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I’m in a city park chasing a polar bear, trying to encourage him to return home. In the world of dreams, this beautiful white bear has been a member of our family for years. I think Sarah brought him home when she was a little girl and we lived in Mountain View. He was a cub then and could have passed for a stuffed toy if he remained perfectly still. Over the years he has grown old, large and fat. Each of my children seem to have their own history with him, their own unique relationship.

In the beginning of this dream he is being a nusance and this chase–for him a simple frolick–is wearing me out. My young children, however, are delighted, laughing and cheering the polar bear on. Eventually, the bear relents and we all walk home together. The bear curls up on a bed in the garage and Sarah wants to spend the night out there with him.

When  I go to wake her in the morning, the polar bear has died and his hair is all matted and smelling of bear sweat. Lovingly, I brush his fur out, not wanting her to wake to what I know will break her little girl heart. She wakes up on her own, however, and wonders what her daddy is doing with the brush. I tell her that our white bear is dead. “He was very old and fat.” She gets down and kneels beside him, pats his head and says a prayer.

The next thing I am conscious of, Sarah is out of doors playing with the little white cub. Spiritually, I know it is the family bear, still clean and white and full of frolick. God has given him back to her.

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I’m wearing a daypack, walking on an old, once-paved road that ascends the foothills west of San Carlos and then descends into Half-Moon Bay. (The difficulty in this world is that no such road exists. Within my dream history, however, it is an old, old road that was familiar to my father and is now to me.) As I stride along the top of those hills, I notice that the road’s state of disrepair increases. Soon there are small trees growing out of pot holes and I have to walk around them. 

As I pass over the crest of a hill, I come upon an old bus that has broken down and several shady characters are mingling about. Walking past one, I try to keep my greeting friendly and I warn him that the road ahead is impassable. He steps closer and demands my wallet. I feel a sudden surge of fear and give him what he wants. There is some surprising remorse in his countenance, but his companions are hostile and impatient. He slips me a few bills taken from my wallet and for a moment I think he will return the billfold. He disappears, however, traveling in the opposite direction I am, along with the rest of his shady crew.

I now have to descend into a redwood forest and I’m worried because I no longer have identification. On the borderline with the forest is some sort of detention camp. I open and enter a back door to one of the barracks, but without my identification I worry that I will be mistaken for an inmate. Although I hear the noises of a populated camp, I actually see no one and when I leave I am undetected.

 I descend further into a redwood valley. This forest is very familiar, with paths marked off by split-rail fences that seem to head off in all directions, traversing the forest. There is, however, one strange gateway with a sort of Pan-like melody behind it and I feel called upon to enter there.

 Before long, I come to a log structure as large as a city block, almost smothered by the giant trees and very cool beneath their shade. I enter and see that it is some sort of elvish workshop, but again not a soul is in sight, just a slight sense of a presence. The workshop is full of furniture, freshly cut, hence scented, and finely crafted. The smell of woodchips is strong in every room and I joyfully examine all the pieces of their elvish craft.

 I feel inspiration pouring into me, but for some reason leave with only two buckets of paint. As the dream ends, I’m back in my current home, trying to paint the walls of a room I am envisioning. Once the paint is on the wall, however, the shade is sour and unwelcoming. I wake up with a sense of frustration that I feel is not really mine to own.