Every now and then I have these dreams that ought to be wonderful, joyous, bouyant dreams of swimming with wild animals–and then the damn things bite me.
I wouldn’t so much call it a recurring dream as a sort of repeated theme. I know I’ve had it with polar bears and–for some odd reason–hippopotami. Each time I’ll be swimming alongside these wild animals and thinking something like “Oh my god, I’m swimming with a polar bear, this is wonderful, this is amazing, this is a practically shamanic experience–” and then, owing to some cynicism on the part of my subconscious, it’ll turn around and take a chunk out of me. The polar bears clawed me all to hell, and the hippo bit me.*
This afternoon I took a nap, and dreamed of swimming with otters, which was terrific, right up until they turned around and scored a lengthy hopscotch-grid of claw-marks down my left thigh. Irked, I got out of the water, watching blood trickle down my foot and into the water, and then was distracted by the arrival of an army, marching in lockstep, whose upper bodies were encased in carved black cubes, somewhere between Darth Vader and an old fashioned pay phone.
There was further unpleasantness where I seemed to be having a dream about dreaming, in which I was a young Hindi woman trying to escape the army with a load of books so that they wouldn’t be burned–except then I woke up, in the dream, and it was actually a traumatic nightmare I was having, and it was really six months later–but mostly what I remember is those damn otters.
*Arguably, genuine shamanic experience, rather than the froofy New Age kind, often does involve being eviscerated by wild animals in dreams, but since I’m never notably more enlightened after these, and rather than being reassembled and reborn, I just get out of the water and bleed sulkily, it’s mostly just annoying.