Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dream: Big Cats

I found out that my last blog post upset a few of my family members and friends. So sorry! Maybe I should have explained that it was a dream at the beginning of the post. I was trying to make the blog exciting but maybe that was a little too exciting. So let me make it clear right now. This is another dream. I'm writing it down because it was just as vivid as the dream about the crocodile. I don't dream this way when I'm at home and I'm trying to figure out what it means.    

This time the animal in the dream is a big cat--not a leopard, cheetah or lion. This cat wasn't like anything I have actually seen but it was big. At the beginning of the dream, I was with a group of volunteers and staff members. We were having a little party outside by the pool, just standing around and talking about life as we so often do. Suddenly I noticed two big cats running on the far side of the pool. They disappeared behind a wall of the lodge. Nobody else saw the cats, so I quickly grabbed one of our guides and pointed out where the big cats were hiding. He didn’t see them at first. But then they moved out from behind the wall  and closer to a tree. The guide saw them this time and announced to everybody that we had to move inside slowly and quietly.

We all went upstairs in the lodge, thinking we would be safe on the second floor. But the cats followed us. Everybody slowly backed up and spread out. I was standing beside the railing of the stairs when one of the cats took an interest in me. He slowly walked up to me. I was standing totally still, terrified but also amazed by being so close to this beautiful animal. I hoped that if I stood still enough, he wouldn’t think I was a living thing. He sniffed me as he walked in a circle close enough so I could feel his tail brushing against my legs. When the cat was behind me, I could see everyone else watching the two of us and I realized that two of the guides were walking slowly to another room, probably to get something to defend us from the cat.   

Then I felt sharp pain in my right arm. For some reason, I didn’t move or scream in pain. One of the cats had bitten me on my arm and wouldn't let go. A staff member grabbed the cat's neck, pulled him off my arm and  threw the cat away from me. I was staring at my arm. There was a large bite mark and it was starting to bleed. Another staff member grabbed me and moved me away from the cats. “I need to sit down," I said. "I think I’m going to pass out.” I guess I was in shock. Fortunately, they helped me get to the wall and I sat down on the floor with my back against the wall. 

That's when the other cat decided to come after me. Suddenly the shock wore off and adrenalin kicked in. I jumped up off the floor and faced the cat. The second cat sniffed me. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the two guides who had gone to get snatchers, long sticks with loops on the end that let them grab the cats by their necks. They couldn’t get in position to get the cat by me and, just as he was about to open his mouth to take a bite, I grabbed the back of his neck. By now, my arm was bleeding like crazy from the first bite. The smell of blood was making the second cat wild and he was trying to bite me anywhere he could. It took all my strength to hold onto the back of his neck and keep his teeth away from me. “Somebody get him!” I shouted.

Finally one of the guides got the snatcher around the cat's neck. He led the cat outside where one of the anti-poaching units was preparing a dart to put him out. The first cat was still walking around and the other guide was trying to corner him to catch him with the snatcher. But the first cat was smarter than the second cat. I knew he was eyeing me as I started to make my way to out of the room to take care of my arm. Suddenly, I heard everybody yelling. I looked back and saw the cat in the air coming straight at me. As he knocked me to the floor, I grabbed his mouth just like I did with the crocodile in the other dream. I have no idea how but I was struggling to keep his mouth and sharp teeth away from me. Just as I thought my strength would fail me, the guide snatched him and led him away. 

I woke from this dream looking for the bite mark on my arms. I couldn’t believe that I had another dream that felt so real.  Every detail was sharp in my memory. I’m still not sure what these dreams mean. When I described the new dream to one of the staff, she suggested maybe I am struggling or fighting with something in life that takes the form of these animals in my dreams. I thought that was an interesting theory since in both dreams, I was fighting to survive. On the other hand, I can't figure out what I am fighting in real life.

There’s one thing I do know. Africa is a very spiritual place. People here believe that dreams have meaning. So, dear readers, I have two questions for you. What do these dreams mean to you? And which blog post did you like reading better?   

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