Dream of: 09 November 1996 (2) "Varnish"

I was in a house in west Fort Worth, in the same area as the Fort Worth Rock House. I was planning to do something, but since I had a little time first, I decided to read something. I walked over to a book shelf and began looking for a copy of Virgil's Aeneid. However it wasn't actually the Aeneid for which I was searching; I was simply confusing the title of the book which I actually wanted to read. In my mind I was intending to read Homer's Iliad, and it was the story of the Iliad which was beginning to go through my thoughts, how the Greeks had attacked Troy and the many complications of the war which had been brought out in the book. I knew I didn't have time to read much of the story right now, but that didn't matter. Since I was already familiar with the story, I could begin reading at any place in the book, and then place the images within the context of the total story. Reading small sections helped me retain the entire story and keep it lively. I had a number of books like that, books whose stories were familiar to me, stories which I could play over and over in my mind without having to have the book in front of me. But it was also important for me to keep refreshing my memory with actual reading, as I was now going to do.

Finally I found the book and sat back to begin. But I had no sooner started when my friend Jon walked into the room. I was happy to see Jon, and after he had sat down in front of me, we began talking. I knew Jon was concerned because I had told him that I planned to move from Texas. But I now told him I had changed my plans. I explained that I had decided to go to SMU (Southern Methodist University) in Dallas for two years and take a master's degree in English.

To myself I thought about why I was planning to do such a thing. I knew I had a good grasp of English literature. But I thought I needed to polish my knowledge, and I thought two years of study would give me a chance to do so. I had no particular plans for what I would do with that knowledge, nor did I know in what way a master's degree would be of any use to me. I simply wanted to concentrate some more on English literature.

Jon seemed happy to hear the news. But I wanted to show him something which I hoped would explain more of my feelings about Texas. Together we stood up and with my book still in my hand, we walked outside. Behind the house was a large field which slopped upward to a low rise, and we headed toward the top of the rise. On the way we talked about plants and trees. He mentioned a tree called an "acacia" and we discussed whether that tree had thorns or not.

I was uncertain where Jon had seen this species of tree – here or in Ohio. I knew Jon had once gone to Ohio with me and visited the Gallia County Farm. The Farm being composed of hills, Jon had been able to stand at the top of one of the hills and see how spectacular the trees and forests of the Farm were. I had previously told Jon that when I left Texas I intended to move to the Farm, if not to live there, at least to establish a home there to which I could always return.

As we reached the top of the rise, from where we could see all around the surrounding countryside, I told Jon to look around. From where we stood, all we could see was flat and brown. Some lonely mesquite trees cropped up here and there, but other than those, the view was one of desolation. This was what I wanted to point out to Jon. I wanted him to compare what was here to what he had seen in Ohio. This was why I had to leave Texas. Jon seemed to understand completely.

From where we stood, I could see not far from us the ruins of an old house. I had been unaware that the ruins were there, and I thought I might like to go through them some day, especially if I had a metal detector. But I didn't want to go to the ruins right now because I was uncertain to whom they belonged. I thought they might belong to a man who lived in another large house which I could also see. I had been aware of this large house, which was just behind my house, but I had never really talked with this man. I had the feeling he didn't like for people to be walking around on his land, and if he owned the ruins, I was afraid he would object if he saw us in them. I thought I would have to get some more information about who owned the ruins. I could go to the county courthouse and pull out the maps which showed who owned which property. In my mind I could even visualize the map of this particular area, and I looked at it for the landmarks which showed the area.

As Jon and I stood here on the rise, continuing to look around us, he asked me about the book I was carrying. It was no longer the Iliad. I explained to Jon that this was a book which I had written. Although the book had already been published, I still needed to make some changes in it. However the book had turned out to be quite good. The book was epic in nature, and was divided up into many short chapters, each chapter being essentially a short story, with all the stories coming together to form a whole. I was surprised when Jon told me he would like to read the book. He had never shown much interest before in my writing. But when I handed him the book, he sat down on the ground and began reading the first chapter. The first chapter was an especially good one and had been written in such a way as to catch the reader's interest, written to make the reader want to continue on. As Jon read, I could tell that his interest was being caught. In fact, when I told him I was ready to go back, he told me to go ahead, that he wanted to just stay here and read my book for a while. I had no problem with that, and I turned to head back.

I had only walked a short ways before I saw that the man who owned the big house, the man who didn't like people trespassing on his land, was sitting just off to my left in front of me. I was following a path, and I was uncertain whether the path was on the man's land or not. But as I passed him, he didn't say anything, and I concluded I must be right on the edge of his land. Although I had never said anything to him before, I said "Hello" in a friendly manner, and he responded in kind. I continued on, thinking he might not be as bad as I had thought, and maybe I just needed to be more friendly with him.

Once I was out of sight of the man, I came to an area which I had forgotten. Here the path changed dramatically. I had come to a steep section where the path went down at about a 45 degree angle in front of me. Along each side of the path were high brick walls, about ten feet apart, so that it was almost like going down through a roofless tunnel. Also, strung from one wall to the next was a series of rows of wires, each row several feet above the other.

As I stood at the top of the descent, I had to make a decision: I could just walk down the path, or I could fly down. If I flew, I knew I would have to be careful not to run into the wires, which could be quite dangerous. But with hardly any delay, I took flight. I began flying over top of the wires, heading down the long narrow path. But I soon had problems. Since I was going downhill, I began loosing control, going too fast. I was worried I would fly up completely out of the tunnel/path and totally lose control. I realized my only hope of regaining control was to go to a lower level, down below some of the rows of wires. This I managed to do. I reached the lowest level off the ground and continued flying down the slopping path.

But as I rushed toward the end of the tunnel, I was still going very fast, and now I saw a major problem. At the end of the tunnel/path were some trees, probably mesquite, growing right in the middle of the path. I was rapidly heading straight for them, and I couldn't slow down. At my rate of speed if I hit one of the trees I could be killed or seriously injured. But still I couldn't stop, and suddenly I smashed right into one of the trees and fell to the ground.

Amazingly, I suffered no injury whatsoever. I had felt some impact, but it was nothing. I stood up, picked up a wooden door made of light-colored wood, and walked out onto the street which was at the end of the path. My home was only about a block away, and I headed toward it. I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with the door, but I intended to put it to some use.

A fellow walked by me on the street, and referring to my door, he said, "Don't drop your almanac." I was unsure how he could have confused the door with an almanac, but apparently he had.

Once the man had passed me, I saw someone else coming toward me: Carolina. I was happy to see her. She had a big smile on her face as she looked at me with her big black eyes. Child-like, she had come out to show me something which she had bought for me: two cans of varnish which I could use to varnish the door. I was moved that she had thought about me that way, and I felt fortunate to know that she was my wife.

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