dream log: dog and crow

(This post is backdated to the date of original transcription.) nb

dream log: dog and crow
Just had a dream that I really need to write down for later reflection and analysis. I've been dreaming a lot lately, oh yes, but what with the situation at my blogspot I have not been logging them. My relatives may be Christians, but that does not stop them from being skilled witches in their own special way. They just like to give all the credit for the things they do to their invisible friends, "God."

There were earlier parts to this dream, or earlier dreams, but only one full REM cycle stayed in my memory. A full REM cycle, as I've learned in my years of dream logging, tends to break down as an episode in three acts. The first act gives background and general information. The second act shows current process and action. The third act shows results of said process, likely or extant conclusions and avenues for further study.

Some background on symbols. A vehicle tends to indicate a willed or motivated lifepath and the worldview that goes with it. I've had many dreams in which I and other characters rode buses together, which is a powerful representation of alliance. I've interacted with a dog once in a dream, and at the time I tagged it as a representation of some very important aspects of my non-conscious self. The house in which I grew up has appeared in many dreams. And like all architectural structures, it represents persistent personality structures, among other things.

The specific referents to these symbols are virtually impossible to adequately describe without true telepathy! But I still hope that me logging my dreams and showing my work may be helpful to you-all as you consider and interpret your own dreams. Everybody's unconscious mind has its own unique symbolic language, but we do all seem to share some conventions of grammar and syntax.

Act one.
I was stepping out of the passenger side door of a very large bus. It was a light bronze or pale copperish color, very large like a Greyhound or touring bus, but each row of seats had its own set of doors. I don't think there were windows on the sides. We had stopped in the middle of a packed dirt road covered with wheel ruts, and everyone opened their doors to get out. I didn't really see the other passengers clearly but I knew what they were doing and who they were. Didn't occur to me to wonder who'd been driving or why we'd stopped. The whole driver's side of the bus wasn't something that occurred to me to think about; it was skipped. Lighting here, and throughout the rest of the dream, was early afternoon springtime, bright and comfortable without being especially warm or cool.

Traffic on the road was very fast. Other cars raced past us at dangerous speeds and didn't show any signs of slowing down, like they weren't even aware we'd stopped. I hid behind the open door and tried to peek around to see if I could spot a break in traffic. But all I could see was the other open doors of the bus, and other passengers also looking for breaks in traffic. I did recognize a man: the father of a cousin-in-law, pastor, nice fellow, didn't know him too well. So instead of peering fruitlessly around the doors, I looked around through the windshield of the bus. Peering down the length of the bus and out the window at the back, I did see a break in traffic coming up.

I ran as hard as I could and took a rolling leap for the grassy edge of the road. It wasn't all that far away, but running was incredibly difficult, and every moment I feared a car would come along and splat me to smithereens before I could get out of the way. Even though I hit the ground rolling and landed just barely on the grassy edge, the grass was thin, and there were still occasional wheel ruts where I was at. So I knew it was vaguely possible a car could still run me over. It was so hard to move, like every motion was pulling against triple strength gravity or like I was already exhausted and about to collapse. But I rolled over a couple more times and managed to get onto the part that was just grass. After that I felt fine.

Act two.
All along the edge of the road were low electric fences meant to separate the deep, wide green goat pastures from the road. I mean, they looked a bit like electric fences, but there was no power running through them. The fence was basically a floppy bit of wire attached to some sticks that ran maybe a foot off the ground, easy enough for any animal to step over. There was a great abundance of goats, and a great abundance of dogs (I keep thinking sheepdogs, even though they looked kind of like Lassie) with very intelligent expressions.

The dogs all had that mixture of confident competence, annoyance and frustration that a good chaperone feels when herding a group of hyper, rambunctious gradeschoolers through a highly public place. Like, "I got this under control, but it sure doesn't look like it, and man is it ever embarrassing." They were there to defend the goats against vicious wolves. But the dogs and the goats and the possibly wolves were all hopelessly mixed together, spread out on both sides of the so-called fence all along the pasture and the road. Sometimes some wolves would show their teeth and start menacing or even killing the goats, and the dogs would drive them off. But all the animals were milling about, new canines were wandering up from further down the road, and it was hard to tell.

A group of wolves came up from down the road, one fellow hanging back and acting sort of embarrassed. It wasn't big and pointy-eared and mean like the wolves it was tagging along with, but it didn't look or act like one of the dogs either. (Now, I just remembered this while typing up the recap at the end, which means it is very important. I had a gun. I thought about shooting this maybe-wolf-maybe-dog. I pointed the gun at it and thought about it, considered whether it really was a danger like the wolves I'd seen attacking goats. Then I decided not to shoot it and lowered the gun.) I went up to it and spoke to it curtly--though I've got no idea what I said it was definitely a command--and it came with me.

Act three.
Then me and the dog were inside the house I grew up in. It was in front of me and wanted to go quickly, but didn't know where to go. Even though it was my childhood home, the house was bigger and had more places in it, and even the places I recognized were different somehow--better lit, or smaller, or they felt backwards somehow even though the orientation of the rooms was exactly the same. All our family cats were there, just kind of wandering about. The dog didn't interact with them, but it did see them and sort of navigate past them so as not to bother them. It kept glancing back at me, as if to say, "are we going this way?" And I'd feel impatient and annoyed, and would point in the direction I wanted it to go and say "Go!", sometimes several times before it understood which way I was pointing.

Finally we ended up on the back porch of the house--a gray wooden porch that faces up against the magnolia tree I used to climb a lot as a kid. The tree was in full bloom. There was a crow sitting in the middle of the tree, a very very large crow, and it was looking at us, very intently. We walked up near the railing, my hand resting on the dog's back right behind its shoulders. I looked at the crow and said, "Crow, this is dog." I might've said something else, but if so it was short, and the bit I remember was the important part. The crow looked at us intently some more, then launched itself off the branch and started to fly away. It flew very slowly, sometimes freeze-framing in the middle of a flap so that it looked like a statue. Every feather in its neck ruff and along its wings was sharp, detailed, black that was almost matte grey in places and shaded to iridescent in other places, like the shoulders and the primary and secondary wing feathers. It seemed almost to be getting bigger as it was flying away, and even when it stopped moving there was no sense that it wasn't flying normally; it made perfect sense that it should stay aloft. The best way I could think to describe it is that it flew away into time.

Then I woke up.

What's weird to me is that I've never seen a crow in a dream before, and yet I was introducing the dog to the crow, as if I already knew it. Crows are an important symbol to me in waking life, always have been. What exactly they symbolize I couldn't say, but in general I like them and am happy to see them, as I would be to see a dog getting walked or a cat prowling its territory. They are shiny and eat anything and have pretty wings and a cool attitude. And even though they're birds and not especially carnivorous, you don't think of them as being flying snacks for other animals. Partly because of their size, and partly because, being carrion eaters, they're not a favorite food of most other animals if the other animal has anything else it can reasonably catch. So yeah. I suppose that sort of gives you the idea of the emotional symbolism going on there. Part of the food chain, yes, but not something that kills to eat or gets killed and eaten quite so often as other things.

The bus could be Christianity. The relative-shaped dream person I glimpsed seems to be a hint in that direction, and the animals and the field seem to bear that out. Also consistent with the fact that this was a very large vehicle that, apparently, no one was driving. And that I was very fearful and fraught with difficulty while trying to escape.

I think it's hilarious that I had dogs, wolves and goats but no sheep. None, like sheep, were so stupid as to need constant herding. All these creatures go places for their own reasons: to be fed (goats), to protect (dogs) and to kill (wolves). And of course sheep being a symbol for innocence, the lack of sheep says something about my view of humans. XD I was certainly mean to the dog in a way I only tend to be mean to myself. And I even thought about shooting the dog at first, thinking it might be a wolf--which is a pretty good image for my lack of trust in myself.

The crow is a new dream element and a thing that's meaningful to me in real life. So a dream like this demands, in my thinking, to be written down.

True Story Thursday vol. 6: The irony's the thing

Hast heard the criers on this April morn? Tis Talk Like Shakespeare Day in our fair burg, as our fair-hearted Duke Daley hath lately made known. By my troth, the Duke's as fair of heart as he is fair of face. And a ruddier snout ne'er graced a trough in all of Iowa! He's third or second of that lilied name to have stretched the mantle of our governance across his doughty shoulders. Which means, i'faith, twas the sixth or fourth tongue by that name to declare a holiday while his erstwhile boon companions took a holiday in shackles.

(cue Elizabethan laugh track--complete with some yahoo in the back shouting "Zounds! That's fulsome!")

Okay, okay, I've had my fun. Writing Shakespearean style is cool, but exhausting! Without television and the internet as means of standardizing quips and catchphrases, Brits in Shakespeare's day had made witticism into a kind of sport. Being up on the latest turns of phrase was, I imagine, the cultural equivalent of being about to quote sports statistics (By the way, Amber, the Toronto Blue Jays currently lead their division at 11-5, so your pick of them to win the AL east looks good!) or make jokes by slightly altering quotes from popular TV shows (Mmm...snowclones). So writing in Shakespearean and doing it right means not just Elizabethan grammar and idioms--it means biting political commentary couched in elaborate but carefully non-treasonous insults!

Hence, rest of post = not Shakespearean.

Instead I will write about the delicious irony that has me (ironically) in a very good mood these last few April morns. Last week or this weekend, Pearl mentioned to me that the workplace of a friend of hers is hiring--a friend who works right here in the city! So on Monday I filled out an online application for them. It's a call center and the pay's not fantastic, but I figure, what the heck. I've applied for equally un-lucrative things, and if they're hiring right now that's my principal concern.

On Tuesday, I got a cold. A really wicked bad cold, complete with a nasal passages that were more effectively blocked than an NHL goal net and a sore throat that killed my voice and felt like I'd eaten steel wool every time I swallowed. Did I mention the job I applied for consists entirely of talking?

On Wednesday, the place called me up to schedule an interview. By that point I could actually croak out complete sentences, thanks to my fever having broken in the night. So was able to talk to the recruiter lady anyway, and we set up an interview for me on Monday.

If I hadn't been sick, I'd've set it up for tomorrow. But still! They are hiring and I will possibly be working soon! And despite the inconvenience I definitely appreciate the irony. Haven't been sick all year that I can remember until this week. Hey, who knows, maybe this'll be just the thing to rev up my immune system so I don't get sick after possibly getting a job.

wait, what?

I don't think the days of the week structure is working for me. Always find myself wanting to write about something on the wrong day, then when that day rolls around, I forget to use the computer at all and just watch five or six hours of Law & Order instead. (Our L&Os are Criminal Intent and Special Victims Unit. We watched so much Criminal Intent today Eames's witty quips actually started to irritate me.) So lately when I go on the internet all I do is read up on things, get bored, then play Snood for awhile because we don't have Solitaire.

This week, for example, I wrote a song. I wrote it on Tuesday, so at the time I thought to myself, "well, it really ought to wait till next Monday, so it can be a Musical Mondays." But that's silly.

Earlier on Tuesday I'd gone to our local mental health place for an intake appointment. Ah, free mental healthcare. I only went to the healthcare services administration website in the first place because I saw Glenn Beck making fun of it. Figured anything Glenn Beck makes fun of is probably worth a second look. And using that website, I was able to find a place literally within walking distance of my apartment. Your tax dollars at work!

The people there have been very nice so far. The lady doing my intake even wrote out her assesment right in front of me, and I got to read it upside down while she wrote it. Never had a mental health person do that before. I've even read on other blogs that staff at psych hospitals generally don't like to let patients see their charts, so I guess it's not limited to the therapists I've seen. But just talking out the general outlines of stuff with a pro who had no emotional stake in my problems, didn't have an agenda, and from whom I didn't have to hide anything, gave me some new perspective. When dealing with my emotional issues I've mostly focused on effects rather than causes. My feeling has been that since I don't remember my own experiences well enough or specifically enough for it to be conclusive, the best I can do is work with the way I am now. But that shouldn't be the end of the story.

Even though I have made a lot of progress in recent years, have gotten at lot of my fears reduced and my fear-induced reflexes retrained, there's more yet to be done. I still lack the self-worth that is needed to turn my natural ambition and drive into something useful and away from various forms of self-sabotage. The negative assumptions that created those bad habits, of both thought and behavior, are assumptions I had to have formed in reaction to experiences. And until I can figure out what those experiences were, I have a much lesser chance of being able to get at them to expose their flaws.

When I got home I felt pensive and hopeful and nervous and all kinds of ways--a swirly emotional cocktail that had to be reduced somehow before I could get on with being alive. So I sat down with my guitar and strummed and hummed until I got a line that stuck to a melody. Built it from the title on up. When my life is more active and the creative juices are bubbling up from all sides, it's more like the song comes to me and bangs on my brain until I decide to write it. This time it was more like I went out into the woods and stalked a song until I grabbed it by the tail and dragged it out into the light. Still, I like it. In a couple of places the emphasis isn't on the syllable you'd think, but it's hard to hear it in your head without the guitar. So I guess until I get a chance to play it for you, just read it like a poem. Or something. I dunno.

like a mirror (chameleon song)

you can't run away
and you can't turn invisible
forget about protecting yourself
the doors are all closed
and you're small and exposed
time to turn into something else

like a mirror

the faces you know
start to bend, start to flow
and turn into the faces of demons
you've got to think quick
you come up with a trick
that you hope will trick them into leavin'

like a mirror

chameleon hands
twist what you understand
till you find out you're the one who told lies
crumble or act tough
it is never enough
to hide you from chameleon eyes

and if you don't like the weather
wait five minutes
if you've pulled yourself together
wait five minutes
if you are what you're supposed to be
wait five minutes
if you haven't got an enemy

cause nothing scares a chameleon, ah
nothing scares a chameleon, ah
nothing scares a chameleon away

like a mirror