Monday, February 2, 2009

I'm standing near an enormous leafy tree of some ancient, unknown variety. Suddenly, a branch slowly descends, stopping just before it reaches the pavement. The branch is several feet in diameter and an impressive tree in its own right. It's so heavy, I wonder why it doesn't break. The neighbors' two young cLinkhildren are watching from their window across the street. I decide I should go and tell their father to keep them away from the tree. As I start out in their direction, the branch begins to rise. As it does, it also turns clockwise. By the time I'm across the street, it's fully upright. The father meets me outside. While we stand there talking, the branch comes down again. His wife and kids join us. We all get into the neighbors' van and after traveling a short distance we arrive in an old city. We park near a tall marble building. We get out and start to walk. We pass the tree again, and I tell myself to be sure to remember where it is. Around the corner there's a small restaurant with shiny maple tables and a fireplace. We go in. The neighbors have been there before. They know everyone. The kids' father asks if I can stay, but instead of answering I leave. I think I know where I'm going, but the streets and buildings have changed. I cross one street and turn left at the next corner, expecting to find the tree. I follow the sidewalk up a gentle rise beside an old cathedral. I turn left at the next street. The buildings on the west side cast a deep shadow. As I walk along, I pass some kind of crazy street performer. He's a young man partially enclosed in a wire cage, but his feet and hands are free. A few feet beyond, the street narrows and becomes an alley full of trash and tipped over garbage cans. Just before I wake up, or just after, I see the tree again. I'm glad, but I still don't know where I am.

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