Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dreamtime Dreamscape: Barrels of Moonshine

Last night was very bizarre dream. It took me a while to remember it, but I have scenes stuck in my head. I'll do my best to write what I remember.

It started out with me at some hotel in the Appalachian mountains. It was made up of run down cabins deep in the woods. Everything was covered with thick vegetation and the sound of crickets. The hotel manager, a man with a strange gerhuckle laugh and one good tooth, told me that one of the features of the place was their big wood tubs, like what them pioneers used to use. I could order one of the bath tubs, or barrels used to brew beer and moonshine. Apparently the idea of soaking in an old barrel once used to make moonshine was a big selling point. The manager said it would make one's skin really soft.

Curious, I ordered one. Then I decided that just being curious wasn't reason enough. I told myself I was a writer and reporter, come to investigate the claims of better skin through moonshine barrels.

I started going through the history of these barrels. Each barrel was big enough for a grown man to lay down in, and in the olden days they would cut open a hole on the side, prop the barrel up on some logs, and fill it with water and moonshine, then set it over a fire to get warm. Once the water was warm, they would bathe in the water.

But why would they warm it, I asked myself? These were tough frontiersmen, they were hard men, used to going without anything. Why would they need warm water?

They wouldn't, I decided. They would drop the tubs in lakes and rivers and let the river water fill them up, but somehow having the moonshine mixed with the water would warm it up enough that the barrels would stay slightly warmer than the lake water.

This was somehow important. There was some huge secret in the moonshine.

I took a bath in one of the barrels and ordered a few to make my own beer. I started my own distillery in the cabin I was renting, making beer out of fruits and tree leaves. Outside my dreams I don't like beer, but this brew was fantastic.

But you can't make beer out of fruits and tree leaves! This alarmed me. There had to be another story to all of this! I had to dig deeper...

I went back in time to when they were creating these moonshine bath barrels. The manufacture of them was held in secret. I had to plant secret wiretaps in the rooms of these secret meetings. Somehow I had salt crystals which also acted as wiretaps, and I had little bits of paper. The little bits of paper were very important to the tradition of barrel making. The recipe for the moonshine was written on small scraps of paper, and I knew someone on the moonshine committee who would write little bigs of the recipe on scraps of paper I would pick up after the meetings.

I disguised myself as a cleaning lady. I went into the secret rooms to clean up and spilled salt over the tables to scrub out the tough stains and to put down my salt crystal wire taps, then I hid little bits of paper in the corners and crevices of the table, walls, and benches. It was how people shove scraps of paper between the floor and chair stops to keep a chair from squeaking or being uneven. I had to be careful not to be caught.

The moonshine meetings started and I waited impatiently to hear what was going on.

I started reviewing what I knew and kept seeing these moonshine men making their brews in the waters and lakes of the area. Only, it wasn't moonshine they were making, it was bath salts. That was the secret, what everything thought was booze was bath salts. The salts kept the bugs away, and the barrels were dumped everywhere there was water, and in my time I would be able to dive under almost every lake in the mountains and find a secret barrel where once salty moonshine was made for the purposes of bathing.

I was secreted the recipe by the scraps of paper and found out it was high in salt, but these moonshine men knew what they were doing. The tree leaves used to make the beer and moonshine were high in natural ingredients that kept them from getting truly drunk on the moonshine, yet restored their skin to being healthy after hard labor, so they would live longer.

It was soon after this that I woke up. I think I had started filling my own barrel with this strange mixture of water, salt, and booze, in order to help myself have soft skin, get slightly tipsy, and live longer. The rest of the dream is fuzzy in my head, the last thing I really remember is this barrel on it's side with a hole in it, vines draped over it as if it'd been there for a long time. It was a hidden barrel, missing for generations in the woods and I was filling it up with cold water that became hot when it sat in the barrel. I was exited about this, but I woke up before I knew why I was so excited about this particular barrel...

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