, and three have no such excuse as far as I'm aware, but this hasn't stopped them from developing the same affliction. Once we get them awake, we've found that a midnight viewing of "French Music", is the best way to bring everyone back down off the ceiling.
"French Music" is our colloquial title for "A Good Year" starring Russell Crowe. I introduced the movie pretty early on to our oldest kid, Number 1. When Number 1 and I watched it, it served as our Saturday morning movie for cuddling till Mom woke up. I usually get up between 4 and 5 to have the house to myself for a few hours, and Number 1 pops up about 6. The movie is imminently pleasant, with nary a stressful scene, so we'd lazily cuddle for two hours or so, watching mostly the French countryside, and listening to the pleasantly lilting waltz music that plays softly in almost every scene.
The movie chronicles the pivotal decisions that enter the life of one Maximillian Skinner, (played by Crowe). He inherits an Estate in the French countryside, shown above, and must decide whether to maintain the luxurious life of a London-based international banker, or retreat to the vagaries of a moneyed life on his Uncle's estate. There's the teenciest bit of existential angst, (if one could call it that), but the rest of the movie is filled with pleasant people doing pleasant things in a pleasant location.
Considering the director, it's rather ironic that over time this movie also become our go-to nightmare remedy; seeing as it's the perfect antithesis of the other movies made by Ridley Scott: Alien, Blade Runner, and Hannibal!