Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Dream of a Return Journey

Last night I had a dream, that for the past year I had been living in this city out West, city of the old West beneath the bright blue sunlit sky, high narrow wooden storefronts lining either side of the dusty dirt street. Living there over a thousand miles from home. Several of us had been living in this city, "as if on exchange." But now the time had come to pack and return home to the Midwest. And it was not extraordinarily clear to me, our itinerary and the schedule of our packing and departure.

So, bright sunlit blue of the late afternoon getting on toward evening, I'm standing out there in the street alongside my old blue Blazer, which is parked up along the wooden railroad tie curb. I'm standing there, drinking out of a Mason jar, and not taking our impending departure too seriously.

I go inside the building, and it may be where I've been living the past year and more. And inside are the woodsawn plank walls, and a sort of central bar or counter with rounded darkwood edge, and stairs leading up to an open loft above. There are also many pineboard bookcases, as if roughly improvised, lining the walls.

And I'm standing there looking at the bookcases, looking at all my books lining the walls. And then a thought nudges me, as if almost forgotten, that oh yeah, the day is moving along, and here we're going to be departing back for the Midwest, if not tonight then early tomorrow morning at the very latest. And it strikes me, in a dim and hazy frame of mind, that I might not do too badly to begin packing my books for the return trip.

But how? And how? Where will I find all the boxes to pack things in? Then I realize I have some cardboard boxes sitting right there on the pine plank floor, though I doubt they'll be enough to pack all my stuff. So I climb up (ladder to the upper shelves of the bookcases, as if in an old library) and begin hauling my books down and packing them in the boxes. At first I think as if to pack my books by category, but then I give up, and just start packing them into the boxes any old way they'll fit.

And I'm thinking that I'll hardly have time to pack now, and why didn't I plan sooner? Especially if we're going to be departing Eastward in the dim haze of twilight this evening. But maybe I could delay, and take off after breakfast tomorrow. Either which way, my mind is a blur.

Now I abandon packing the books, part way through. The new challenge, just recognized, is, even once I get these things packed, how do I fit them all into my old Chevy Blazer? Then I see a cardboard box with only a single stuffed animal inside it, and I realize that I can save a lot of room if I pack several stuffed animals to a box, so there won't be so much empty waste space inside the box.

And then I woke up.



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