The District of Dreams
What Do Washington Residents Dream about When They Dream about Washington?
The elevator doors of my apartment building part, and there stands-pearls and all-First Lady Barbara Bush. Light is steaming through her halo of white hair. She's as lovely as the angel Gabriel.
"I've changed every light bulb in this horrible old hallway," Mrs. Bush says, extending a pale hand toward the ceiling. "It was far too dark and dreary for you in here my dear."
I awake from this dream the next morning feeling strangely indebted to Mrs. Bush's loving, benign, maternal presence. And while I can tick off several reasons why I wouldn't really want her to be my mother, my subconscious mind is clearly drawn to the way she puts the needs of others first.
In the 10 years I've lived in the District of Columbia, I've had many such dreams involving public figures. While sound asleep, I've asked a ruminative Geraldine Ferraro if her run for the vice president was worth the trouble; I've caught a football shaped diamond that was flying out of Pat Schroeders's wedding ring; I've been angered by two politically obsessed male friends who were so absorbed in their highbrow patter about the merits of Daniel Patrick Moynihan they failed to notice that my cat had just tumbled out my apartment window with a horrible screech.
In my most revealing political dream however, I'm sitting in front of the desk of New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. He is asking me to stand in for him at a rally.
"Lead the people in song," Cuomo says. He is confident I am up to this, but I hate the whole notion.
"G-Governor Cuomo," I stammer, "I can't sing."
"Do you think I can sing?" he says. "You just stand there at the podium and sing half a note."
In the end, I convince Cuomo to count me out and leave his office ashamed. But when I go to the rally and see how smoothly everything goes, I realize that leading people in song isn't hard. It is easy in fact. I wake up thinking: I could have done that.
In a town like Washington, where taking a real leadership role requires the kind of self-assurance few of us possess, a dream like this needs no interpretation.

The Anatomy of a Washington Dream
Psychoanalyst Carl Jung said that while every dream contains personal material unique to the dreamer, dreams also bear themes that are collective. This is certainly true in the case of Washington dreams, in which the people, landscape and language get at the crux of our communal experiences.
But what experiences do we really share as a group that might shape our dreams? Is just living in the shadow of Washington's buildings and monuments enough to make us conjure up nocturnal images of the city's mythic and patriotic symbolism? Is sharing the same streets and restaurants with legislators, White House staffers and news people (and even a president sometimes) enough to inspire dreams about how our own personal power stacks up to theirs?
"Auuuuagh," said my husband, Steve, one morning with a wince. "I dreamed that Jack Kemp wouldn't get out of my rocking chair."
"The rocking chair is an obvious Kennedy reference," I said, thinking his dream was a witty commentary on how Kemp sometimes behaves like a Democrat. But to Steve, the rocking chair was a symbol of his personal domain. And since Kemp wouldn't leave the chair in the dream and kept talking so effusively, Steve, who's a reporter, felt obliged to interview the HUD secretary without feeling prepared. To make matters worse, the tape recorder wouldn't work.
This is your basic Washington reporter's nightmare.
Not long afterward, Steve dreamed that the First Daughter Doro Bush had a crush on him and was leading him up a narrow White House stairway to who knows where. Only Doro didn't look like herself in the dream, she looked like actress Sissy Spacek. I kept all commentary about Steve's "I Was Doro Bush's Sex Slave" dream to myself, but it underscored my belief that D.C. dreaming is collective enterprise.
Driven to do further research, I posted a notice on the bulletin board of the Chesapeake Bagel Bakery near Dupont Circle, inviting people to share their Washington dreams with me. Within the week, I was phoned by a man who said he had dreamed he was lost in the Sackler Gallery without his pants. A Washington Post intern called about a dream she'd had in which The Post was a huge factory and her role on the assembly line was to bite the gelatinous snouts off the faces of little pigs. Another fellow phoned to say, "Yeah, I have dreams. Wild dreams. About naked womenŠdo you want to know more?"
Thanks for calling, I said.
I also discovered a cadre of Washington-area residents who participate in ongoing dream interpretation groups and are in the habit of writing down their dreams. The largest such dream network, the Metropolitan DC Dream Community (MDCDC), assembles for open dream interpretation sessions twice a month at the Patrick Henry Library in Vienna. Group leader Rita Dwyer got interested in dreams after being saved from a laboratory fire by a man who said he'd had a prophetic dream about the disaster some nights earlier. Psychotherapist Ann Tongren also runs dreams groups in Chevy Chase as extensions of her therapy practice. And flight attendant Deborah Lilly has opened up her living room to a group of suburban Virginia dreamers one evening a week for three years.
After talking to scores of dreamers, I've come to these conclusions: The more overtly people move in political circles, the less they're apt to have dreams about Washington landmarks and political figures. On the other hand, when people are set completely outside the context of politics, dreams that feature Capitol Hill personalities aren't especially common either.
But there is a large group, which includes Steve and me, who are looking to make a mark on the nation's capitol and who are profoundly intrigued by the city and people surrounding us. We are the ones who are drawn to Washington to resolve in part, our own ambivalent feelings about influences and power. And we are the ones who dream and dream and dream about Washington.
Dreams of Washington are quite like dreams of Pittsburgh and Los Angeles and Des Moines in that they all reveal how concerned we are with how we appear. Like people everywhere, we have complexes to abandon and authority figures to overcome. But because many of us move here on personal quests, Washington dreams seem especially rich. "People come to Washington looking for some ideally benign expression of power," says Stanley Palombo, a local psychoanalyst who specializes in dream research. "But what they find is a lot of people like themselves struggling to preserve their own positions. This leads them to then reexperience the disillusionment they felt with their own parents as adolescents."
A few caveats: Though I found it helpful to divide Washington dreams into a few broad categories, the list is by no means definitive. Sometimes the symbolism of the dreams is clear; sometimes it's not; and sometimes the Kennedy Center may merely represent the Kennedy Center. Interpretation is dicey business. And I know there are those who never have slumberous thoughts of the city at all. Fair enough. But if you are, as I am, a Washington dreamer, knowing that others dream as you do may prove therapeutic and reassuring. And it may open your eyes to a whole new way of looking at Washington when you are awake.

Measuring Up
It seems that people bent on proving themselves here sometimes dream of competing with Washington pols. In this way, dreamers are most likely informing themselves of where they think they rank as worker bees on the job, as members of their of their own families and in the world at large.
Leslie Ferrell, who is a 28-year-old cultural affairs coordinator at the French Embassy and a tournament tennis player, has had the following "measuring up" dream on three or four different occasions.
I am playing tennis with George Bush, and I win every time. I place all my shots well and move the president from side to side. He is very complimentary of my game and says I have a great serve. His lack of mobility is kind of frightening. I keep thinking, "Oh, these Bushes think they're hot." And I keep winning.
In this dream, Ferrell measures up pretty well. "I guess this dream is about my way of surpassing," she says, adding that in her waking life, she sometimes sets her goals too low. The dream may be an invitation she's extending to herself to play a bigger game.
"This town invites people in who're overqualified for positions they fill. They're often not challenged at the level of their own competence," says Michele McCarthy, a suburban Maryland psychotherapist who frequently works with client dreams. "I think of Washington as a city where people come to get equipped, gain personal power and then move on. Personal and political power are what keep us all converged here."
Among the most frequently cited "measuring up" dreams are those involving an imagined conflict between the United States and another superpower that culminates in the bombing of Washington. In this type of dream, a price is exacted for this city's political importance, and it often parallels a price the dreamer is paying to assert him or herself.
Tyler Whitmore, a 35-year-old Washington graphic designer, once dreamed that the U.S. Capitol was being bombed by an unnamed enemy, and that no one on the mall was taking the danger seriously.
I could see the bright lights of the bombs on the capitol. Then an explosion threw me onto my back, and I kept spinning around. I was yelling, "It's not funny! It's not funny! This is really happening!"
Around the time she had this dream, Whitmore says, she was bearing the brunt of family criticism for initiating talk about a family problem. She believes that in her dream she was exploring this conflict: Should she continue to try to convert others to her point of view or just helplessly spin while the bombs rained down?

A House Divided
Because Washington is a city of separate branches of government and of two combative political parties, it provides exquisite dream material to people who are in therapy, getting a divorce, leaving a job, or just feeling pulled in two directions at once.
Politicians on opposite sides of an issue can appear in a dream to represent the dreamer's own inwardly divided congress. How should I vote? Part of me want to lift sanctions on the self, part of me wants to impose more. In Freudian terms, these divisions are understood as different aspects of the human character: Each one of us has a wanton, unfettered side Freud called the id and action-oriented, mediating part called the ego; and an agent of repression called the superego. Washington dreams reveal the divided self seeking balance.
"You find people dreaming about the Civil War in the same way," says Robert L. Van de Castle, a University of Virginia psychologist who has studied dreams since the 1950's. "At issue is the divided self. We all struggle with dominance and submission, masculine and feminine, selfish and unselfish, dark versus light, the unhealthy versus healthy parts of ourselves. Washington dreams are going to be a very rich landscape for that internal landscape. We're all trying to achieve guidelines for the governance of our personality."
Richard Spector, a 42-year-old Washington therapist, remembers a particularly vivid 1970's dream about political opposites.
A number of us are seated at a large table on which are two huge video holograms of Presidents Johnson and Nixon. The two presidents are debating the merits of small business and big business. Johnson takes the side of small business and Nixon takes the side of big business, though he keeps repeating that he has nothing against small business. I laugh my way through the debate.
This dream is intriguing because Spector's subconscious mind retreats from the disagreement and laughs at the politicians, who are mere "images" of themselves and not real people. The dream reveals Spector's view of politics at the time and his method of escape, but it also invites him to investigate an inner tension.
George C. Marshall High School teacher Laurie Williams dreamed the following in the late 1970's while she was in recovery from alcoholism. In it, she recognizes that she has a vision for a life "on the other side" that is contrary to the life she has.
I am at a presidential type of reception. I am to be given an opportunity to speak, but I blow it. Bob Hope is the teacher announcer. After I blow it the first time, I raise my hand, and Richard Nixon's wife helps me out. Then we decide that each person needs a helper. I raise my hand for a second chance, which I getŠLater, everyone goes to a ball. I am with the peon, but I wriggle my way to the president's party with a handsome black man dressed in blue and driving a Mercedes. Horses and beautiful carriages are announced. I am on the sidelines say, "This is the lifestyle I want."
"I was wondering all through those first few years I wasn't drinking if I could stop feeling like such a bystander," Williams says, "I wanted to have the life of people in the limelight, but wasn't confident I'd get there." Today, she serves as a substance abuse consultant for adults and children in the Fairfax County area, and she feels she's not the on the sidelines anymore.
Williams adds, "It's interesting to me that now I've taken the role of a spokesperson who presents material from a first-person standpoint."

Monumental Dreams
Washington inspires larger-than-life dreams featuring godlike forefathers, archetypal mothers, guardian spirits and rites of initiation-set against the phantasmagoric backdrop of the capital. Some Washington residents express religious feelings (often something as basic as the desire to commune with a parental spirit) through dreams featuring the city's architectures, historic tombs and statues. "These sights and memorials are our holy places," says Washington psychologist Rudolph Bauer. "It makes more sense such places would come up in dreams." Carl Jung might add that Washington government building and monuments unite our present-day, secular, consciousness with an ancient, mythic past. Pierre L'Enfant's mandala-like design (in which boulevards extend out from small, circular parks) is reminiscent of the basilica's sacred form and gives Washington the aura of a hold place.
An official building like the White House can appear in a dream as the house of the highest father in the land, or as a perfectly formed sanctuary of some kind. Bob Gongloff, a Navy computer systems analyst and membership chair of the Association for the Study of Dreams, believes the following dream is commentary on how his searches for a father/God often end with the recognition of the sanctity of his own (sometimes nutty) "inner child."
The White House has a big sign on it that says BEST like it was the Best & Company. Lots of people are filing into the house; it's like a circus. I am on a bus, thinking that we are going across town. Then the driver turns up the White House drive because something special is going on. I walk past the door and look inside. I see tall purple curtains from the floor to the ceiling. The place is just beautiful.
We are following a little boy who has missed the White House entrance, and as he walks along in front of us, we hear him ask, "Where is God?" We come to another door, and through the glass and the curtains, we see a man dressed up like a clown. Be he's really Santa Claus in a tux with a white shirt and red flower. As the boy goes in the door, the clown says to him, "You are," by which he means to say that the boy is [his own god]. "You are because you are such a nut."
Martha Witebsky, who translates French and German patents for a local law firm, was trying to learn not to judge herself so harshly when she dreamed the following:
I am co-chair of a committee that is erecting a monument in tribute to Supreme Court Justices William O. Douglas and Sandra Day O'Connor. There are to be two huge statues of the justices placed on either side of the Lincoln Memorial. The man and I who are heading the committee have the figures of the two justices done entirely in black. Each statue holds a scale, the traditional emblem of justice. A large crowd is present at the dedication ceremony, but when the figures are unveiled, no one says a word. There is total silence. I turn to the man who was in on the decision with me and I say "Hey, why were these figures done in black?" I am embarrassed and don't want to take any responsibility for what I have done, so I put the guy on the spot.
Witebsky believes that the figure of Justice O'Connor in the dream stands for her conservative mother; former Justice Douglas stands for her more liberal father. In the dream, she might be idealizing her parents by putting them on pedestals; at the same times, she minimizes them by making them black.
Nicole Hill, a 15-year-old George C. Marshall High School student, dreams of being befriended by Thomas Jefferson.
I go into the Jefferson memorial. All of a sudden, the statue of Thomas Jefferson starts screaming and lifting his hands to the sky. He does this once in every direction, and then he says to me in an English accent, "Ahhh, much better!" Then I sit down, and a lady nearby asks Jefferson if he could sit by her. I say, "He can't. Remember, he's made out of stone. His legs don't bend." But I am wrong because he comes over to sit by me. We start talking, and he shows me his private herb collection. It is very tall, like bamboo forest, and we go into it. The rows are quite thick. I ask, "Do you have any blue sassafras?" And he says, "Yes, of course! Right here." And we eat some.
The sassafras at the end of her dream refers to a creek-side sassafras tree that Hill's grandfather, someone she greatly admired, used to show her when she visited him.

No monument in Washington seems as sovereign as the marble obelisk known as the Washington Monument. "The Washington Monument is a metaphysical symbol of protection, the city's pinnacle, the center point of a radius of protection," says psychotherapist Michel McCarthy.
To Freudian analysts, a dream reference to the Washington Monument is more likely to appear explicitly sexual. "Without getting too literal and graphic, we can say that obelisk is a masculine sort of symbol," says Margot Born, a social worker and author of the recently published book Seven Ways to Look at a Dream.
Jungian interpreters view the Washington Monument more abstractly. "I'd says it's a phallus, by which I mean a lance, not penis," says local Jungian analyst Jerome Bernstein. "But isn't that an apt symbol? A great country needs a great phallusŠthough that's not all it needs."
The monument-like many dream symbols-can stand for several things at once. Shannon Kleinman, a 23-year-old waitress, dreamed of the Washington Monument a few years ago when she was just out on her own and was trying to establish her own credibility and authority as distinct from her role as the youngest of six siblings. In the dream, it's clear she intends to stick with her own truth, but is not yet ready to make the family break. The dream also seems to make some reference to her emerging sexuality, though she'd rather not air the details of that in print.
I am walking up to the Washington Monument with my five brothers and sisters, and the monument looks like a menacing rocket or a vehicle ready to take off. It's projecting exaggerated blue and green colors. I am a child, but I'm the only one who sees the danger. I keep saying, "Don't take me up there, don't take me up there." And nobody is listening to me. We get to a curb on the way, and I become fearful of being sucked down into the gutter. The whole trip is just one step of a dread after another. I am crying, afraid of the monument's undirected power, afraid I'll somehow get separated from my brothers and sisters. I am terrified that they'll insist I go on.

The Validating Game
Washington is overcrowded with authoritarian politicians and father figures who are asked into dreams to validate, inspire and soothe dreamers with the sense that they have at least some proximity to Dad's power.
Carla Rollandini, a 38-year-old Annandale mother, had the following "validation" dream while Ronald Regan was still in office. At the time, Rollandini was making her living selling the Myers-Briggs test-a profile test used to group people by personality type-to individuals and corporations.
I am trying to sell Myers-Brigss to a couple with seven kids in Falls Church. They don't have much faith in me or in the test. They say I haven't been successful. They are very worried about the cost. Then, as they're debating the merits, someone knocks at my door. I answer it, and it's President Regan. He hands me four pages of notes in his own handwriting and says, "Carla, call me if you have any question." I thank him, realizing that he has personally taken the time to deliver the note, but I don't have anything to say to him. He wants my feedback about the thing he's written, and I feel honored. I know the Secret Service men are around my house. I lay the notes on the credenza in the hallway. I know the prospective clients have seen Reagan at the door, and I wonder if Reagan's visit will impress them enough to hire me. But these people are so caught up in themselves that they don't even care, and then I realize that it's not that important if I get the job or not. I decide to stay with the soft sell and not care if they buy.
"This was an important dream for me." Rollandini says, "because I'd been worried about my sales style and wondering if I should abandon the soft sell, but after dreaming about Reagan coming to visit, I decided that I was doing fine." After Reagan appeared in her dream to validate her, she says, "I felt much warmer towards him. Around that time, he too seemed to be softening toward the Soviets, which I found very interesting. I hadn't like him much before that."

The Mother of Us All
In contrast to all Washington dreams about idealized, monumental father figures, Barbara Bush dreams seem to be a breath of perfumed air to those who dream them. Not only is she "the mother of all Bushes," she's apparently the mother of all Washington. Just as Brits fantasize about taking tea with the queen in Buckingham Palace, Americans dream of helping Mrs. Bush do housework. It's as if the First Lady is a wide, blank movie screen upon which dreamers throw all their Mommy projections.
Rita Dwyer, a founder of the MDCDC dream group and former chairman of the Association for the Study of Dreams, dreamed the following earlier this year. It's remarkably similar to other Barbara Bush dreams I came across.
I have been invited to dine at the White House and find Barbara Bush doing all of the preparatory work by herself-cooking, cleaning-so I pitch in to help, attending to things outside and inside, including washing a hardwood floor.
When guests arrive, I help to serve those seated in the living room, carrying a large tray of appetizers and drinks. Barbara is busily cooking-chicken or turkey breast. She is very efficient and apparently does this all of the time, enjoying dining along with intimates. This is not a state dinner but a small gathering.
When we sit to eat, the men sit at one table and the women at another. I am disappointed that I won't get to talk to George. In fact, I feel somewhat out of place with the other women guests and wonder if I should change my seat to one of the vacant ones near Barbara, who has been very cordial to me. I also wonder if she might not invite me to spend the night at the White House as a memorable event, even though I realize I live close enough to drive home.
Though admired, Mrs. Bush also seems to inspire impatience. She's just too charming and selfless. She seems the essence of maternal solicitude: nurturing, nourishing, asking for little. Is she her own person in the end, or just an appendage to President Dad?
Janice Sanfod, a 39-year-old military spouse and former Washingtonian now living in Florida, asked herself that question after seeing the First Lady speak this year. She went home and dreamed about Mrs. Bush coming over.
Barbara is in the living room of the house I grew up in. She is visiting with everyone while I am in the kitchen washing dishes. I'm upset that while I'm doing all the chores, I am missing everythingŠThen Barbara comes in to the kitchen, and she starts talking about how she especially likes one of my bathrooms that has blue wallpaper and an antique cabinet on the wall with a mirrorŠLater, we all go to the back of the house into a large recreation room and are sitting there together on a couch. There is a kitchen off of this space so it can be a separate live-in apartment. The fireplace is closed off with paneling that could be removed. Nobody has been living back here. Barbara seems comfortable staying right here.
Sanford says it makes complete sense to her that Barbara Bush liked the old-fashioned wall cabinet in the room. "The Bushes like the way things used to be," she says. "Part of me does too, but you can get stuck there."
Sanford finds another lesson in the fact that Mrs. Bush seemed comfortable staying in an empty kitchen with a walled-off fireplace. "There [wasn't] any life in there," she says. "And like Mrs. Bush, a part of me finds it very hard to separate from parts of my lifestyle that aren't life-giving." Sanford sees the dream as subtle chiding to get more out of life and not settle for less like mother Bush.
Hairdresser Bernard Portelli has his own version of Barbara Bush dream, in which the First Lady becomes yet another celebrity in need of his services.
Talk show host Larry King, a client of mine, picks me up at my house in a black limousine. He says we're late. I get in the limo with a bunch of public relations and TV people. Everyone, including me, is wearing black. They have cameras. King drives us to this garden where we all sit around in our black outfits until Barbara Bush comes out wearing a deep blue and white dress with flowers on it. Nobody does anything. Nobody speaks. So I get up and move over to a tea set that's waiting there. I feel I have to do something. So I start serving everybody tea, but I hurt myself because I keep spilling the tea. I'm burning my fingers with the tea.

To Serve and Protect
Despite the city's highly developed capacity to threaten and intimidate it is still many Washington residents' nature to think about serving others first. We are generally patriots in this sense, devoted to making the United States a better place. We want to make a difference.
Not long after the magazine Dossier folded, editor Craig Stoltz had a dream about progressive Minnesota freshman Sen. Paul Wellstone, in which Stoltz is advising Wellstone on how to fit into Washington.
Paul Wellstone is trying to come back from criticism and heat for being a left-wing, out-of-the-loop geek, and I am advising him. He is listening earnestly while I explain it's a good thing that he has recently decided to start acting upon principles of restraint. I tell him that he'll be doing the opposite of what everybody expects. This decision on his part to fit in is a sign that he's going to make it. I encourage him to go all the way and keep at it. I kept telling him, "You don't have to talk with your hands. You don't have to be such a laughably principled peckerwood."
Jungian analyst Jerome Bernstein dreamed of assisting Richard M. Nixon back when Nixon was still president in 1971. But Bernstein, who grew up in D.C. and now has a large psychoanalytic practice here, loathed Nixon with a passion, which made the dream's outcome somewhat surprising to him.
I am in a large crowd. It's a typical scene, with President Nixon coming by first in a limo, then on foot. A gunman comes out of the crowd to shoot the president. I see the gunman, and I put myself between the gunman and Nixon, risking myself but disrupting the assassination attempt. I think I grabbed the gunman by the wrist, then the Secret Service people got there and arrested him.
At a collective level, Berstaine says, the dream demonstrates his personal belief in the democratic system and his willingness to preserve a system that works. "I hated Nixon so much, but in the dream, I saved the system by saving him," Bernstein says.

The Harder They Fall
With every meteoric rise to power in Washington, there is a corresponding loss of innocence. And the city's great rises and falls fuel us with terrific dream images.
When someone's dark side breaks out into the open in the form of a scandal (Gary Hart's affair with Donna Rice, for instance), we're all relieved, Georgetown therapist Denise Horton says-which is why we can hardly wait to read about it. It piques our interest even more of course when sex is involved. "We actually enjoy the unmasking because we [fear] knowing that the dark side exists within all of us," she says.
Dreams about the flaws of the powerful indicate that we're daring to dissolve the idealized projections of father figures, and beginning to incorporate their characteristics into ourselves. The "measuring up" dream about beating George Bush at tennis also falls into this category. Another example: During the Iran-contra hearings, Janice Sanford, the military spouse in Florida, dreamed that Ronald Reagan was stricken with AIDS. He seemed dissipated and vulnerable to her; she felt as if she were watching his body and his approval ratings waste away.
Corporate event planner Sarah Cooper recently dreamed about the frustration she's been feeling with people in leadership:
I am in a brainstorming session with George Bush and a client of mine out of New York. We are sitting around thinking up ideas about how to increase this client's visibility. We're wanting to plan an eventŠto bolster this clients' national precedence. The client is smoking, and I am getting increasingly frustrated. Everyone always looks at me expecting to get ideas. I feel that Bush should have some ideas. I say, "Don't you have anything to add? This is kind of up your alley." But he just shrugs and doesn't say much. Finally I say, "Well, listen, George. If you have nothing to add to this, why don't you get us all drinks?" So he does.
This dream connotes to a move away from the chronic blaming of the self. Cooper knows she's not the problem, so she gets the failed father to serve her. "This is a coming-to-grips-with-reality-dream," she explains. "I think you hit a point in living here where you just grow up and stop expecting the leaders to fix everything."

Rising Above It
We may not expect them to fix everything, but we still can't get them out of our minds. Let me end with one last dream, by 43-year-old computer systems analyst Susan Nelms, an employee of the Patent and Trademark Office, which seems to me to sum up much of what's unique about the Washington experience-and does so with more passion and poetry than we allow ourselves in our waking lives:
I'm in a group of world leaders. I am in the group but not seen. We are preparing for the arrival of a man who is another major world leader coming to a conference. We are at a large house on a lovely estate in a major city that feels like Washington. There are lots of trees and flowers and sun. The house is Old World in style and very well built. I go around the estate and wonder what the owner does with all his land.
I see a man who looks like Henry Kissinger. I also see a woman who looks like Margaret Thatcher. Henry Kissinger says, "He will want to walk around here, and we must be sure everything is okay." Margaret Thatcher, who is wearing a dress and high heels, points to a downward slope in the hill with lots of dips in it. It is covered with beautiful grass and wildflowers. She says, "Oh, he won't have any problems walking here." And to prove her point, she runs down the hill.
I'm a young woman with another young woman. We want to watch what's happening but not walk with the group. The woman I'm with wants to get "above it." I say, "No problem," and I take her hand and lead us in flying above the house. I can see the shingles on the roof. We are close to, but just above, the house and the group. The sun is shining very brightly. The shingles seem green like moss is growing on them.
It's all there: the feeling of not being instrumental to the process, the desire to be as uninhibited as Thatcher seems within a group of powerful males, the wish to exercise power responsibly without losing oneself or getting drawn into power games and, finally, the decision to deflate authority figures and get at better perspective on the whole scene.
"I don't have much patience with maneuvering and manipulating," Nelms says. "I think the dream is about my desire to stay above those things."
Spoken like a true dreamer. And a resident of Washington.

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