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olga the owl: a dream.

July 28, 2013

Here’s what I remember of the dream I had just before waking. I awoke about an hour ago.

I was outside, in the backyard. Not the backyard in my waking life, but it felt, while I was dreaming, like a backyard I was used to.

It was night. Not sure what time.

I don’t know exactly what I was doing outside in the backyard at night. I do in waking life, walk around in the backyard at night, because it’s nice out there, but I don’t look closely at specific plants or trees, to see how they are growing.

In the dream, I was wearing what I wear sometimes wear in waking life.. jeans shorts, grey and white striped t shirt, and, although it was dark, I was wearing my big Australian outback hat, which I wear during the day in summer, to keep the sun off.

I was looking at the grass and and at the base of a tree. I was checking to see that things were growing all right. There was light shining from somewhere.. a walk-through door in the garage, or a light outside. Not bright, but I could see a little.

I was looking down, but felt I should look straight across to the fence, part of which was in the dull orange light. I saw an owl. It looked like a great grey owl, but wasn’t as big as one. The owl was thinner and shorter. It was looking at me, but turned its head to the side when it saw me looking at it. I thought.. aha.. it is trying to be tricky. I had the feeling it would attack me, and it did.

I stood up, walked around to the side of the tree. The owl flew at me very slowly. I did what I would describe as an aikido move. I used the owl’s force against it. When it reached out for me, I grabbed its feet, and spun around with it. I guess it was attacking me from a bit of an angle, because I spun in the direction of the attack, and caught it by its feet, above the talons.

Its feet felt thick and feathery, like the feet of a great horned owl. I know what great horned owls’ feet like, but only by holding these owls with thick gloves. I was a wildlife caregiver for over two years. I worked with and held many birds of prey.

I was not injured at all by the owl in the dream. I felt the sharp tip of the short talon on one of the owl’s feet.. the talons of great horned owls aren’t as long as the talons some other owls have. I felt it poke my finger, but just barely. It did not break the skin.

When I got up to prepare for the attack, and when I was attacked, I did not feel nervous. I felt calm and confident, that I could easily handle the attack.

After I grabbed the owl, I stuffed it in a pet-carry cardboard box. I had put many birds into pet carry boxes while working at the wildlife center. There’s an art to grabbing a hawk or owl, holding it in a safely, and putting it in a big pet-carry box. I put them into these boxes to weigh them, or to transport them by car to areas where I would release them once they were old enough or recovered enough.

In the dream, I had not brought the box out, it was just there where and when I needed it.

Next part of the dream, I was inside. The house I was in, in the dream, is not the house I live in now. It was smaller, but good enough. It was still night time.

I looked into the box, and strangely, there was a barn owl in there. But the barn owl did not have the usual coloration. It was a barn owl in shape, but it was mostly white, and with a few black speckles. Its coloration was more that of a snowy owl, but still, it was definitely a barn owl.

There was a dark-grey-black-speckled white mantle of feathers that had come off the owl. Like a part of the wings worn over the wings. The mantle twitched a bit, even though it was separate from the barn owl.

Next part.. and here it gets stranger. I could tell I would be able to communicate with the owl somehow. It had an intelligent look in its eyes. Not the usual intelligent look, but the look of that of an animal that could communicate in a way I could understand. It looked mad at me, because I had been able to catch it. And, since it had attacked me, I’d say it was a fair guess it was mad at me earlier. I had become aware of it, and caught it. It didn’t like that.

I didn’t think at length beforehand about what I did next, I just did it.  I took the barn owl out of the box. It did not struggle. I set it down on a stool next to another stool, like I have in my room. The stool in my room in waking life is next to my TV, and holds my blu-ray player. It was dark in the room.

In the dream, I was in the corner of the eating area next to the kitchen. Still dark. Dark in the house. I had this crazy idea that the blu-ray player next to the owl would allow me to communicate with it, and this turned out to be a good idea. I didn’t even turn the blu-ray player on, didn’t need to.

After I set the owl down, on the stool next to the one holding the device, I and the owl were able to talk to each other. It had a strong, confident, imperious, female voice.

I don’t remember all that we talked about. I don’t remember who spoke first, but we communicated in English. Even though I didn’t have the TV on, I clearly heard the barn owl’s voice.

It was mad at me for being human. It attacked me because I was not good to the environment, and because I am human, and humans damage the earth, in so many ways.

In waking life, I recycle, have taken care of wildlife in the past, give a bit of money to an animal charity each month, and have started looking after a small nature reserve. But, I buy food at the store that is wrapped in plastic.  Some of the plastic wrap I cannot recycle, and have to throw away. I throw other things away. I eat meat that comes from factory farms. This is terrible for animals, and for the environment. I drive a car. It’s a small car that gets good gas mileage, but still contributes to pollution. I would drive a larger vehicle for safety reasons if I could afford one. It would be fair to say that I do more harm per day to the environment than I do good. Or maybe that is not fair to say.. hard to tell.. but I certainly do some harm.

I am human, and live in an industrialized society. Like most people in the US, I do not live on a farm. Everything I eat, I buy at a store, or occasionally a restaurant. I throw stuff away, eat meat, drive. I’m not good for the environment, in many ways. This is why the owl was mad at me, and humans in general.

I was quite surprised that I was able to communicate verbally with the owl, in English, that the voice I heard was the owl’s voice, and that somehow the turned off blu-ray player worked like something out of a science fiction movie.. worked like a universal translator device.

My head was filled with so many questions for the owl.. questions like.. what is it like to be an owl ..what does prey taste like.. tons of questions.. so much so, that I had difficulty staying with the conversation. And, I was still surprised the owl had somehow turned out to be a barn owl.. that it had been wearing a disguise.. that mantle of feathers. Either that, or it was a shorter and lighter than usual great great owl, then it became somewhat of a great horned owl when it attacked me.. that’s what it had looked like..  then later, in the box inside the house, it was a barn owl with a disguise of feathers it was no longer wearing.

I remember the owl sounding very superior in her tone of voice. I remember her saying humans were bad, and that was why she attacked me. I remember having lots and lots of questions in my head.

I remember saying, suddenly.. I keep wanting to call you Olga. Can I call you Olga? I don’t think the owl responded to that question, but I called her Olga anyway. Why Olga.. I don’t know. The owl had an American voice, not an Eastern European one.. I think Olga is an Eastern European name.. but I don’t know for sure.

The conversation turned to what I would do with the owl. I said I would release her in some area, and thought of some places where I could release her. I told her that there were city parks, but I didn’t know if many or any animals owls prey on would live in these parks. I could release her at the nature reserve where I work, but there was a great horned owl that I saw there.. might be living there, and great horns prey on many many creatures, including smaller owls. I said there was an area aways outside town that was desert, but I doubted anything lived out there. Or I could just release her in the neighborhood. In waking life, I had heard a barn owl in the neighborhood sometime last year.

I think Olga chose the nature reserve, was considering this.. although not pleased about the idea. She did not like any ideas. Certainly didn’t like that I had any power over her. That she’d need me to release her.

I think I released Olga in the nature area, or would have done so, but I don’t know, because I woke up. I was still in the kitchen, finishing up the discussion with the owl, when I woke up. Or else I had a very brief image of letting Olga go in the nature reserve.. or maybe I had that after I woke up. I don’t know. Unlike in movies, TV shows and books, usually my dreams just end. No conclusion, and yet the dream ends, and I wake up. That’s how this dream was.

If I were just making this up.. I’d come up with some resolution to the dream. But this was a real dream, and that is how it went.

I think it was really cool I was able to talk with an owl, even though the owl had contempt for me. That didn’t bother me, except that the owl was right. Even we humans who try to do some good for the earth, and for some animals, are still bad for the earth and its creatures, and that made me feel a little sad. But I felt resigned to this, and otherwise, felt it was really neat to be able to talk with an owl. Quite exciting.

The excitement did wear off some, because I was dealing with so many questions in my head, and had a hard time appreciating the moment. This is what happens to me so often in waking life.. my head is so cluttered with thoughts that I cannot enjoy the moment much. For example.. when I walked the trails and picked up trash in the nature reserve a couple days ago, I could appreciate the beauty of the place to some extent..  I noticed the beauty with my eyes, but felt I could not feel it on an emotional level. I have so many distracting thoughts. I felt only partially present in that place, and partially in my mind. I am like that so much of the time.

Distracting thoughts kept bothering me while I was trying to talk to with the owl. When the conversation turned to a practical matter.. negotiating with the owl.. figuring out where I should release her.. giving her options.. I was able to focus on the conversation, but much of the wonder went away, because I was using analytical thinking.

Still though.. yes.. it was great to communicate with the owl.

The dream ended. I woke up. I wanted to go back to sleep, but the dream was over. When a dream is over, I wake up. That is how it has been lately. In the past, I was able to go from dream to dream. One dream would end, and another, different one, would begin. I would get eight hours of sleep, and sometimes remember at least some of all three dreams.

I don’t remember when that has happened last. I was able to get eight hours this time, but often, since sometime this April, I have had less sleep than I was used to getting. For several months, I would mostly just get 6, or 7 occasionally.. or maybe less than 6. This month, a little better.. more sleep sometimes.

But still, regardless of how many hours slept.. dream ends.. I tend to wake up, with no recollection of having had more than one dream. Usually, I don’t remember the dream all that well. This time it was different.

I remember the dream, but I do not know what to make of the dream of Olga the owl.

Lots of folks are into dream interpretation, but I am not one of them. I think dreams are interesting. I know other people think dreams are interesting, and so I have, on occasion, written about dreams here on this blog, when I’ve been able to remember a dream well enough, and have not too hungry to sit at the computer for awhile. I am often not all that hungry when I wake up, and so when I want to type out a dream, I can do so without the feeling like I need to run up to the kitchen and get breakfast.

I am not surprised to dream about owls. I think a lot about owls, especially the owls I worked with. My last shift at the wildlife rehabilitation place was back in December of 2010. I would still be working there, but I moved from California to a different state. There are no wildlife rehab places where I live, except for a very small one, with very limited hours, and it is a long drive from where I live.

I at least see wildlife everyday in the back and front yards.. songbirds of various kinds.. sometimes crows, sometimes ducks or geese flying over.. sometimes I will see squirrels. I see more wildlife if I go to the nature reserve, or certain city parks.

I’ve only seen two owls here though, and heard one that I did not see. The owls I saw were a screech owl that perched on a little basketball hoop backboard in a neighbor’s yard. And, months ago, while walking through the nature reserve just before it was completely dark out, I saw a great horned owl. The only other owls I saw were at the zoo. The owl I heard was a barn owl.

But I think about owls a lot more than most people do. I have an owl painting and an owl calendar on my wall. I have a t-shirt with owls on it. I have many many pictures on my hard drive of the owls I worked with. I’m a bit surprised I have not dreamed about owls until now.. or at least.. this is the first dream about an owl that I remember.

A meaning of the dream? I don’t know. I of course know we humans are bad for the environment. But other than that.. let’s say animals are smarter than we think, that they have a fairly complex understanding of us.. that they are aware that we are bad for the planet.. and that they don’t like us.. this is possible, I suppose.

What about my other reactions to the dream? I sure felt it was astonishing to be talking with an owl. I wish I could have asked her lots more questions about being an owl.

One other reaction I had was that I liked that I felt so confident when the owl was getting ready to attack me, and that I handled the attack very well. I never feel that calmly confident in waking life. I felt better than I do in waking life.

In my dreams, I don’t have tinnitus (ringing in my ears). I don’t tend to have a distracted mind, etc. My mind, in part of this dream, was distracted by many thoughts, but this distraction made sense. Something amazing happened.. I was talking with an owl. So of course I had many questions I wanted to ask the owl.. even though I could tell she didn’t want to spend lots of time talking with me, and wanted to be rid of my company.

Well.. that’s the dream.. I do not know what to make of it. Maybe you have some ideas.

Thanks for reading about my dream of the owl.

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