On a large branch just below me I see a boy of perhaps 12 lying on his back. He is dead. I am aware that he has been dead for many years, but his skin looks pink and healthy, as if he just died. He is naked except for a loincloth. He has shaggy brown hair. He is held to the branch by a single nail--about the size of a railroad spike--through his abdomen. But there is no blood. And there is no other sign of violence. He looks as if he died peacefully.

_ _Phopaw
tells me
his
Impact
_ _ _ _ _ Dream

I am kneeling by the fireplace,
poking at the nonexistent coals with a stick. Phopaw is doing the same. Suddenly he rises and looks down at me with a serious face.

"I had this dream about six months ago," he says calmly. "I had it shortly after I read your story about the "miracle" in the Yuma desert. It was the first impact dream I've had in quite some time."

I am one of three lawmakers trying to pass a piece of legislation. We are under threat from a group of opposing lawmakers who do not want it passed. I am aware that passing the legislation will put me and my family at risk. I and the other two lawmakers are standing on a cement deck outside an upper story hotel or meeting room.

The upper branches of a tall maple tree grow over the deck's iron railing, with the tips of the tallest branches extending over our heads. One of the lawmakers stands at my side, and I say to him that I will pass the law regardless of the consequences because I know it is right.

There is a mask in my hand. It is made of aged leather and edged with brown fur. It reminds me of a shaman's mask that used to hang in the living room of one of my childhood friends. The eyeholes are shielded by black plastic goggles like a gas mask. I put the mask over my face and lean backwards over the deck's metal railing, purposely causing myself to fall into the tree.

I land on a high branch on my back. I know that I have to get to the bottom of the tree. I seem to be unable to rise from my prone position, so I roll off the branch, causing myself to fall through a series of branches before landing unhurt on a low branch about 15 feet off the ground. Below I can now see a the forest floor below covered with dead maple leaves. The tree I am in is one of several maples in a wooded area.

On a large branch just below me I see a boy of perhaps 12 lying on his back. He is dead. I am aware that he has been dead for many years, but his skin looks pink and healthy, as if he just died. He is naked except for a loincloth. He has shaggy brown hair. He is held to the branch by a single nail--about the size of a railroad spike--through his abdomen. But there is no blood. And there is no other sign of violence. He looks as if he died peacefully.

Still on my back, I roll myself off the branch and fall to the ground unhurt. In doing so, I collide with the dead boy on his branch and knock his body to the ground. He hits the ground a few yards from me. He rises, now a ghost, and without looking at me or saying a word, turns and runs. The maple trees become a small fisherman's hut, and we are both inside it. The boy is running through a doorway into a blackened room. I remain on my back. A voice begins to narrate the dream as if it is a story being read.

"The boy returned with an oar of gold for his first son."

The ghost boy emerges from the blackened room with a cast iron oar about 9 feet long that has been painted with mustard yellow latex. He hands it to a boy of about 12. This boy is my son. He has a blond crew cut, wide shoulders and a healthy, ruddy complexion. He grasps the oar and looks at it complacently. The ghost boy runs back into the blackened room.

"And a silver oar for his other son."

The ghost boy emerges with a second cast iron oar, this one painted greyish white. He hands it to another boy who looks identical to the first, except that he is younger and smaller--maybe 8. This boy is also my son. He grasps the oar and looks at it with the same complacent expression as my older son.

I wake.

Phopaw kneels and tosses a stick in the fire. I say nothing for many minutes, contemplating the dream. Then I stand.

"In your dream," I begin, "you say you will pass the law regardless of the consequences because you know it is right.

"You believe you are right; but, with so much at stake (your family), don't you need to eradicate all doubt? To do so, you take a shamanistic plunge deeper into the unconscious.

"You put on the mask and purposely caused yourself to fall into the tree.

"At the bottom of your descent you find a symbol of Christ crucified. Your 'collision' with this symbol seems to cause his resurrection. Suddenly you are inside the fisherman's hut (Jesus -- fisher of men)-- that is to say, in the spirit, where truths are revealed.

"The appearance of the futuristic images of your sons (one not yet born), reveals that your family will prosper, despite your vote. But, your decision will not be easy on them, making it necessary that they 'paddle upstream.'

"What is this controversial 'new legislation' that you are to vote on? The symbolism suggests a religious concern. "

I kneel. Phopaw stands. He says nothing, but already I can see he does not agree with all points, perhaps even thinks the entire interpretation is crap. Still he says nothing. There'll be more on this subject later, I'm sure.


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