Wednesday, February 27, 2008

waking to neighing and dreaming short stories

Two nights ago I was wakened by neighing. I woke up, not sure I'd really heard the sound, when Salina neighed again, right outside the bedroom window. I woke my husband, who went out to check the barn. The neigh had been very clear - come out now.

My husband found we'd left the gate to the front field open. The geldings had discovered it and went out for a middle of the night frolic. Salina wisely woke me up and they were led back to their paddock and the gate closed.

I'm a sound sleeper, a vivid dreamer, except if something's wrong. How perfect that Salina knows that about me. Aside from everything else, it charms me completely that Salina's paddock extends far enough that she can actually come to my bedroom window and neigh.

Last night I dreamed of a friend's apartment in Paris. Somehow I had visited her without a current passport, and was worried that my old one would be checked and found lacking on my return to the US. Crazily, in the dream, I thought, oh well - the worst that can happen is I'm stuck in Paris! I imagined briefly what it would be like to live out my life there.

Most of the dream involved looking room by room at the lovely apartment. The living room was small but with very high ceilings and a huge window that led out into a quite large back yard. The yard sloped up to a rock face, around which were planted many blooming, dripping perennials. A corner of the yard sloped down to a small pond, and my friend explained that she was still working on designing a terraced dock, with places where she would plant ginger grass. I suggested dwarf-sized fruit trees which would hang over the pond so that she could row beneath them and pick fruit in its season.

Back inside, she had papered one wall in many sheets of thick, jewel-toned paper edged with lace. It made a rich block of color that reflected onto the rest of the room. The kitchen was simple but stocked with the utensils one needs to make a good meal. On the other side of the kitchen was the front door which led right into the busy Paris street. The room had nice windows for people-watching, and I wondered if she might turn it into a writing room - or would the activity outside be too distracting. I stood for a moment in the window and watched the people pass.

Up the stairs a gorgeous crimson and cream carousel horse was suspended by a cord. The movement of air as I walked up the stairs caused it to turn slowly in a circle. The bathroom too was tiny but functional. On my way back down I marveled that the horse had transformed into a dolphin. This was apparently a special feature of this hanging art - it transformed for each ascender and descender of the stairs into a symbol just for them.

The stairs shifted near the bottom to a second stairway that led to the bedrooms. My friend's bedroom was like being underwater - many shades of blue hung from the ceiling: small sheets of silk and sateen fabric. It was quiet and peaceful and she decided to lie down for a nap. Two other friends were resting as well, but not asleep. I made my way to the guest bedrooms, small but perfectly adorned with antique quilts and warm lamps and thick pillows.

On my way back through the first bedroom, my friend's sister arrived to greet us. She was very tall, an older, very elegant French woman who came to us in turn, held our faces in her hands, and divined without a word from any of us who each of us were and what we had come to Paris to discover about ourselves.

Someone noted the beautiful antique parasol she carried, and as she opened it to show it off, it crumbled, and the quaint old Paris she represented seemed to crumble with it. Suddenly she transformed into a wild-haired, temperamental artist, who stormed into the guest bedroom to rest.

In the end to the dream, the two sisters slept, one peacefully, the other restlessly. The worry about my passport faded in the moment, and I breathed out a small sigh of relief and decided to enjoy the visit, now that I knew why I was there.

(It's probably relevant to know that my birthday is on Leap Day, and I have one coming the end of this week. I was in Paris for my sixth real birthday, a journey that I made alone and which represented my first real step forward as an adult in the world. The first night in Paris I had a panic attack and suffered a case of head-to-toe hives. But then I woke up, looked outside the tiny window, and made the choice to discover something new about myself in a new city. This Friday will be my 12th real birthday. I suspect this dream marks some changes between then and now.)


Grey Horse Matters said...

First let me say you really are a vivid dreamer. How do you remember it all? Secondly I find it hilarious that Salinas, for want of a better word, "ratted the rest of the herd out". I wonder if they are annoyed at her for that. Here they probably thought they were getting away with being wild horses for the night and she goes and tells Mommy on them. That is one reason I love mares, they are usually the voice of reason.

billie said...

Re: dreaming - this was one of the shorter ones! I have often said if I could figure out how to transfer my movie-length dreams to film I could just sell the whole thing to Hollywood and make a fortune. No overhead, pure profit. :)

Salina is totally on the side of reason and having "order." It is NOT night-time turn-out yet and she knows it! The funny thing is, they were right beside her paddock in the field, so it wasn't like she couldn't see them or graze right alongside.

The Zoo Keeper said...

Yes, Salina DID rat out the rest of the herd! That is so fabulous! You already know how much I love hearing about your animals. Dreams? Wow. I love hearing about them, too. I also love Paris. That was the single most interesting trip I have ever taken. And you had a panic attack? Oy. I could go on and on about those nasty things.

I have also dreamed that I was out of the country with a passport problem. In my dream, my ex took mine away and wouldn't give it back. I just love the description and vivid details of the building in your dream. I very often dream of buildings. I used to think that it was because I'm a real estate agent! That's a little humorous to me now. I have read that some believe a house to be a metaphor for the self in dreams. (Whole other story, but I was relieved to hear that because of a 'house as body' thing that plagues me. I thought I must be really weird until I read that.) Because of the dreams I have had, I believe that this is true for me and houses represent me. When I look at my dreams from that angle, they provide me with information.

I had one especially good dream (some of them are upsetting) about a house. I dreamed I was showing an apartment to a man and I decided I wanted it for myself. It was kind of a grungy and dumpy place, but it had good possibilities. The reason I really wanted it, was because there was a marvelous hidden room in there that was not included in the blueprints for the building. It was very spacious and had big windows and lots of sunlight came in. There were high, vaulted ceilings and the room was in the process of being painted a beautiful pristine white. That room was so different from the rest of the apartment. It wasn't small or dingy and didn't really need a lot of cleaning up or anything, just a freshening which was already underway. I wish I would have more good house dreams. I felt so good when I woke up that day.

Happy birthday, Billie! I know I'm a day early, but I don't want to be late. I don't recall ever meeting anyone who was born on leap day. That's so cool!!

billie said...

It's quite often true that the house is the self.

Once when I was young and just starting therapy I had a dream that the floor of my house was glass, and underneath the glass, the subterranean world, muck and ooze and all the slimy scary creatures you don't ever want to see, were exposed.

Talk about a transparent therapy dream!

If I start analyzing my Paris dream I'll go on writing for two hours, but suffice it to say there are so many layers there that paint a very perfect picture of where I was and where I am now.

A good thing to consider when looking at one's own dreams is that the different characters in the dream are different aspects of the self.

The French sisters in this dream are my creative self. The 'older' sister is tempestuous and stormy, and her parasol, the way she shields herself from the sun, crumbles with age - the younger sister, the 'newer' one, has and continues to create a lovely outer and inner space, and sleeps peacefully.

I love these layered, perfect dreams that offer a glimpse into the progression of the self.

Matthew AKA silly husband said...

Billie is too kind. Her silly husband is the one who left the gate open!

billie said...

He confesses! :)