Back to places I’ve inhabited or at least visited

A rather elaborate sequence of dreams after drafting a letter to our former landlords. I had fallen asleep especially early, around 8 p.m., and this was kicking in probably around 4 a.m. and continuing until 6:

I’m in Yakima (actually had an elaborate “east of Yakima” dream about six months ago, heading through the small towns off toward Tri-Cities … no trace of its content now). Except that this one could as easily be Binghamton or even Manchester.

It picks up as we’re coming over the crest of a high hill overlooking the city. We’re on a clean concrete boulevard on a sunny day, the downtown arrayed below us – and golden hillsides overlooking it from the other side. Blue sparkling river flows through it. (Columbia River, as it is up in Wenatchee?) We’re chatting about my return visit after so long.

Actually, I now remember there was an earlier episode about taking my family out West … spurred by the letter, actually … so they become part of the crowd in this series, even when they’re masked as others, I suppose. In actually, it’s a golden morning after a very glum Sunday.

It’s a smooth sweep downhill, skirting the downtown. We’re talking about a movie that was done here. (Maybe even picking up on another recent dream of visiting Ivar’s orchard, which in reality could have been in York County as easily as Washington State.)

Next thing I know is we’re driving along the sparkling blue river. From the angle of the sunlight, we must have been headed east. The freeway is in a set of elaborate caging – wiring like extended lobster pots, actually – sprinkled by a earlier shower perhaps or occasional irrigation. A vast serpentine structure along the river and overhead – was the other side cliff? “They haven’t done a movie with this yet, have they?” Laughter. And our guide (Phyllis?) replying, “Not yet.” It was very cinematic and joyful.

We pull off at a small mill area … like those of New England. (I now remember yet another recent dream, of what I pegged as eastern Ohio or even West Virginia: driving along an industrial valley, leaving the freeway and visiting within the varied small cities. Many shades of Warren, Niles, Youngstown, with moats thrown in. Maybe this dream repeatedly. Trying to reconnect with something lost.) We park and walk past or through a small Catholic church and out on a shaded plaza beside a mill. In the window, I see someone sitting. Looks like Carl P., only turning to face us, is a woman. Not pleased by our banter, either. We start to borrow a picnic table bench to use elsewhere, then I turn around and replace it. Glancing down the street beside the church, I notice that what first appeared to be triple-deckers beside the mill are actually one long, complex series of stucco apartments with Roman Catholic crosses in strategic places.

I think we had been visiting in one of the apartments … a rather erotic introduction for me … though it’s all fuzzy now. Again, later vague memories of other apartment dreams and student-residents. Colleges or art schools. Maybe Cincinnati and theaters or music.

We exit through the church, and dash across the street to a parking lot – all set high above the river, like the Sam Hill museum and Stonehenge in the Horse Heaven Hills. The headlights of a procession approach – either a wedding or, as it turns out, a funeral. Now off to the side, we watch two groups in conflict – the funeral contingent above, with the hearse, and a group taunting and jeering below. Some kind of minor thug – a woman? – is to be buried after a funeral mass.

But first, we’re off. Somehow, our own crowd has changed. It’s more crowded, and Phyllis must be driving. A teenage orphan is snuggled up next to me and several others. (It’s getting very erotic.) She’s freckled, open-faced, and has somehow managed to live on her own – a victim of the thug’s oppression. A blanket’s thrown over us. I reach down to scratch my leg (I’m wearing shorts) but am scolded for touching someone else. Lift the blanket, and a face looks up at us. “Sorry. I’ll keep my hands up here, to myself.” Laughter. There are other bodies pressed in against us, too. It’s a crowded, but joyful trip.

Turns out this is part of a group that sees this as the moment of liberation from the thug’s circle.

A leap again, and we’ve stopped at a small roadside restaurant called, it turns out, Baklava’s. Looks like a Carvel’s or Baskin-Robbins. We’re running around in some confusion. I see bagels for sale, but not what I’m seeking. (Something big and fluffy, like a cinnamon roll, or even baklava.) “Oh, the coffee comes with baklava,” I’m told, and yes, the coffee is dark and thick.

After I get my order, one of our companions (not Phyllis?) goes up to the counter, where the manager (I presume) in a red-plaid shirt is at the counter. She squirts him with a fountain pen-turned-hypodermic, hitting him with a dark liquid. He falls over backward. He was one of the thugs and we’ve made our hit. We run from the store and no one pursues us to the parking lot. Good thing, since my car keys are tangled in my pocket. (So I’m driving now?) Even with the delay, there’s no sensation of panic. We’re on the side of justice, however illicit. The people’s side. Justice has been served. It’s still morning.

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