Monday, September 25, 2017

Dream Log: Ancestral Home

I dreamed that my brother and I were spending some time together at our ancestral home. The house kept changing size and shape, and in any of its permutations didn't closely resemble any place my brother and I ever actually lived, and in any case, our family has moved so often that no one place could be called our ancestral home.

At the beginning of the dream it was night, and my brother and I were walking through alleys filled with snow turning into slush, toward the family home, a small house painted white. The house's back door was on the alley. In the alley was a small mobile-home trailer. The trailer was empty of people, its door was open, it had several steps leading up from ground level, and on every step was a cigarette butt. Seeing the cigarette butts made me angry: nobody in our family smoked (not in the dream, anyway), and the butts made me think that my mother had once again been kind to someone who'd abused her kindness.

When my brother and I went into the house it was suddenly, much larger, with some individual rooms bigger than the small house we had approached from the alley. I started singing the Beatles' song "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," singing the lyrics and scatting between the sung lines to sound like the piano or Eric Clapton's guitar on the record. I thought I sounded pretty good, and became absorbed in this music-making.

Then I noticed that there was a third person in the house, a young woman wearing torn blue jeans and a denim jacket and colorful scarves. My brother was being very attentive to her, giving her various things she needed, and then politely but firmly showing her to the front door and closing the door behind her. Then he turned on me: he was angry, because I had been singing loudly and had left the front door wide open, a combination which had attracted the young woman and might have drawn more strangers to just come up and walk in.

I walked through some other rooms which appeared to be bedrooms -- enormous bedrooms. These rooms were full of books, on shelves and in piles on the floor. I came to a room which appeared to me my bedroom -- I wasn't entirely sure -- and in which very tall piles of books swayed precariously. Leopold von Ranke's book Die Paepste in the 1953 Duenndruck edition from K F Koehler was laying open on top of some stacks which were the height of a standing desk. (Die Paepste is a history of the Papacy, focusing on the time since the Protestant Reformation, first published in the 1830's. Duenndruck -- literally, "thin press" -- is a German which refers to books with very thin pages, which makes it possible to keep very long books relatively small. Books with Duenndruck are heavier than conventional books of the same size. In the realm of English-language publishing, many Bibles have this sort of very thin pages. I don't know any English term which is equivalent to Duenndruck. This K F Koehler edition of Die Paepste is a little over 1400 pages long, about the same as some editions of the King James Bible.)

In another room, my brother and I were looking out into our enormous backyard. Our house was no tiny and longer crowded on all sides by other tiny houses. Now it wasn't winter any more, but early autumn. The yard was enclosed by a wooden fence. Some pink flowers on vines were spilling over the fence from our neighbor's backyard into ours. I said that they looked like roses. My brother informed my that they weren't roses. He told me their name, but I've forgotten the name. Some of the buds were still tightly rolled and were the size of small roses, and others were wide open and floppy and as big as bushel baskets. I was slightly anxious about what sorts of insects might be in and around those big flowers.

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