+CHAPTER 10, BOOK 2 OF “THE DARK SIDE OF MILDRED’S MOUNTAIN” (‘Angel’)

The Dark Side of Mildred’s Mountain series – Angel book 2 beginning with the POP!  Goes Alaska letters – chapter 10

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10.  Dreaming Books

March 23, 2013.  I woke this morning when my hens began cackling outside my bedroom window just before daybreak remembering a dream.  I began having dreams that were important to my ongoing life the winter I was 9 in 4th grade.  I will write about that transition in my development when I get to that part of my story, 1960 to 1961.

In 1998 when I was 47 I had the last dream in what seems to be a series that lasted through all those years.  In 1997 I had realized, finally, how much more I preferred the world in my dreams than I did my waking life.  My attitude troubled me enough that I suspect in some ways I stopped remembering my dreams through my own choice.  However, I also wonder if my dreaming history as it began three years before my menarche and ended three years before my menopause possibly had something to do with the healing, enervating, soothing and very helpful influence of estrogen – until this benefit departed.

Although I very seldom remember any aspect of my dreams now, occasionally one of their themes carries through to my waking awareness, as happened this morning.  I feel blessed both by the nature of the dream and by my recollection of it.  I can think of no people I would rather have had appear in my dreams and no better outcome than the one I was shown today!

Our homesteading neighbors will be introduced in Mildred’s letters beginning in 1959.  Among the ones most important to the success of our family’s venture were the people who lived closest to us at the bottom of “our” mountain, Lowell and Dorothy Pollard and their two young sons.  I last saw these people the summer of 1969 before I left home after my 18th birthday that fall. 

It was through Dorothy’s homesteading book which she thoughtfully gave a copy of to each of us Lloyd children that she and I connected in 2008.  Eight Stars of Gold:  Notes from a Mid-Century Alaska Homestead Journal (2008, Vantage Press) is, according to Joe Anne Vanover, who is a lifetime Alaskan and herself a homesteader, “one of the loveliest accounts of homesteading ever written.”  Interestingly, although Joe Anne and her deceased husband John were good friends with Lowell (who passed from this world nearly 20 years ago), they never met Dorothy.  I am greatly honored to be in contact with both of these astounding women who are now past their mid-80s.

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The season of my dream was a warm one.  I had no battle with snow and ice as I repeatedly walked a long road upon rich black soil into the Eagle River Valley that led to Pollards’ inviting cabin – and then back out again.  Dorothy was lovingly caring for my siblings while I worked on my task.  Sharon was 2, Cindy 4, and John was 7 in my dream just as they were at this current 1957 stage in the Lloyd family story.  I was the age I am now.

Lowell was slumbering peacefully in a quiet part of the house as my contented siblings benefited from Dorothy’s tending.  In the dream I hiked many times to their house to lay the next completed book on the ground at the base of a thick root that arched out of the soil under a large spruce tree that grew to the left as I came up the gentle slope of Pollards’ driveway.  Each time I entered the house, paused for a brief visit with Dorothy, checked on my siblings and then left again to hike back out of the valley.

At the end of the dream I returned to place the final book I had written on top of the tall pile of volumes stacked neatly at the base of the spruce tree.  As I entered Pollards’ house Lowell, looking rested and relaxed, sauntered into the cheerful kitchen yawning and stretching luxuriously.  When he saw me a wide grin flashed across his face as he spoke the only words I remember from this dream, “Hi, Linda!  How are ya doin’?”

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This dream cheered, comforted and encouraged me.  I no longer feel so alone in my work, and I can visualize completing it.  This dream clarified how I see my siblings in relation to this task of telling my trauma story within Mother’s words.  I want them to be innocent, free from any burden, safe, happy, content and lovingly cared for while I busily complete these books.

When it comes to my question, “Whose book is this?”  I now know a lot more than I did yesterday because of this dream.  Ultimately this story belongs to the earth.  I will lay it down.  I will offer it.  I will let it go.  Somehow I tell this story for my siblings as well as for myself.  Something about this task is rectifying to me, as if its completion can in some way even help to heal my parents.

This is a sharing story.  The Lloyd family members were the participants in the story as it was lived – so that it can now be told.  These books are a gift to all who might learn something new and useful from reading them, even if the only lesson some readers come to understand is that adults who survived hellacious childhoods of abuse and trauma will NEVER be able to leave their childhood in the past as many uniformed and misinformed people seem to believe that we can.

I feel refreshed, restored, reinvigorated and very hopeful now that this journey is right for me, that it is good, that the books will bring benefit, even that they are a gift to all of us being brought forth through the writings of Mildred and myself.  I am dedicated.  I know how to focus.  I know how to work.  All that remains for me to concern myself with is the writing of these books.  I need fear no longer.

All life belong to the Creator.  The Creator.  The Great Mystery.  The greatest storyteller Who began all stories with, “In the beginning was the Word.”

To be the writer of a truly tragic tale who makes its story beautiful would require a great gift.  I will do my best, with gratitude, to be so worthy.

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