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At 7:05 A.M., I awoke with this unsettling dream, unusual because of a long period of no recall:

It is Sunday. Night darkens the conference complex where a large number of mixed adolescents have been spending the weekend. Because they’ve had no exposure to sexuality in textbooks or experience, teachers inform them. As days pass, the adolescents have become unruly: seamy jokes, scurrilous laughter, and throwing food. Any display of authority is met with snickers. I’m concerned if there will be sufficient time to clean up the complex before the scheduled arrival of another group.

In the dream, I work in maintenance, strong and healthy in my uniform. Both night and Sunday suggest endings: of the day and of the weekend; their implications, though, speak to my end-time of eighty-six years, a long time to live.

The conference complex suggests the setting in my psyche, designated for learning that poses daily challenges. In the dream, though, it’s besmirched by the adolescents up-ended by the presentations. Many want to experiment, in full view of all. Such displays the inner turmoil in my unconscious, roused, perhaps, by yesterday’s felt terror of my death. Even that moment was too much.

The dream concludes with stress roused by the Herculean task of restoring the conference complex in a few days for another group. I feel similarly with the task still lurking in my psyche. On the surface, all appears in order, but this is not so.

This is where Precious God comes in …

At 7:30 A. M., it was difficult waking from this celebratory dream:

I was initially alone, walking the country roads. Sunshine emboldened the trees, shrubs, meadows, even the dusty road curving ahead of me. After I turned the next bend, faint strains of guitars, rhythmic instruments, songs in all languages met me; the closer I got, the more distinct the strains. Then, a tall colorful character, dressed in scarlets and feathers blew a reed pipe, the breezes swirling the decorative ribbons attached to his wrists. Behind him, laughing children skipped and hopped making merry. As he approached other children sitting in the middle of the road, he handed them an instrument from his sack and invited them to join their celebration—a tambourine fell into mine and I began dancing with the others. 

At length the celebratory dance concluded, with promises to return next year. My heart felt heavy.

It was a gift to remember this dream, given the racing effects of my nightly “Cocktail”: small amounts of liquid morphine to help with breathing and lorazepam, with sleep. For months, mornings have been a tumble of splintered dreams that quickly fade, only leaving a brief residue of feelings.

In this dream, I am ecstatic. The appearance of a tall colorful character, likely Creator God in disguise, seemed intent upon actualizing everyone’s birthright before making their transition. Conceivably, the laughing children have already attained theirs.

But sadness concludes the dream

Still another year must pass before I’m permitted to celebrate another celebration with the tall colorful character, dressed in scarlets and feathers—Perhaps, referencing my own demise, burdened by more practice of my tambourine.

But this glance into my psyche gives me hope. I’ll know where to find Him.

Winter’s lethal touch seems not to disquiet this gray squirrel, seen digging in my back yard, presumably for seeds hidden during warmer climes.

Other eyes, from centuries past, have drawn inspiration from the squirrel’s activities: the Osage Native Americans who roamed these hills. Their surroundings offered food, aplenty, but had to be hunted, cultivated, harvested, preserved, and hidden away from poachers, other Indians or settlers. Survival from fickle weather, for both Indians and animals, was the communal goal.

The Osage perceived all living creatures as gifts from Mother Earth with whom they were inextricably bound. Squirrels were notable for their preparedness, sociableness, industry, and foraging for seeds and nuts, their presence by aggressive and noisome chatter. Identifying with their spirit quickened their own in the midst of daily hardship. 

Even in dire straits, the Osage were reluctant to feed off the squirrel, but did so if critical for survival, with thanksgiving to Mother Earth.

In my perception, the Osage’s proximity to squirrels and all living creatures interfaced with their imaginative story-telling; its rich oral tradition afforded ultimate meaning to their lives. From these depths emerged their legends and sacred rituals; images of squirrels on totem poles.

They knew who protected and guided them.

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