Snake in the Grass — A Dream

The path winds through a meadow, an earthy ribbon parting green. Breeze-touched, the grasses sway and stir, licking my calves with rough tongues as I walk. Though I maintain a steady pace, I fall farther behind with each stride — his legs are longer than mine, cover the ground more quickly. Already, he is a silhouette cresting the gentle slope; his shadow, stretched toward me, an illusory bridge. Both withdraw steadily.

Following the path’s gentle curves, I continue unhurried. The snake, however, brings me up short. A enormous, bright green astonishment, it is coiled and piled in the center of the path several yards ahead. I call out my discovery, but my companion dismisses my concern.

“Go around it,” he says. His voice is muffled by breeze as he disappears over the hill’s lip.

“But what if it’s poisonous?” I must pitch my voice, placing hands to either side of my mouth to project.

A rising tide of wind diminishes his response, if he has responded at all. Stealing myself to circumvent the snake, I see there are now three snakes. Two brilliant red snakes — similar in size and girth and heavy coils — have arranged themselves on the path to either side of the green, one before it, the other after. Stop. Go. Stop. As I stand, dumbfounded, the snake furthest along the path rears vertically upon muscular coils and lashes out at the central snake, sinking fangs deep into the latter’s neck. The two snakes thrash and convulse in a confusion of green and red until the green snake lies limp.

The danger is clear. There is no “going round”. And, as suddenly as I have this realization, I stand in stead indoors, at a polished wooden counter. All around, the steady pulse and throb of laughter, conversation; the polite clink of utensils on dishes, of ice in water glasses. Suffuse light pours through long, wide windows — the only illumination in this expansive, crowded room.

As the young woman behind the counter checks me in for my stay, my walking companion arrives. He unwraps crinkling sheets of thick white paper, empties several snake fillets onto the smooth counter. Pale, pleated flesh glistens softly against dark wood. He informs the young woman that he’d like the fillets plated up for lunch. Stunned, I immediately remind him that the snake was poisoned — not a good recipe for consumption.

Dismissing my concerns — again — he picks a fillet up between his fingers and bites off a large mouthful, chews, swallows.

Snake in the Grass.jpg

“Snakes in Grass” — C.Birde, 4/16

 

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14 thoughts on “Snake in the Grass — A Dream

  1. Are you drawing from a dream journal. Or, are you actually having these dreams so often and able to draw related images as quickly?

    I would say I am speechless. But, I have a fountain of words bubbling in my mouth. In short, you are somethin’ special.

    I will have to compare analysis notes with you, later.

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  2. One quick thought/note: You see how it was YOU fearing the snakes were poisonous while the “dismissive” companion tells you to go around after running by and putting the fillets–bleh!–on the hotel? counter. This sounds like a fear of something you partially doubt/question due to the input of another/others. Someone told you not to worry about something, yet you persist to worry/question it. Is the concern real or not?…would be the question you pose to yourself.

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  3. this piece has a dream-like quality for me, as well. there seems to be some mythical elements you have tapped into. themes of abandonment, fear, distrust, and danger all are unmentioned but certainly there. beyond that, however, this is a terrific read! one surprise after another, each one more intense. the strong images, such as “the grasses sway and stir, licking my calves with rough tongues as I walk” power your prose.

    it is the season for snakes to suddenly appear. on my hikes over the last two weeks i have come across three baby snakes, two of them rattlers, coming across the trail. always beauty and danger out there. — michael

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    • Thank you, Michael! Snakes share a complicated history with humanity, eliciting instinctual fear on one hand, yet being potent symbols of wisdom — Hermes carried a wand or scepter with two intertwined snakes. For myself, I do not generally fear them, and would be thrilled to have seen your three baby snakes! But it is rare that, when I walk, I find them before my dog scares them away! 😉

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      • The snakes on Hermes staff were actually, originally, essentially, tapeworms which healers began removing from stomachs long ago. The stick bound by a worm/serpent was an early symbol used by healers to advertise their “office.” I saw one of these in Pompeii, Italy. There were also Kama Sutra frescoes and a broken stone…projection outside the front door.

        I’ve only crossed paths with a metallic baby snake once on a walk. If I were to run into any bigger snakes, especially a rattlesnake…I’d keep my distance and/or pray I do nothing to rattle them. [Ha.] I like snakes and wouldn’t mind one of those banana/buttered-popcorn-yellow ones for a pet. But, in the wild, I’d be plenty scared of being poisoned. I would not be afraid of a Boa Constrictor…if I could identify one.

        Lucky Carrie; she has a dog to protect her. But, what if the snake bit the dog?

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  4. Wow! That’s a lot to respond to, so here goes! I dream often and vividly, and, generally speaking, have one dream each week that really seems to fit a narrative arrangement…so I select one and, for it, illustrate what I consider a strong visual scene. As to the dream’s meaning, I come back to my (learned-from-a-dear-friend) Jungian interpretation that states “all dreams are a portrait of the dreamer” and all dream symbols are, therefore, particular and personal, so it isn’t really relevant whether the snake would be, in real life, poisonous or not. From this point of view, I believe this dream suggests that I am feeling separated from my calm, rational, pragmatic, motivated self (signified by the male companion in this dream) by obstacles (the snakes — red/green/red, indicating hesitation) that I fear “lie in wait” ahead of me. The fact that my dream self’s male companion ingests the “poisoned” snake meat, I suspect, suggests that I’m “feeding on my own fears”. 🙂 That being said, it also just makes a nifty short story! 🙂

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    • You and your technology mishaps/malfunction. 😛

      I cannot say enough about adoring people who dream regularly and can transfer this to creative writing. My dreams are more scarce and not exactly literary wonders. Or, rather, maybe, I am not as blessed with my use of words as you seem to be. Which is a shame, considering I consider myself an artist of many trades. 😀

      With this gift of yours, you could easily…EE-SUH-LEE!…compile several books of short stories with pictures. You’re a story tree. A book store in one person.

      I was waiting for the Jung insert. 🙂

      But, if you never clearly see this male companion, is that really your more confident, stable self or some unknown/elusive variable? Perhaps, you WISH you were someone “better,” but cannot see it clearly. You just associate this with a male figure/companion, perhaps a father figure, someone who represents stability/reassurance. I would associate a stronger self with a person of the same gender, at least. A mother or female coworker/boss/friend. Someone you more likely could be…unless you got a sex change. 😛

      Hmm. Interesting theory. Red, green, red as hesitation…perhaps traffic lights, shifting between stop and go.

      I still say the poison factor is bogus. It could just as well be lumped in with the fears and disconnection/hesitation. There is no confirmation that the snakes are poisonous. Thus, it is just your fear of the possibility. So, if you want to boil the drama/fun out of this one, I’d say you are afraid of what your future may hold. Either illness in the family, early death or financial/emotional security. Something could be near and it troubles you.

      Also, the snakes could be a warning instead of a fear. OR, since the outer snakes converge on the central snake, an image of the “awen” symbol came to me. In some circles (ha), it’s depicted as three lines converging in the circle of a serpent biting its tail. [How’s that for irony?] It’s a symbol of divine inspiration. So, one might also say your scary dream is actually a scary burst of inspiration…or creativity. From my readings of dream analysis books, often what seems scary in a dream is actually a good omen.

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