Photo courtesy of Mike Johnston 2005. Click the photo to see more of his work.
A Memory Monday Dream Entry
Most of the time my dreams are merely stories my brain tells itself while sleeping. The movie reel playing in my head all night. My brain tells scary stories, frustrated stories, high adventure stories, fantasy, romance, memories in story, and yes, occasionally even a boring story.
Then my brain randomly dreams in code. That’s the difference between a dream like today’s, and the usual story dream. I wake up with a profound feeling I received a message. A very cryptic message in need of decoding.
Rattlesnake park is one such dream.
I find myself standing at the top of the hill on which I live, in lush, but recently mowed, green grass. I feel particularly thankful my son lies in bed sleeping in late as I maneuver carefully around dozens of full-grown rattlesnakes all over the grassy areas of the trailer park down the hill from us.
My son’s neighborhood friends run rampant, parents and children all unaware of the snakes. One I’ve only met at the bus stop runs passed me as I respectfully navigate my way safely around the snakes. Just as he nearly jumps on a snake (by accident), insuring a venomous bite in return, I snatch him safely out of the air and set him down between snakes, preparing instructions for safely guiding him out.
Mattmatt doesn’t listen and still doesn’t see the snakes as he runs off back the way he came, several serpents nearly miss him as he runs passed them. I would yell, or run after him, but I know I am not fast enough for such heedless action and if I make him pause now that he’s running, the snakes will catch him for sure.
I try a careful and respectful set of maneuvers around the rattlers to the nearby road. The snakes are only in the grass, from there I can warn everyone. The snakes let me pass without even rattling a warning at me. However, I know one wrong step will end in a venomous bite. I’m not frightened for myself(at least not nearly as much as I would be in reality), but I worry for others and am obviously on edge with so many venomous snakes nearby.
At the road, I finally look down the hill rather than the grass at my feet and see one of my female neighbors. I don’t know her well at all, but I get the sense she was only in that sequence because she is the only pregnant woman I’ve seen recently…basically, her status as a pregnant woman and the fact that she was mowing the lush grass, unharmed by snakes was more important than who she actually is in waking life. I can recall her face, just not her name.
Just as I look at her peaceful and calm demeanor in wonder (contrary to how I usually see her–looking tired and yelling at her son), I hear a piercing scream from my other neighbor, K’s yard, just out of sight.
I see a flash of my sister and an angry rattler striking out, fangs digging deep into her left leg at the left side of her calf muscle, and ripping free. Soon after, K leads my limping sister into view I take over supporting her up the hill to safety and her car. I briefly visualize us piling into an SUV angry with the rattlers for hurting my sister and see one near the road. I squash it under the tire. Justice!
But then I remember how they respected me when I respected them and we’re not in an SUV anymore (we never were, I leave the snake on the grassy edge alone…it’s not even the offending snake, after all) and I’m helping my sister limp toward her car. I know now my sister came for a surprise visit alone (she lives several states away and I haven’t seen her in years) and, like everyone else, went too far into the turn off and down into the trailer park looking for our apartment (though for some reason she parked her car outside my house–yay dream logic).
I realize Delos (my husband) is safely at work (ironic because I’ve never seen rattlers where we live, but they love shading under cars on a hot day where he works), but Michael is inside alone. I tell Julie I have to get Michael. I run in and grab him, not bothering to talk him out of sleep and bed with a time-sensitive emergency. Despite him almost being as tall as I am now, I gather him up, blanket and all in my arms, and shove him in the back seat.
My sister, meanwhile, has switched to the driver’s seat and forces a very brief argument (it’s her car and she doesn’t like anyone else driving it, especially when she can drive just fine) that I give up on just to get her more quickly to treatment for the bite. I start giving her directions and then realize the only hospital I know the way to is about a half hour drive. We stop for supplies, such as a rubber-band tie to cut off circulation above the bite wound. Also, because she is feeling light-headed, we also stopped to switch seats too.
No need. The doctor’s office my sister-in-law and mother-in-law work at (they work at a doctor’s office without a store in reality) owns and operates the store off the office, and they carry anti-venom!
Everything will be okay and my sister gets to meet my sister-in-law. As I introduce them, someone (maybe even me?) asks Sarah (my s-i-l) how she’s been doing. Sarah promptly passes out on the tiled floor, worrying me until she giggles and says “I’m alright, I was just kidding. I’m just that exhausted. Gonna go home now, bye!” in her delightfully playful, silly-voiced Saree way.
That done, I turn back to Julie as someone begins tending her bite wound. I remembered the snakes bit only her, all the snakes left me alone, they missed the heedless kids, what did my sister do differently that got her bitten?
“Why did it bite you?” I echo my thoughts.
“Because I spit in its mouth,” she said, her tone matter-of-fact. Just like the flashing image of the bite, I saw an image of a snake hiss a warning with open mouth. I felt my sister’s anger and frustration at the rattler infestation and threat, her defiance, and saw a drop of spit landing center the snake’s throat hole.
Then I woke up.
In waking, though I worried about my sister, I realized during dream recall that aside from the initial bite pain and wound, she was otherwise fine and showed no real signs of keeling over at any moment. In fact, everyone, myself and definitely my sister included, treated the whole situation more like an inconvenient quick boo-boo fix than a venomous snake bite and dying sibling…after we got on the road toward treating her wound, that is.
A list of highlighted symbols, the italicized items if I dreamed in words:
-Rattlesnakes (just like the picture above but positioned in various, loose queues (no coils) in the grass, about 4-5 ft. away from me and each other at all times; no specific numbers, patterns, or colors, and no rattling, they’re just chilling unless someone disturbs, startles, or threatens them)
– Michael (my son) was safe at home farther up the flat part of the hilltop.
– No one down the hill (where the snakes infested their grassy lawns) was aware
– Saving Mattmatt, a kid I didn’t really know as well as the others (he’s usually a rather quiet and reserved kid)
– The lush grass
– Being confident (I rarely am so confident awake, let alone in such a dangerous situation) and able to easily and respectfully find my way through a maze of venomous rattlers who displayed equal respect in turn. This mutual respect with venomous snakes that are letting me pass was a key point.
– A calm and content pregnant woman smiling while mowing a strip of lush grass (in someone else’s yard, no less…someone I don’t know, but further tells me that her status as as the only pregnant woman I immediately visualize right now, the mowing, and the lush grass were more the symbol than who she is).
– My big sister getting bitten on the leg.
– K, the neighbor lady I respect most, helping her up the hill.
– My son and husband’s secured safety in all of it.
– My sister-in-law passing out to illustrate how exhausted she’s been in a silly way
– My sister confessing she got tired of all those f-ing snakes in that f-ing trailer park that she spit in one’s mouth.
– However, the act of spitting in the snake’s mouth seemed more important than why she did it.
Other random notes: I don’t believe Michayla was home (the girl I babysit some school mornings and view as a niece/daughter), at least, I got the sense that Michayla was safe at her mothers, only the other children down there and their parents needed a warning. K was aware of the rattlesnakes (her family was safe inside already). Once I had my sister supported and on the way to the hospital, K had already turned back and down the hill. I knew she would warn the parents and children as I intended while I saw my sister drive herself to urgent care.
Symbol dreams are weird. After spending a few hours researching it all out of curiosity, I come up with meanings of finally harnessing my creative and/or healer energies and achieving fame for my artistic pursuits, along with a need to express my creativity…sorta…I can’t really find what it might mean for someone else to spit and get bitten by the snakes you successfully worked around. Only that your sister represents the sort of aspects of yourself most present with her…which I guess is really complicated and can’t be boiled down to a few words.
According to symbols, my sister is a stand in for the relationship we share. Protectiveness, love, loyalty…I can more easily bring myself with unbending confidence defending her or another loved one than I can defending myself…I suspect and have evidence of the same from her…so she also brings out my confidence in defending others.
I do wish she could more often remember how great she is and how much I’ve always looked up to her, even when I was being bratty. I don’t think she’s reminded of that often enough by all the people she loves. I think spitting represented a need to express…into a snake’s mouth suggests a need to express such things through creative and/or healing work.
What a muddled mess. It’s got me more seriously thinking about my writing again now though, and appreciating my sister. In that then, there’s definitely no harm in taking a little direction from some dream symbol mumbo-jumbo, right? Best-case scenario, I do the work necessary to become a famous story-teller (it’s not really the fame I’m after, it’s the idea that fame = my stories are widely read and appreciated). Worse-case scenario, I put in more work toward my goals and only please my current audience and give my sister warm appreciation fuzzies. Best worse-case scenario I ever outlined.
Ever had a dream you felt was written in code? A code you HAD to crack? Know a good dream journal online? Think you have an answer, or at last an amusing interpretation to my cryptic subconscious? Or anything else you’d like to say? I love hearing from you! Just add your comments below.