The dream started out on (I think) on my parent's living room floor. Mark, the Child, and I were camping in my folk's living room. I'd woken up and what I thought was a cat turned out to be a baby skunk. (I'm wondering if in real life Cicero was in our bedroom.) It was dark and slightly difficult to see. The skunk didn't seem to be upset or anything, it was mostly cautiously curious. I was having thoughts like would it bite if I tried to pick it up? and will we get sprayed?
Eventually, I managed to wrap it in a blanket and take it out to the front door. When I opened it, I discovered a momma skunk waiting outside. The skunks were reunited, and in a slightly Disney-esque moment, the baby skunk came up to the door to say good-bye.
There's a break in my recall. We (mostly my family) were on the South side of Ridgewood. We were below the W's house, and along the way my Dad called on J.W. to see how she was doing. (In waking life, my dreams about expeditions which start at Ridgewood usually start out on a nonexistent North side that I've never visited because it's really forested. This is the first time an expedition has started out on a familiar side.)
Then we took an icy expedition up some mountains. Somehow, I found my old black leather caviler gloves (which I lost in an airport in the late 90's) and put them on over my current black fingerless gym gloves. This was a good thing, because it was getting colder and colder.
We kept climbing until we were above dark clouds. At the top of the mountains there was a institute or village or compound of sorts. There were a few large concrete buildings scattered along the crest of the mountain (?Mary's Peak?). The buildings were like cathedrals, in that they were grey, with peaked stone roofs; instead of stained-glass windows, they had tall narrow windows.
At some point the other members of the expedition fell out of the dream, and it was just me. I met an amalgam of Eric Witchey and someone I knew from high school or college, who worked there. His name might have been Matt, Lionel, or Todd.... He talked about how planes flew so low over the compound you could almost touch them. He pointed out a radar dish or some similar structure with a big red 5 painted on it, which I understood to be a prison. The tops of the mountains receding in the distance all had some sort of compound on them.
Matt gave me a tour. We went into a concrete barn/cathedral structure. In waking life, I have a vague notion that it might have been based on Elliot Hall at Reed College. We walked through a lot of hallways and narrow stairs leading up to offices set up like a choir loft. On the walls there were large reproductions of coins rotating, almost like gears. In some places a coin had a chunk out of it; in other places, the coin was missing completely and all that was left was a rotating square axel set in a stone hole in the wall, with black oil or grease marks showing where the coin had been.
Continuing the tour, Matt introduced me to some British men in their 50's -- they seemed very solid and over-dressed in Oxford shirts and vests and a sweater underneath a suede jacket. We made some small talk. Buy this time we were in a kind of loft overlooking the stone interior of the building, which was lined with bookshelves containing oversized, leather-bound, hundred-year-old tomes.
There was a twenty-something man and woman there, and somehow we knew mutual acquaintances. I want to say she had really wavy light-brown hair and he was dressed in jeans, a blue T-shirt with a plaid flannel shirt over that. It was sort of like I was in a business office and I'd just connected with the geeky techs that actually keep things running. They knew I was a writer, and they were wanting to write something, and there was an awkward moment where the man was trying to give me an elevator pitch for his novel. There's a break in my recall...
"I'm a little confused," I said, 'because the concrete brutalism is at odds with the Edwardian interior and all the old books." There was a poster (I don't remember of what) that was an original from 1901 or something (I'd want to say it was a Mucha, but it was more like a cover from a record album or science fiction book).
I forget what they said about the building, and the tour resumed. Lots of rooms-upon-rooms. Matt asked if I wanted a tongue cleaner installed in my mouth. "I find it's really refreshing," he said. I looked at him dubiously, as he held up a ping-pong sized spheroid, made out of dull grey plastic, and flipped it so that it irised open, turned inside out, and two blunt, metal prongs waved like wings along its petal-like segments. It was like a rubric's cube, only a more like a camera iris in the shape of sphere. The prongs were the tongue-brushes.
I wasn't sold on it, because for it to work properly, you needed to install a short rack of gears on either side of your jaw, which the spheroid engaged with, rolling along the rack's gears as it unfolded and refolded, and brushed your tongue with the prongs.
"Isn't it kind of awkward?"
"Not at all," Matt said. "I slipped mine in just now and you never noticed."
"This is really interesting," I said, looking at the spheroid. "Did you 3D print this?"
He took me to a kind of fabrication lab / machine shop.
We went to another room where there were some other 3D printed models on the table. One looked like a intricate collection of ribbons. Another small model kept changing shape depending on the angle you looked at it. It was difficult to see, because it was almost like it was made out of smoke. I picked it up, and it was difficult to tell I had something in my hands. I want to say it started out as something like a cube, but then I turned it and it became a snub-cube, or at least something with square and triangular faces. I turned the object again, and it became a something like a squished octahedron. "This is fantastic!" I said. I had an object with a spin of 2 or something: you had to turn it more than 360 degrees to get to the original face you started with.
The woman and man from earlier in the dream were in the shop and the woman started talking about how the object was self-assembling. She pulled out a container (I want to say something like a jar of cinnamon) of something like iron filings and they jiggled around on the white table top. I think we started talking in math -- at any rate, a fierce and intense feeling of concentration hit me. I think I was shaking and a equations were forming inside simple geometric shapes the filings were forming as I bent my attention upon them. It was sexual as well as intellectual, and I felt like I was ringing like a bell (it was like I was trying to become some fiery being in a Blake poem). The man brought out a small blowtorch, and I said something from Monty Python like 'I don't want to go on the cart," but made more topical sense at the time, and everyone laughed. And I was really close to breaking through and understanding how they'd made these wonderful geometric solids.
And then the dream changed or there was a break....
I must have had a second dream, because I was sitting in a small dinner-theatre audience waiting for the show to begin. The stage was very deep, and the technical crew was setting up the show. The audience area was made up of small tables pushed closed together.
I'm thinking in real life there must have been someone having a conversation on the sidewalk outside our house, because in the dream there was a loud woman having a one of those stupid, why-are-you-saying-those-things-in-public conversation at another table, which was picked up by the theatre's sound system.
The show started, but no one realized it at first, because it was about a down-on-her-luck actress who started out as a theatre patron with no ticket, who then turned into actress who couldn't use the make-up everyone else was.
Then one of the cats knocked our bedroom door open, and I had a startled moment where it seemed a shadowy head, at waist hight, stuck itself beyond the doorframe and then withdrew. I thought it might be The Child wondering if we were still asleep, but it wasn't.