Last night, I dreamed that my hallway was covered with children’s toys and hundreds of fat green and yellow caterpillars crawled here and there, jockeying for position. I got a little irritated, because the last time I had seen my dream hallway, it had been spotless, as all the hallways in a mother’s dream should be. I had been here before, many times, and I had just begun to have the courage to explore where my hallway, and the endless doors that lined each side, actually led.
Now, however, it seemed there were people living behind the doors—people I didn't know—who let their children throw their toys around carelessly and allowed caterpillars to roam free.
I carefully stepped around each item and finally came across an open door, where I saw a young girl sitting on the floor, her long, blonde hair hiding her face as she played on her laptop.
“Where are your parents?” I asked her, concerned.
“They are out,” she replied matter-of-factly. I noticed that her eyes didn’t even leave the computer screen.
“Well, what is the deal with the mess out here?" I asked her, pointing to the strange caterpillar hallway. “I can’t even get through it.”
“Oh, it's easier if you just go through this way, like my dad does,” she replied, referring to a door to the far left of the room. She then looked up at me, her green eyes flashing with merriment before returning to her computer, her fingers flying across the keyboard like a spider weaving its web.
I walked to the door and opened it.
Suddenly, I was surrounded by tall gardens and a forest of sunflowers. In the distance, I saw a man with long, wavy, brown hair sitting on the grass, his back to me. I walked over, determined to find out who left the mess in my hallway.
“Excuse me,” I called out to him. He didn’t turn around. Instead, he looked straight ahead. I stopped as I got within a few feet of him. “I’ve been waiting for you, Casey Stark,” he said. Taking off his sunglasses, he stared up at me with stormy gray eyes and smiled wistfully.
In his right hand, he played with a long blade of wheatgrass, twirling it between his fingers like a baton.
“You are here about the hallway,” he said, his voice deep and mysterious.
In the distance, I heard music. The gentle strumming of an acoustic guitar and soft voices made their way through the wind, sparkling like diamonds as they swirled through the trees.
“So, this is what music looks like!” I suddenly said, mesmerized.
He said nothing; he just nodded his head and watched the music move through the sunflowers. Occasionally, it would hit an obstacle and explode like a colorful firecracker, making a soft tinkling sound as it floated in a waterfall of color, softly to the ground.
The man began to speak.
“The hallway is the beginning of a new path you are taking in life. It symbolizes self-exploration, a journey into the unknown where new opportunities will open up.
"The caterpillars signify a stage in your personal growth and development where you are on your way but have not quite gotten there yet.”
He turned and looked at me, curious. Pointing to the sprig of wheatgrass at me, he said, “You are close, though, really close ... you finally are on the right path.”
“But what about those toys?” I asked. “What am I going to do with them?" I was still determined to clean my hallway.
“They are yours,” he said, “the childhood aspects within yourself that you still need to nurture. These are your dreams, your innocence, your idealism and your never-ending spirit of optimism that touches the lives of more people than you realize.”
He looked all around him, this beautiful place in a room outside my hallway, as if seeing it for the first time.
“This is when everything changes … this is the Year of the Butterfly!” he said, laughing out loud and swinging his arms up and down.
“Who the heck are you?” I asked him, suddenly realizing this was one crazy dream.
“They used to call me Jim,” he replied, standing up and putting his sunglasses on. “Here, in this place, we are all just called 'Dreamers."
And with that, I watched in amazement as Jim Morrison walked away in the direction of the wind, only the speck of his blue polyester shirt remaining before he too, vanished into the music.