Of Grapes and Wonder


I ate lunch this week at this lovely, restful place. Women were there. I don’t always get along real companionably with women, but there are those whom I enjoy, who let me prattle on regarding what I think about things. They are kind. Robby, Carol, Kristie and Elizabeth are such women.

So there in winery sunshine we five got onto the topic of heaven, what it might be like and all. I described a dream I had this summer. It’s in my real-world journal, where I recorded it fresh. By your forbearance I’ll share it here, too.

One late morning in July I’d put Lucky the cat in our room outside (sometimes called the snake shack) so I, feeling heat-sick and sleep deprived, could go back to bed without risk of yowl-awakening.

I found myself out there again, having gone sound asleep inside the snake shack. Tim was working--he’d gently moved me to the round wooden table as I slept. Interesting, I thought, he hadn’t wakened me.

Tim had been busy repainting the little room, so now it was a cream color with a speckled pattern. The place looked so much better; I could tell Tim was happy he’d made it nice. Next he brought out a surprise: a bunkbed he’d picked up at a garage sale. It was black metal, with a strong plastic ladder hooked over the side. I exclaimed how we could now have guests out here.

I climbed the ladder, remembering spiders I’d seen on their webs earlier, when I first moved Lucky and her things. I laughed off the worry that one of them lurked above me and might drop into my hair. I knew it could happen--the spiders still existed, and I still didn’t like them being there--but no sense of panic assailed me.

Our surrounding yard was different, neither manicured in the way of retired folks nor wild in the way of nature, just different in a lush, cool, green way, with exquisite lighting over all. Still in the snake shack, I now sat down somehow on the cool grass, while Tim happily busied himself elsewhere.

My cousin Edwina showed up. She brought along a young girl, familiar from some time long ago in my life, and they sat next to me. Edwina looked the way I remember her when we were younger. She began explaining that they were part of a group game going on (like a scavenger hunt), and I understood Victoria had brought them back from a gathering of people she’d been to. Then a boy my son’s age from church ran past the doorway, toting a large squirt gun. I thought, This is great. I’m so glad these people wanted to come over.

Edwina said, “We need someone to do a bit from the ‘Ministry of Silly Walks’ sketch.” My son then showed up and obliged them in his best Monty Python reenactment form. People laughed. A mom from our homeschool group walked by, playing a colorful instrument.

My son and his friend lifted the walls and roof off the snake shack, so more people could join those of us inside, reclining on the softest of grass.

I put a hand to my hair, remembering I’d not yet showered. “I must look a mess,” I said. “Oh, well.” I truly chose to remain with the fun and the people rather than go fuss with my appearance.

-End of dream sequence.- Unless you know me, certain details might not stand out as unusual. For me, though, living calmly with spiders and unwashed hair and people coming over unannounced would be as miraculous as getting along easily with most women. The differences I saw in myself made this dream strikingly emotional. I wander out near the snake shack some days, just to recapture a fragment of awe.

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