Dream a little dream of … women who run with wolves?

sleeping beauty

when she woke up
she was terrible.
under his mouth her mouth
turned red and warm
then almost crimson as the coals
smothered and forgotten
in the grate.
she had been gone so long.
there was so much to unlearn,
she opened her eyes.
he was the first thing she saw
and she blamed him.

— Lucille Clifton


During my crazy-ambitious spring cleaning today, I found a dream I wrote out many years ago (I’ve changed my sister’s name to match the way she’s identified everywhere else on this blog, and yes, I do still call my mother “Mommy” even at my current advanced age):

Mommy and I were leaving Fox’s house.  She was still living in Park Slope, but on 6th Ave.  Mommy’s car was parked a few block away on a side street.  We left the building and it was dark.  We were heading for the corner, were going to go down a block and turn to head for the street where the car was parked.  As we turned the first corner, this white man with medium length brown hair, a moustabhe and a beard, wearing white pants and one of those blue and white striped French sailor shirts came up to us in a familiar way.  He said hello and something like how it was nice to see us again.  We were turning the corner and we both said, “Do we know you?” And he said no, but of course he had noticed two lovely black women leaving #24 many times.  We kept walking.  Mommy was on the bulding side of the sidewalk, I was beside her and the man was on the street side, next to me.  For some reason I linked my arm through Mommy’s.  We were walking a little bit faster than he was, and he kept falling a step or two behind.  When we turned the next corner he said, “Good memory,” and then Mommy was moving really fast, almost jogging and I had to scramble to keep up.  He called out something and then Mommy was running and I was running with her and I looked back and he was running after us.  Our running was so strange.  It was like at the same time that we were running like we would always run, we were moving like volves, on all fours, galloping … We ran and ran, so far and so fast — not tiring, seeming to gain energy and speed as we went.  We ran past the street where the car was parked and just kept going.  Finally, after crossing to the other side of the street, we stopped.  We saw him run past: arms flailing, looking wild.  He stopped, realizing he’d lost us.  He came across the street a few blocks down from us and we crossed back over and watched him.  He started down a side street and came back.  He was approached by some people who asked if he was ok, what he was looking for, if they could help.  While he talked to them, Mommy and I headed back, only then it wasn’t Mommy and me, just me.  I started running back — wolf-like again — slowly loping toward our car.  And then it was like I was having a dialogue with Mommy.  I was saying how she was so magnificent before, knowing when to run.  I mentioned how odd our wolf-running was and I turned to look and saw the guy jogging along the opposite side of the street.  He didn’t see me.  I ran a little faster and turned down a strange, narrow side street that was only high, windowless brick walls on both sides.  I ran easily, still talking to Mommy.  I said, “You were beautiful.  I didn’t know who you were.  You were my mother.”

How’s that for fabulously bizarre?  And what about my very particular notation of the man’s fashion choices?  (Ok, that is actually very me, I have to admit.)  According to the note I jotted at the top of the sheet, I had this dream between turning off my alarm clock and actually, fully, waking up.  It was the first in a series of dreams I had over a two week period, all of which featured me and my mother running … and running like wolves.

(As I type that, I realize that those aren’t the only dreams I’ve had of myself as a wolf.  That’s interesting.  I wonder what that’s about?)

Yesterday I started reading Tananarive Due’s Blood Colony, one of the books I gave Fox for her birthday.  Can I say how much I am loving this book?  All the balls she’s put in the air so far have me thrilling to see where it’s all going to go.  I love writers who have that kind of magic, the ability to weave so many pieces together and pull me so completely into their world.  I will sometimes go along with writers who don’t do it so well, but I love the gift of finding myself immersed in some other reality, of looking up from the page and having to take a momemt to place myself in Brooklyn, back in my own life.

To feel that power
that bright flash of mind.
To watch a spark flower
to lives, to story, to a streamlined
whole.  Parts seamlessly aligned
by a hand so sure,
so patient, a craft so pure.


10 thoughts on “Dream a little dream of … women who run with wolves?

  1. I love your running, how it builds to wolf running with your mom-
    Our running was so strange. It was like at the same time that we were running like we would always run, we were moving like volves, on all fours, galloping … We ran and ran, so far and so fast — not tiring, seeming to gain energy and speed as we went.

    and then that great ending- a new view of your mom-
    I said, “You were beautiful. I didn’t know who you were. You were my mother.”

    And I just listed your book choice to add to my Kindle when I get home from Israel.


    1. Thanks, Bonnie. The wolf running is so interesting to me. I had forgotten about these dreams, so it was cool to find them written out so completely in my old journals (good thing I didn’t throw them away any of the times in the past when I’ve thought about it!). And the book? It’s wonderful!


  2. Molly

    I can never run in my dreams. I envy that. I try to put my hands down onto the sidewalk to get myself going, but I just move in slow motion, stuck as the bad guy comes to get me.
    I think we may have some primordial memory in our brains of moving on all fours, which can come to the fore in dreams. It makes you feel powerful and unstoppable. And so does your inner mother. Wow, that’s wonderful.
    As for the choice of the wolf, I think it’s no accident that your sister’s name is fox, which is quite a different animal, of course, but is a wild dog-like animal.
    Once for kicks I read about shamanism. If you get into that, you have a “power animal” whose particular form of strength is shared with you. The website http://www.knowledgesutra.com/index.php/List-Animals-Meaning_t59648.html says that the meaning of the wolf as a power animal is “loyalty, success, and perseverence”.
    But I agree with Bonnie that the most wonderful image in this dream is at the end, where you praise your mother. You, and she, were beautiful indeed.


    1. Thanks, Molly. I thought of the wolf-fox connection, too. Fox’s on-my-blog-name came from her, but how cleverly they fit together, how interesting that she would have chosen that word from all the other options … I’d thought about the idea of animal guides and power animals, too. I don’t really know anything about shamanism, but I love the meaning for ‘wolf’ that you shared.


    1. Thanks, Linda. That part of the dream was so interesting to me. I love the image of me talking to my mother even though she isn’t there, looking back at our flight and seeing her intelligence and power.


  3. I love the post title.

    Me, I can’t remember ever dreaming of running like a wolf. There was a time I dreamt my mother, my sister and I were fish, though. If I dream of running, I tend to dream of running upright (you know, like a two-legged person), and usually down stairs. Lots of flights of stairs. (Not that you asked…)


    1. This series of dreams — there were three — are the only running-as-wolves dreams I can remember having had. I’ve had other running dreams, however. Sometimes running away from something, but ususally running toward something. And always outside, usually in the country. Not sure what any of that means.


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