March alternated between mud and snow at Timberline. Morning steam boiled off the river and the cottonwoods looked ripe. Storms passed fast and the days grew longer. The sound was a song and penetrated sleep.
Spring is a time of emergence. Life explodes out of dark wet earth. It’s the big bang birth of the new year. I spent time with the pines in the grove. The dry sunny spot under the leaning tree was perfect for a sun bath. I closed my eyes and stared directly at the light.
The patterns on my eyelids, like looking into the fireplace flames, were stable and shifting. I slipped into day dreams and then back out. I thought about the old mother tree that once stood tall in the middle of the grove. I thought about Irma. Her spirit remains, like the tree.
While I consider myself a timberline tree, the one in my dreams is the old ponderosa that bends towards the river. It adds a ring each year and grows only slowly. Large branches break off and leave hawk perches, places for owls. The eagles land on top.
I had a dream. She stepped out of the bus without much fuss or fanfare. I didn’t expect much. The spirit of the mother tree was young, not old. Beautiful to the point of worship, I did not feel worthy. Her naked skin was oiled and shimmered in the sunlight.
She held my eyes and let me feel. Then she lowered her eyes and let me look. No wonder they loved the goddess.
I’d met Dahl once before. On the trip to the canyons we stopped at Two Buttes. John Milton wanted to visit the family and show me the place. I decided with a rare pledge of commitment, I’d return in the summer and learn from him. But now he was here. John Milton had taken his day off to fetch him. No saying how old he was. Dahl was curious about the school. I knew he’d been here in the past.
We sat in front of the fireplace and sipped on brandy. Dahl had nothing against drink. He asked more questions than I asked him, which goes against my style. He was digging at the roots. John Milton had told him, “It’s a highly unlikely school.” He wanted to uncover.
I surprised myself with details. I’d never told the story in a single narrative and as soon as I finished, I wanted to start over. Dahl understood and said it’s good to spiral. The story had changed by morning and spiraled-in on dreams.
Not many people can listen to dreams and follow them. I have to take notes to concentrate. I fall into image pools and can’t get out. Dahl stepped into dreams like they were native soil.
I described the dream bus and the many-colored driver. His familiarity was such I assumed John Milton had told him all about the dreams. But John Milton hadn’t told his grandfather. Dahl asked, “How about you?”
After I shared the goddess dream, where she stepped out of a bus, he asked, “Tell me about her eyes.” Dreams and memories don’t just happen and end, they stay alive. The more we reflect, the more we can see. I said, “Spring green.” Dahl said, “I thought so.”
He asked when I was born and John Milton answered for me. “It’s his birthday.” He asked about my birth. I would have told the story, but I remembered a dream. It seemed too random to skip. I was sitting in movie theater next to an old man and watching a mystical play.
When he levitated, which shocked me, no one seemed to notice. The audience was fixated on the stage. “Why can’t they see you?” He said, “It’s the damnedest thing, they think I’m dead.”