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
_ _ _ _ Dream
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
"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."
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
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.
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
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.
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.
Stik Mann's OtherSpokane