I was going on a hike with Mark in the fields and hills between my parents' house. There was a group of us, but other than Mark, I don't recall who. I quickly became separated from everyone, and was in a kind of cul-de-sac of blackberries in a field near Bald Hill.
I could hear everyone up on the hill, and I managed to find a trail leading through a lower place in the brambles. The bramble paths pointed at an old brown cottage one way, and back the way I'd come the other. I picked my way through the brambles and stepped over a small brook.
The hill and the fields transitioned at this point, I think. They became less green and Oregonian and more arid, and more like the sonorian desert with cliffs. I was too busy wondering about the lizard I saw scrabbling up and down a sandy dune. I had the sense that this was a big lizard because I could see it well at a distance.
I wanted to catch up with everyone, so I headed toward Bald Hill, where I'd heard them last. I became concerned about rattlesnakes, because I knew they'd like to sun themselves on the rocky slope. There's a break in my recall, but the next thing I can clearly recall, I was being chased by a rattlesnake and another, smaller snake. I was running and they were wriggling after me.
I say that it was a rattlesnake, except that this snake was banded black, yellow, and red. Its rattle wasn't quite like a regular rattlesnakes, it was black and charred looking, like the remains of a log after a fire.
Despite running away, the snakes caught up to me, and then then rattlesnake proceeded to wrap itself around my neck and shoulders and sort of hang out. I might have been bitten on the hand, but it was more like a grazing bite.
The setting transformed to a busy city street. It was daylight. I still had the rattlesnake wrapped around my throat. I met a writer friend, but she was an amalgam of three different Wordos.
"John," she said, "I saw you from a distance and I said to myself, 'Is John wearing a rattlesnake around his neck?' And you are!"
We had a small chat. The rattlesnake might have changed color to something more like a rattlesnake's, and the rattle seemed less like a piece of burnt wood and more like the nestled buttons of a rattlesnake's tail. I have a strong sense of the snake's coils. Eventually the rattlesnake got bored or whatever, and shrugged itself off of me.
I must have woken up or something because I was telling some folks about the dream and A.R. (also from the Wordos) looked at me like I'd just walked backwards on a high wire over a fire and said, "Well. You've certainly made your spiritual connections."
And then I woke up again.
I'm trying to figure out this dream, because I don't normally dream about snakes. Usually after I cross a stream in my dreams, I encounter a stag or a panther or a raccoon or a white horse. As a white person of English and Norwegian stock, I'm not grounded in Native American traditions, so I'm hesitant to break out the sage and say (in deep, serious, spiritual voice) Rattlesnake Is My Power Animal.
But over the new moon and my birthday--both tomorrow--I think I'll be on the look-out for snakes and what they might be trying to tell me.