We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form. - William Ralph Inge
Giraffes are not an animal I think very much about; my only real experience with them has been in various zoos, and I doubt that I have watched any documentaries about them. And yet one night last week . . .
I have always had the most entertaining dreams, going back to my childhood. In fact, if I sat next to you on a bus I could bore you for hours with tales of dreams that I still recall from years past.
Action dreams. Sad dreams. Erotic (well, to me, at any rate) dreams. Dreams of grocery shopping. Dreams of Tyson’s Mexican Original - these are almost always bad dreams, and I wake up in a disturbed frame of mind.
Dreams where I have actually died - so much for that old hokum about how you can’t die in a dream.
But last week, I dreamt of giraffes.
Tracy and I were traveling down North College and I looked over at the spot where the old Razorback Theatre once stood (which is now a gym, I think) and I saw two wire enclosures containing several giraffes - the sort of enclosures primitive zoos once used. Giraffes, walking around on the hot pavement.
And one giraffe had somehow slipped out of its enclosure, and was walking around, seemingly free.
Then, through the magic that only a dream can provide, I was at a height where the giraffes in the other enclosure and I were all at eye level.
This was the sort of dream where all the giraffes, young and old, were the same height, which made things considerably more convenient for me.
I looked into the eyes of the tall creatures, who were only paying attention to their companion from the other enclosure, and a wave of discomfort(even sadness) swept through me.
This one giraffe, who would probably be hit by a car, symbolized for them everything that had been done to them for hundreds of years, ripping them from their homes, putting them in environments where smaller creatures would gawk at them all day long.
There was a sense of solidarity with the giraffe loose in the parking lot, and with the others across the way, still in their cage - but that solidarity didn’t include me, or any other human being.
And then I woke up, with no satisfactory ending to the dream. Only an intense desire to write about it, and I’m not even sure I have done that very well.
I just know I have been vaguely unsettled since I have had my dream about the giraffes, and heard their song in my head.
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