Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dreaming through a White Christmas

We've had full days this Christmas, punctuated by long, fitful sleeps and daytime naps. More dreams than we know what to do with. Ken and I know better than to come down from our sleep and try to tell each other the guts of our dreams. We can never quite pull off the emotions or the fantastical settings or plots. I keep a journal and sometimes I write about my dreams. The other night I had a dream that Ken and I had invited another publisher in town (a competitor, really) over for dinner. The publisher came with his wife while Ken and I, new to our dingy apartment, were still trying to set up our Target-purchased furniture. (Section A fits into Slot B, watch you don't pull off the plastic veneer). They were calm and composed (and we were not). They had brought many expensive bottles of red wine ($30 and $40 and $50 each) and we were scrambling to find a place to set the bottles and glasses to pour into.

In my journal I named that dream "Inadequacy."

The night before we left for the Gunflint Trail, where we spent Christmas with Megan, Tim had a reaction to the powerful antibiotic Erythromycin. The adverse affects of that wide-spectrum drug, which he'd been prescribed for bronchitis, include pyschotic reactions, night sweats, and allergic reactions that include swelling of the face and neck. Tim panicked when he felt his throat begin to swell. I called the doc on call and she told us to run out for some Benadryl. It was now 10 PM and Ken and I had been running all day, buying our Christmas food, wrapping presents, taking Tim to the clinic. This would be Ken's third trip to Walgreen's but he was out and back in a flash. We gave Tim the Benadryl and the measure alone made him feel less scared. But then he got mad. The first doctor, not our regular family doctor, "hadn't even checked" him. Didn't test him for strep throat, didn't have him breathe while he held a stethoscope to his back. "How did he know what I had?!" Tim implored me. Because the medicine he had been given didn't make him feel better but rather made him feel much worse, he thought the doctor had done a really poor job.

Ken and I slept fitfully that night, each of us tiptoeing in to Tim's room to check on his breathing (what if throat closed up in his sleep?). Tim slept soundly and got progressively better each day.

That early morning we got another four inches of snow, but not so much to keep us from driving up to camp via Highway 61. It was a beautiful drive, full of snowy treetops and a metallic sparkle coming off Lake Superior. There were still freighters in action on the big lake and we guessed where they might be coming from: Norway, Russia? (We had heard on MPR that shipping action out of the Duluth port was up 25% this year.) We spotted four bald eagles sitting close and low to the highway, always near a dead deer in the ditch, always near the murder of jet black crows pecking away at the road kill.

As we made our way around one of the last bends on the Gunflint we came up on two incredible moose. They were big as large horses and when they saw us they walked slowly into the woods, stopping on the trail to turn their necks and look back at us.

Megan met us with the snowmobile at the camp drop-off point and made two trips hauling us and our gear and presents and food and bottles of wine across West Bearskin Lake to the camp itself. As we were bringing everything up the hill to the main hall, Ken turned to Megan and said, "I haven't seen Tim smile so much in weeks." It was Christmas Eve and the sights and sounds would give us much to dream about.

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