Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Animal Dreams

My dreams often contain nothing of substance--no concrete symbols or colors on which I can build a translation using traditional dream interpretation. So I was surprised and amused to have two vivid dreams full of animals the other night.

It was Friday night, after the second presidential debate. The first dream showed someone bringing a handful of army ants to the next presidential debate, in Arizona. The army ants swiftly multiplied and began to swarm over one of the men attending the debate. In the process of saving that man's life from the ants, John Kerry fell into the horde of ants. Within moments he was dead, all his flesh stripped from him, nothing left but a pile of bones. I was horrified, crying, in despair at his death so soon before the election. "We don't have enough time to choose another candidate!" I wept. (Guess I forgot about Edwards.)

The second dream was more bizarre. I was back in Oregon, idly wandering in the abandoned orchard in front of my parents' house. Looking down the road, I saw an animal loping toward me. At first I thought it was a large dog, and slowly climbed back over the fence into the field next to the house as a precaution. When it was closer I realized that it was not a dog. Instead it was a donkey, carrying a monkey on its back.

When they reached the orchard, they turned and came toward me. The donkey repeatedly thrust its head between two of the fence's wire strands and pushed against the fence, trying to get through. I backed away a little, leery of its aggression. Then the monkey spoke to me.

"We've been blown off course because of the hurricanes," said the monkey. "Can you help us out?"

"I'm sorry, I don't think I can," I answered. I wanted to help, but honestly didn't feel capable.

Fortunately for the lost animals, a group of Native Americans came out of the house and offered to help them. They all sat down in a circle with the donkey and the monkey and began to speak with them. I went inside the house and watched through a window, trying to observe and learn without being intrusive.

I don't think I've ever dreamt of a talking animal before, and I'm not sure what to make of either dream. Obviously I'm afraid something will be done to sabotage John Kerry's chances of being elected President. I don't know much about army ants, and suspect that their appearance owes itself to my vague memory of a short story I read in high school, "Leiningen Versus the Ants." The donkey being the symbol of the Democratic party would seem to be relevant, but I don't know what the "monkey on its back" would be. Or how it got blown off course by the hurricanes.

So, hey, if you see any ants swarming ominously in Arizona tomorrow, warn John Kerry, wouldja?