Dream of: 24 May 1997 "Lead Me Home"

I had gone to a town which I identified as West Union, Ohio. It was a quaint country town, nestled in the forests of southern Ohio. I tried to remember the last time I had been to the town and concluded it must have been six to ten years ago. I was happy to be here again, out in the country. I was going to meet a man and his wife, old friends, and together with their two sons, all of us were going to go camping out into the forest.

When I pulled up in my car to my friends' house, I had my pet Dalmatian Chaucer and my pet Dalmatian Picasso with me. A group of four or five other dogs, including one particularly large black dog, gathered outside my car door, and I let Picasso and Chaucer out to go run with the other dogs. I also stepped out of the car and found that the man and woman, as well as their two sons, were already packed and ready to go in another car. I climbed into their car with them, and in no time we headed off down the road together.

Both the man and woman were probably in their mid 30s, and the woman closely resembled Melanie. I was happy to be with them, and I felt great being out in the country. I mentioned to them that our main purpose on this trip was to have fun.

As we headed out of town, the man, who was driving, pointed to an old motel and said that when the Kroger store had first come to the town, it had started in one room of the motel. Later the Kroger had moved into its own store. When the man mentioned a few other points of local history, I reflected that he was quite the historian of this little burg. Obviously he had lived here a long time and the place was dear to his heart.

He also mentioned that when we reached the forest, we might stop and visit someone he knew who had a house in the woods. I didn't particularly want to see anyone else: I hadn't shaved this morning, and I felt a little dirty. Besides that, I realized I felt a little dirty inside. It occurred to me that I had a couple bad habits – masturbation and drinking coffee – which made me feel bad inside, and that I needed to give up both of these habits completely. It also seemed that the two habits seemed to feed on each other, that one caused the other. If I could just give up one, I should be able to give up both. I resolved that this would be a good time to do so.

Suddenly I realized something: we had driven off and left Picasso and Chaucer behind. I immediately told the man we had to go back. We hadn't gone far, so it was no problem. He turned around, and headed back. Just as we were reaching the house, I saw an animal outside and focused on it. It was a pleasant surprise to see that it was a raccoon. I loved seeing wild animals like that.

Once the man stopped the car at his house, I quickly got out and began looking for the dogs, but I couldn't find them anywhere. I walked over to an outside garage and stepped inside. Everything was exceptionally neat inside the garage. But what caught my attention was a car which had been cut in half and placed on a large shelf on the side of the garage. The trunk of the car was open, and inside the trunk I could see a nice motorcycle also cut in half. It appeared that the cutting of the car and the motorcycle hadn't harmed them in any way, and that the man had simply done what was expedient in order to store the vehicles. I was most impressed by how spotless and neat everything looked. I wished I could be that neat. It was also interesting because I recalled that the man and I had known each other when we had been quite young, and I didn't recall his always having been so tidy. In fact I recalled that once when we were young, the two of us had broken something and it had caused some problems. But obviously he had changed over the years and straightened up his act. I however was still about the same.

I looked everywhere for the dogs but I couldn't find them. Finally I realized what must have happened: there had been two car-loads of people who were going camping, and the dogs must have gotten into the first car and had already left. I walked back toward the car with my friend and his family, intending to get in, and head back out again, thinking we would find the dogs when we reached our destination. But just before I reached the car, I looked down and saw a small black skunk, with its white streak down its back, run up to me and begin trying to attack one of my feet. I tried to kick it away, but it just kept coming at my foot, insistent on attacking me. I ran up to the driver's side of the car, grabbed the outside of the door, and pounded on the trunk with my hand, signaling for my friend to drive off. He perceived the problem, and he drove off with me hanging on, allowing me to free myself from the little skunk.

Once we were safely away, I slid into the back seat of the car, picked up a road map, and started trying to figure out exactly where we were. I figured about 50 miles from Cincinnati. Close enough so that people could come up here from Cincinnati to spend the weekend. It would be a good place for someone to build a lodge.

We had just passed the outskirts of town, when I looked out the window, and noticed a number of geese sitting in a barren rocky area along side the road. It appeared the geese were sitting on eggs, or hatchlings, and I found it peculiar that the geese would have set their nests in such a stony area. But what I saw next was even more peculiar. From several different spots close to the geese, water suddenly spurted up out of the ground and into the air. I could see from the steam which erupted with the water that it must be boiling hot. Clearly we were in the middle of some hot springs. I was fascinated. I hadn't heard of these springs before. I asked the man and woman about them and they told me the springs had always been there.

The man and woman went on to say that in the past many people had been burned by the hot water from the springs. I began having visions of hospital wards full of people lying in beds, not wanting to be touched by anyone because their skin was so red and painful from the burns they had received. I was amazed that this kind of thing had apparently been going on for years and I had never known it.

We drove just a short way farther to where I saw a rushing stream of the hot water beside the road. The stream reached a drop-off where the hot water tumbled over a waterfall. We slowed down near the top of the waterfall, where a crowd of people was gathered along the side of the stream.

I had never seen such a thing as what I then began to witness. Among the crowd of people was a group of convicts, 20-30 of them, mostly dressed in black and many wearing old-fashioned stove-pipe hats. It quickly became clear to me what was taking place. The convicts, in a public spectacle, were being sent over the hot waterfalls. The whole affair had the feel of a religious gathering, and the woman in the car mentioned that the odds were lower that the criminals would repeat their offenses once they had been sent over the hot falls. I was dumb-struck as I watched the men flow past in the hot water, still wearing their stove-pipe hats. In the background I could hear the strains of a gospel song, which seemed to refer to the stream. Someone was singing, "It shall lead me home."

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