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Dream: 1.31.2015

February 1, 2015

I’m walking down a sidewalk along a city street. About a block ahead of me, I see a mountain lion, also on the sidewalk, amongst other smaller animals. I fumble with my camera bag, to get out my camera. It seems to take way too long to get my camera pointing in the right direction, and focused. I snap the shutter, but it moves in slow motion, and she turns the corner, out of sight. When I look at my photograph on the back of my camera, all I see of her is a bit of her tail, but you wouldn’t recognize it as that if you didn’t know she’d been there.

My shot does have a large kitten of some unknown big cat (black and white), though, which turned back to look at me — it had bright blue eyes. The smaller animals are all different kinds of cats.

JM comes up alongside me; he got a photo of the mountain lion. He tries to figure out how to transfer his photo to my camera. I am surprised and pleased that he wants to. But we can’t figure it out.

Later, JM is talking to his dad in another room, but they’re within my earshot; I catch the tail end of their conversation. JM is saying something about time and date and watermark stamps on photos while they’re still inside the camera; that they’re very important, and that’s part of why people like having a camera at all — because of the metadata. His father disagrees. I enter the room and the conversation. I say the camera has to be recording a bunch of that stuff automatically (although privately I can’t see how “watermark” in particular could belong in that group). I say, “You should be able to make this stuff visible by fiddling with the controls.” JM says I’m wrong. I say I’m right.

Privately I’m thinking, “Spouse would know how to do this. But he’s not here. Also, Spouse hates JM, so he would never help him directly.” I consider whether I could ask Spouse how to do this on my camera, and then show JM at a later date.

Later, JM is talking to other people, maybe his dad again, saying something about how he’s going to inherit a substantial property [some type of real estate] when he turns 19. I then try to work out how old he must be now: 17? 18? I wonder to myself, “who would leave a property to someone so that they inherit it on their 19th birthday? Why not 21? 25?”

Then I get anxious, assuming he will lose all interest in me once he has wealth in his own right.

Later, something else with the mountain lion, the same individual. She was close enough to me that I could see her muscles moving under her skin as she prowled. My muscles tried to move in sympathy (empathy?).


I saw real mountain lion tracks when out hiking with LB when I was in New Mexico in 2013. That moment appears in one of my poems. Ever since then, I’ve felt . . . some kind of affinity for mountain lions.

Which is kind of odd, in and of itself, because I’m not one of those people who just loves top predators. I have such a healthy respect for top predators that I don’t want to be anywhere near them — why tempt them to make a meal out of me?

So, okay, I’ve had this affinity for almost 18 months. But this is the first time in my life that I’ve ever dreamed about a mountain lion. Why now?

And the part at the end was also weird — the feeling my body trying to move like hers. I don’t dream about animals super often, but I don’t remember that ever happening in a dream before. It did happen at least once in waking life, but the organism involved was a slug. I could feel neurons (?) in my head trying to move my equivalent parts (although, of course, I don’t have any equivalent parts) like the slug’s antennae/eye stalks/whatever those things are.

I’m coming into my own power? I’m more powerful than I have assumed I am? I’m graceful and strong, and can be fearsome?

As I’m thinking these thoughts, and writing them down, I see the mountain lion in my mind’s eye: she’s turning around to look at me, measuringly. I feel perhaps I’m on the right track.


Whichever aspect of me dream-JM represents, I must have a love-hate relationship with it. Echoing my real relationship with the real JM.

I wonder who my dream-uncle represents. He’s not a character that appears in my dreams very often. The real person isn’t as polarizing a figure as either of my parents, but we’ve never been close either.

Real-Spouse does actually hate real-JM.

{If I ever figure out what aspect of me dream-JM represents, does that mean I’ll stop dreaming about him altogether? Anguish. Shame spiral. Grief.}

This is so hard.


When I first saw the mountain lion, I just thought, “here’s this weird thing happening; I want to record it!” I didn’t think she had anything to do with me. But she was real (in the context of the dream) because JM captured her photograph. And he wanted to share that with me, so I would have my own record.

If she symbolizes my power, and dream-me just missed getting her photo, but dream-JM was faster/more skillful, but also wants to share with dream-me . . . now we’re allies? friends?

Well, both of us younger characters (me, JM) acted autonomously from the older characters (Spouse, my uncle), who might more-normally give us counsel. We worked together as a team of 2 more than 2 separate and feuding dyads.


Why was a “watermark” supposedly part of the camera’s metadata? Spouse imprints watermarks on his photos, but I don’t (well, hardly ever).

I knew more about cameras in general than dream-JM did, even though I didn’t know the particulars of his camera. I was problem-solving with what I did know, or could find out.

I kept to myself inflammatory feelings related to third-party aspects, as being irrelevant. But I’ve had plenty of dreams in the past where aspects of mine at loggerheads battle each other with much melodrama, sometimes even physically fighting, sometimes just screaming. Although not dreams featuring JM — in those, he tends to be standoffish, and I keep trying to catch his attention.

Something has clearly shifted. How? How can I do more of it?


Because of the overlap peculiar to dream-JM vs. real-JM, I’m never sure what to do with ages and dates: do they belong to my history with the real person? or some aspect of me?

The real-JM turned 19 in 1990, which is the last time I spoke to him. 1990 was my year of traumas, and those last encounters with him were intense, lasting, and mostly destructive. That can’t be it.

I turned 19 in 1985. I don’t remember anything about that birthday, but I certainly didn’t inherit anything like “substantial property”.


“Wealth in his own right” was the exact phrase I thought of, in the dream. What could I be said to have “inherited” at age 19? That’s “substantial”?

Well, my own life, in a way. I had learned, painfully, that there were things much more important to my survival than focusing on what my parents would be disappointed about next. For the first time in my life, really, I could look forward. Start figuring out what I wanted.

I could start over, from scratch.

  • 1991: Bought my first car. Moved into my first apartment.
  • 1992: Moved in with Gramma. Met Spouse. Got engaged.
  • 1993: Got married. Moved to New York, then Indiana.
  • 1994–1999: (Gramma got sick, died.) Finished college, while working. Internship. Graduated, with honors.
  • 2000–01: Living back in Illinois a disaster. Moved back to Indiana.
  • 2002: Priority ~ Counseling.
  • 2003–05: Grad school. Mixed experience that wasn’t helping me get where I wanted to go.
  • 2003–07: Environmental science job/career. Mixed experience that became a dead end.
  • 2007–08: Priority ~ Creativity. Art. Play. Experimenting.
  • 2008­–09: Creative jobs? Not really.
  • 2009: Blogging. Photography. Painting. First forays into social media.
  • 2010–13: Volunteering, some for creative stuff. Mixed experiences that never caught fire.
  • 2013–15: Creative writing ~ poetry, nonfiction.

I’m a late bloomer. I have no mentors, no models to follow, no community sharing pooled resources. I’m only now figuring out what I’m actually trying to do.

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