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The Realistic Dream
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The dream seemed so vivid, so real to me. I remembered everything when I sat up in bed thinking it was later than it was. What? Only 6:10 am. You’ve got to be kidding. I groaned. I had only slept for a couple of hours. And now I felt wide awake because of this dream that would not leave my heart or my head. No, the cat wasn’t scratching at the door either.

In the dream, I saw myself trekking up my usual trails in the woods at the edge of Eugene, Oregon. Nothing unusual there. I’m always walking the trails, but this time, I seemed to be on a mission to get somewhere. I kept going towards Spencer Butte Summit. I have not attempted to hike all the way to the top in a long time. If I walk there from my house on Amazon Drive, I’d have to trek uphill on three different connection trails before reaching the second half of the Summit trail which is the steepest. Okay, so when my sister Jennifer visits, she can make it to the top of the Summit in about 90 minutes. That’s about four miles one way — mostly uphill, which makes it seem further. Even the one-mile part of the Amazon Headwaters trail that I hike regularly is uphill. That’s a workout in itself to me.

Anyway, I haven’t even attempted to get to the top of the Summit, even though I can see it from the living room window and my yard. I saw it every day after my foot surgery while I was laid up with a cast. I’m walking again, and it feels so good. I suppose I thought of reaching the top of the summit when I talked to a couple of “regulars” I see on the trails frequently. One guy said he walks to the top of the Summit every day — others have told me the same thing. I usually cannot imagine how they do it so quickly or how they do it at all. Most people start at the actual Summit trailhead, so it’s only one mile up hill to the top. But I would go the back way because I live at the bottom of one of the trails, and I don’t even have to drive.

So, back to my dream again. There I am hiking up the trail and loving it. Suddenly, I’m on that Willamette trail that goes further up toward the summit. I’m just moving along in my dream — and I don’t feel alone. I feel as if I’m surrounded by deer, bunnies, and birds, especially Towhee bird. That one seems to follow me around. And I feel as if the spirit of Flower is with me and another strong force. My mother. She’s been gone for so long, 25 years now. But I know she’s still out there in the spiritual world someplace. And I can picture all of our doggies and a couple of kitties who have left this earth hanging with them as I continue my journey as if it’s no big deal.

Next thing I know, I”m on my favorite part of the trail before the Summit trail where the old-growth Douglas Fir trees reside. They’re as big as redwood trees, and mystical. The trail is never crowded like the Summit trail. People are missing out. It’s like no big deal. I don’t even have to stop and rest. I just move along as fast as my sister walks — which is pretty darned fast. Then I’m on the Summit trail for that last crazy half-mile to the top. I reach those giant stone steps, and I navigate them with no trouble.

Then I’m at the top looking down at Eugene, Oregon, and my neighborhood. Hey, is that my house down there? Wow! It takes my breath away.

“I made it!” I yell, and I hear people cheer. I thought at first other hikers cheered, but nope.

I gasp as I see my mother, young and beautiful again with a darned lit cigarette, and I see my Dad, my kids when they were little, and me and the neighborhood gang — ALL the characters from my book, “How Do I Explain This To My Kids?” The book I’m almost done with, but I had to stop when Flower passed away. She’s there too telling me it’s okay to finish. I must finish so all of my characters can come to life.

I remember telling my kids and others after my mom passed away that all we have to do is write about those we loved and lost to keep their spirits alive forever. Stevie writes about Flower every day. And I have written about everyone I’ve lost.

Their lights shine forever.

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