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“Hey, while you were napping it happened—just like we told you,” said the bronzed counselor, standing in the screened doorway of the log cabin, his toothy smile, still taut with braces. We turned over on our damp mats, then rubbed sleep from our eyes, then stood up. He waited as we put away the smelly mats, then followed everyone outside. This was Camp Sebago, 1941, long since, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri.

In front of us grew The Magic Tree that seemed to increase its height and girth, from one day to the next, especially noticeable on Mondays, our return to camp. Some wanted to spend the night at its base and watch it happen. If you stood beneath it, it was impossible to glimpse the sky; it just went up and up. No other tree was like it in the world.

For weeks, we’d been reminded that if we continued being good, the Magic Tree would give us a surprise.

Dusty T-shirts and shorts and sandals formed concentric circles around our talisman as excitement mounted like flashing fountains reaching for the skies.

Then, the Magic Tree’s treat slowly unfolded as counselors put together the story: they, alone, were privy as to how it all happened. While we were sleeping, the Magic Tree gave birth to the watermelon secured to that upper limb lest it fall. So, that was it! We marveled. Everyone gasped as other counselors lowered it with ropes, then began cutting into the sweet meat. In no time, my chubby hands, juiced with my slice, engulfed it whole and wanted more.

In later years theologians superimposed the Tree of Life upon the Magic Tree; the Messianic Banquet, upon the watermelon. From whatever angle I view this experience, it was all gift from Precious God. In many ways, I’m still that hungry child who wants more…

Around 7 A.M., I awoke with this laughing dream, unlike I ever remember receiving:

Ellen Sheire, a close friend, invited me to join her for a weekend gathering of mixed artists, thinking I needed a change. My tension mounted as we drove through a heavily wooded area to the rustic house, built by the owners.

Games, unusual artworks crafted from materials taken from the environs, some painted in brilliant colors set everyone laughing. Off to myself, I marveled over the originality of the displays, also painfully aware that I longed to slough off my conservative attire, to laugh more, and to somehow become more colorful.

The last morning, I began cleaning up the dining room, littered by the guests, but Ellen stopped me and asked: “Don’t you know that half the fun of giving a party is cleaning up afterwards?”

This dream, rollicking with laughter—my jaws, my sides still aching from the hilarity—taught me to let up on my end-time babble. Everything that lives must die. My close friend and Jungian analyst in real life, Ellen Sheire, who knew me as no other ever did, always provided an antidote for the multiple complexes in which I stumbled and fell. And, here she surfaces in this dream with another antidote: No need to be spun around in grief’s vortex when there’s the option of laughter.

Again, like so many of those Friday morning hours, in her analysis room, I’ve been helped. I’m grateful and pray for fresh courage to laugh down the monstrous catastrophes spawned from fear of the unknown—as if there was no God to bring me home. In the meantime, there’s more psychic excavation to be done.

On May 10, 1788, three years before his death, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completed his Symphony No. 41 in C major K. 551. Coined The Jupiter by the impresario Johann Peter Salmon, it was Mozart’s gift from the heart, despite being steeped in debt and ill. He had received no commission to compose it, his psyche ordering its composition. Its four movements resonate with the passions of his short life: eroticism, strife, grief, over-spending, intimacy, and joy. Yet, there was and is no stopping of his musical voice.

It has been wisely said that a classical composer of great music does not die, but simply becomes music. This, I experienced last night. Mozart’s compelling presence during The Jupiter helped quiet my low mood and led to deeper acceptance of my circumstances—again, the nudge from Precious God.

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