A couple of weeks ago, my neighbor was sitting in her front yard when a streak blazed past her. She had the wits – and even the camera - to see that it was a bobcat. It turned, looked at her, and dashed away.
BOBCAT! Here on my street!
While this alarmed some neighbors, my sons and I were thrilled. Days and nights of Bobcat Watch commenced. Binoculars by the window. Stealthy exploration of the thicket by the creek. Forensic dissection of dog poop, hopeful it might be bobcat sign. I forbade setting out a chunk of ham but it’s possible Peter did it anyway. William, invoking the predatory grace of the harmonic minor scale, improvised a sensuous Bobcat Luring Tune and played it by the open window at dusk. No luck. Others have seen the bobcat again, but we, alas, still quest for clues.
Sometimes dreamwork feels like Bobcat Watch. We glimpse a dream, we write a few words, catching the dream just as my neighbor caught a fleeting photo of the big cat. Hunched over our notebooks, we associate, amplify, and sketch our dreams, looking for explanations and meaning. We long for something we can’t imagine to appear.
But remember, dear Dreamer: dreams are just the signs. Dreams are the damp pawprint on your driveway, the bedded spot in your tall grass, the scat in the garden, the tuft of hair snagged in your rosebush. They all attest to the Wild Presence, here, every night, just outside your door. Remembering this can rearrange a person.
At first we thought the bobcat lived in our neighborhood. Soon the bobcat re-ordered our whole sense and scope of the place and of each other: we now realize that we live in the domain of the bobcat. We keep eyes open for the thrill of the hidden streak, the slightest movement. We compare notes with neighbors we didn’t know til now. We watch out for each others’ pets, and invite each we other to sit – distanced and masked - around the firepit on a Friday night. We’re not exactly scared, but awed and wary as we tend the Wild Presence who has let us know we are living in its territory.
So sometimes when you’re doing your dreamwork, and you feel a shiver, a prickle, an inkling, straighten up.
Turn around slowly.
And breathless, you may find yourself eye to eye with the great cat, the living source you hoped to glimpse, which has all along been following your trail...gazing, golden and glorious, at you.
Yes, it can rip you open.
Or you can open yourself up to the transformative powers of the DreamGiver - who watches from the shadows of that fire circle, in this neighborhood where the evangelical right-wingers and the yellow-dog democrats and the gay couple and the single mothers and the Obamacare-dependent cancer survivors and the songwriters who sing in their driveway on Friday nights and the economically crashing self-employed and very very shy and the exhausted homeschooling parents somehow keep the peace and grow more human by honoring the Wild, here on our uncommon ground in Bobcat territory.
Wild, wise, live-encounter dreams to you,
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Photo of bobcat at night courtesy of D.C. Cat Count