Dream of: 29 April 1998 "Love w/o"

Surrounded by tall trees, the small clear-running creek was dappled by heavy white boulders, smooth and large enough to sit on. The place was so idyllic and enchanting, I was stunned by its beauty. I knew I had taken a short walk from the House in Patriot, but I hadn't anticipated stumbling upon such an exquisite setting. This was exactly the kind of place where I would enjoy some tranquil meditation.

Bordering one side of the picturesque scene rose a green grass-covered levy. I quickly mounted to the top of the levy to see what was on the other side. From the top I could see a baseball field off in the distance, so far away that I could barely descry the players. Perhaps later I would meander over to the field, but at the moment I was more interested in my peaceful setting which I had discovered.

Turning back toward the creek and the white boulders, I saw the other side opposite the levy was densely crowded with jungle-like trees and plants. Suddenly, from behind one tree, a face flashed for just an instant, and then pulled back behind the tree. My first reaction was fear — I was uncertain who might be out there in these woods. I hollered out, "I see you!"

After climbing down from the levy and creeping gingerly up to the trees where I had seen the face, I was surprised to find an old weather-beaten barn nestled among the trees. Stepping through the wide open door, I surveyed the interior and almost immediately knew who lived there — poor and homeless people. I was very apprehensive, realizing I was in unfamiliar territory and uncertain what dangers might be lurking there. Whoever was living there might pugnaciously resent my presence.

Smack in front of me stood a disheveled bed with a man lying on it. He was covered up to the waist, but his muscular chest was bare. His face wasn't clearly visible, but he had long brownish-blond hair. Although he looked healthy and strong, he seemed ill and weak, and I had the feeling I didn't need to be worried about his bothering me.

Also under the covers of the bed was a lump about the size of another person. The lump began to move and finally a young black fellow crawled out and stood up near me. About the same time, two other people emerged from the shadows. One was a puffy woman, slovenly dressed in a faded red garment. The other was a man who looked almost like a cartoon character. He stood several heads taller than I, with long out-of-proportion arms. His shoulders were bunched up and his back was bent slightly. He was probably in his 40s, but seemed almost child-like.

In all, four people were in the room — the man lying in the bed, the young black fellow, the slovenly woman, and the man-child. After being with them for a few minutes, my anxiety began to ease, and I perceived they presented no danger. They were probably more frightened of me than I of them. They were almost completely vulnerable, huddled together in the decrepit barn, with no home of their own. My feelings for them quickly changed to compassion as I sensed that if anything, they needed help.

I walked toward the back of the barn where another bed was set up, and paused next to a table sitting beside the bed. My attention was caught by a single sheet of light blue paper lying on the table. I picked up the paper and recognized my own handwriting on it. At the top right side of the paper were several lines of my writing which appeared to be a poem. Among the words was written "love w/o." The letters "w/o" (which I knew was an abbreviation for the word "without") appeared several times in the poem. At the end of the poem, still in my handwriting, was written the name, "Lou Reed." I knew who Reed was — a musician who had produced quite a few records. But I didn't recall having written these lines. I wondered if they were the lyrics of one of his songs which I had copied.

Further down in the middle of the blue sheet was more of my handwriting. Glancing over the writing, I noticed the word "love" again, written several times. As I read the writing, I realized the words were notes which I had written for a dream which I had had. Sometimes before writing a dream I would quickly write down important parts of the dream so I wouldn't forget them. These notes seemed to be an example of that.

But how did this sheet of paper come to be here? I could arrive at only one answer — one of these homeless people must have been going through my trash and found it. I must have thrown the paper out when I had been finished with it, and one of these homeless had retrieved it and brought it here.

My ruminations were suddenly and dramatically ended when a new man burst into the barn. He was a thin energetic man, probably in his late 40s. In no time at all I knew who he was — the owner of the barn. He belligerently began demanding that everyone leave. He apparently thought I was also one of the homeless, because he directed some of his anger at me. I quickly hollered back at him, "I'm a lawyer."

At once I knew I was going to try to defend the homeless people against this man. It seemed reprehensible to me that he should be acting so selfishly, that he should be tying to evict these poor people from this old barn which he wasn't using anyway. I walked up to the man, and first tried to calm him down. Since I thought he was probably from Patriot, I asked him if he had known my grandfather Liston. The man said he had known my grandfather, and he began to soothe down some. But although somewhat mollified, he still seemed intent on evicting everyone from the barn.

Just then another man walked into the barn. This man was obviously not homeless, but simply a casually dressed fellow, perhaps a tourist, who had lost his way. I immediately walked up to the new fellow and began angrily screaming at him that this wasn't his barn and that he must leave immediately. But I wasn't angry with the man. I was simply trying to show the man who owned the barn how he had looked when he had barged in screaming at the homeless people. I quickly explained to the fellow at whom I had been screaming that I was just acting. I even put my arms around him and hugged him for a moment. He seemed quite confused by everything which was happening. But at least I thought that I had made my point to the owner of the barn, and that perhaps he had been able to see what he looked like. Perhaps he would even relent and allow the homeless to stay there.

Meanwhile the four homeless people had walked out in front of the barn. I also walked outside and saw that the four of them had some pots and pans with food which they were selling to people now crowding into the area. Many tourist-like people were converging on the scene. Apparently my little alcove in the forest wasn't as secluded as I had originally believed. But I couldn't help but be impressed by the industry of the four homeless, that at least they were tying to do something by selling the food.

However, I began to have second thoughts about defending them against the owner of the barn. Perhaps the owner did have a point. Could he legally allow people to stay in his barn? Could he charge rent? What if I were to pay the rent? I didn't think I could do that. I was beginning to see the point of the owner of the barn. It was quite an uncomfortable situation.

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