On one particularly hot Sunday afternoon in July, Mr.
Kimball was catching up on some work at the office while Mrs. Kimball
busied herself with sweeping and mopping the kitchen floor. Left to her own
devices, Karen quietly climbed the mulberry tree in the back yard to escape
the loud banging from the garage as her brothers worked on building a
boxcar racer. She'd been reading one of her favorite books, 1,001 Magical
Animals from Mythology, until her eyelids grew heavy. Soon her book was
drooping lower and lower, as her arm came to rest on a branch and she began
to slip into a dream.
Just before she dozed off, a blue jay landed alongside her, cocking its
head to one side while gazing directly at her. Then it flew off again. She
didn't know if she were imagining it, but right before she fell asleep, she
thought she heard it say, "Charmed life. You lead such a charmed life."
In her dream, Karen watched the bird fly away. Then she suddenly felt
her entire body begin to vibrate. The vibrations began at her head and were
accompanied by a loud roaring noise, which grew quieter as they moved down
through her neck, past her stomach, and to her feet. It took no more than
five seconds for the vibrations to travel from her head to her toes, where
they reversed direction and began moving back up her body. When they
reached her head, Karen again heard the loud roaring sound. The vibrations
continued moving up and down her body for several minutes and then stopped.
Karen felt her right hand sink into her magical animals book. She
gently caressed the sharp edge of the plastic bookmark before moving her
hand slowly through the soft pages and out through the slightly denser hard
“If this is a dream, it's got to
be the strangest one I ever had, she thought to
With a start, Karen realized that she was feeling inside her book! She
jerked her right hand free of the book and lowered her left hand down
inside the branch supporting her. She felt the roughness of the bark give
way to its softer inside core and stopped to stroke the smooth bump where
the branch joined the tree trunk just below where she was resting. It felt
good against her palm, and she savored the unique sensation of sap flowing
past her fingers.
Karen felt like she was both wide awake and yet also asleep at the same
time. Her body was nestled snugly in the branches of the mulberry tree, and
even though her eyes were closed, she could see clouds in the sky and hear
a warm summer breeze rustling the mulberry's leaves. She felt the beating
of her heart, and noticed that the vibrations that had passed through every
cell in her body left her with a tingling sensation. Her left hand was
still resting inside the tree, rubbing the rounded place where the branch
met the trunk.
"How amazing it is to feel the inside of a book and a tree, and how
very peculiar," Karen thought to herself. She gently placed her right hand
inside her book and once again felt the varying density and texture of the
cover, pages, and bookmark.
Karen looked up at the sky and saw a feather twirling and tumbling on
the breeze. With the thought, Float, Karen gently began to rise up out of
the tree and toward the feather. She was flying high like the blue jay,
sailing along easily without any effort on her part. This was wonderful!
The feeling of being free to go wherever she wished delighted Karen, and
she flew low around the house over by the garage. She saw her brothers were
pulling hard in a tug-of-war with a piece of wood to determine who'd get to
assemble the running-board on their boxcar. They didn't notice their sister
as she floated down and sat inside the car. Just for fun, she squeezed the
horn. To her great surprise, it honked loudly. She floated quickly up to
the ceiling of the garage and looked down to see her brothers'
Decker and Tad dropped the piece of wood they'd been pulling on, and
Decker fell on top of a can of nails as the horn blasted without anyone
seeming to touch it. Both boys stared with their mouths hanging open and
eyebrows raised in astonishment.
Karen flew over to rest by some trees so she could watch her brothers
from a distance. She held her sides, laughing at the startled look on her
brothers' faces as Decker removed the horn from the boxcar to discover how
it could have honked by itself.
As Karen leaned on a tree, still laughing, she was delighted to see
butterflies dancing around some wildflowers. If this is a dream, it's got
to be the strangest one I ever had, she thought to herself. Never before
had she felt the inside of a book or a tree, and never before had she felt
so awake while flying around. This was a dream unlike any other, and she
hoped she'd remember all of it when she awoke.
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