Dream of: 19 June 2001 "Freedom"

I was walking around a large warehouse-like room filled with my possessions. Everything appeared to be in storage, waiting to be auctioned off or sold individually. I was a little surprised to see my great-uncle Ray, my great-aunt Jane and my great-aunt Dorothy walking through the room, perusing some of the items. All three looked as if they were in their 50s. I decided to show them some unusual things I had accumulated; I walked over to Jane and picked up a fancy blue book lying on a table. The book was enclosed in a blue case; I pulled the book from the case and began leafing through the pages filled with colorful Chinese pictures. I pointed out to Jane that this was a book of Chinese art, something the likes of which she had probably never seen.

I felt like talking with Jane, but I didn't want to just chit-chat. So I opened with a topic which I thought was important, but about which I figured she probably knew nothing: I asked her if she knew there were approximately 200 billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. I could tell from her glazed look that she had no concept of the size of her own galaxy. I tried to put the huge number in some perspective for her, and I told her that if there were 200 billion stars in the galaxy, that would mean that there were 80 stars for every person on earth. (As an afterthought I thought I might have needed to clarify that I was talking about people who were alive right then, and not all the people who had ever lived.) I thought of mentioning that our galaxy was only one of billions or trillions of galaxies, but I saw no need to confuse her further.

Jane looked at me uncomprehendingly. Obviously no one ever talked to her about things like that; but why shouldn't I talk about something worthwhile instead of the usual swill to which she was accustomed? Jane blurted out something to the effect that I must value my freedom. I answered, "Yep, and I'm not free."

But I appreciated what she had said; she seemed to deduce from my eccentricity that I was much freer than most people, that my life-style afforded me a great deal of freedom. But I knew I wasn't completely free, and I almost added a line from a Bob Dylan song about how birds are never free of the chains of the skyways, a line I had long esteemed. I repeated the word "freedom" to myself several times. How important it was to me to be free; and how seldom I stopped to appreciate my freedom! Yet freedom was essential for me; I needed to be free.

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