About this time six years ago, I had a peculiar, eerie dream that shook me to the core. There was no clear message, no strange story to recount, but the imagery was so strong I looked it up in a book on the meaning of dreams.
There were four elements to the dream, and I’m not clear on all of them anymore, but they included a wolf wearing a mask, dancing in darkness on the edge of a road that disappeared in the distance. Dancing isn’t quite the right word. Cavorting better describes what was going on, and it felt evil.
On the side of the road were some tiny white flowers, nearly glowing in the darkness.
I was frightened.
Wolves themselves don’t frighten me; while I may not wish to walk up to one and scratch him behind the ears (I have respect for their wild nature), I think they are beautiful, almost romantic creatures. My admiration of wolves began when I was very young, and my parents received an album they really didn’t want from the Columbia Record of the Month club . That club sent you a notice of the record of the month, and would send that album to you if you didn’t return the card saying you didn’t want it. We ended up with a few odd choices in the family record collection that way.
You could return the unwanted selection, but that was a hassle, especially when both parents work and the kids are always underfoot. This particular month’s record was “The Language and Music of the Wolves,” narrated by Robert Redford. It was 1967, and he was just hitting it big, but I’d never heard of him. I couldn’t understand why they didn’t get someone famous to narrate the tale of the wolves.
For us kids, the chief value of that album was the B side, which had recordings of the wolves howling. It was great for Halloween. It wasn’t until years, decades, really, later, that I realized that album had done its work. I appreciated wolves.
I say that to help make it clear in part why an evil wolf would be so disturbing to me. Aside from Little Red Riding Hood, that wasn’t part of how I pictured them. This masked invader into my subconscious seemed to be bringing me a message, something I don’t typically find in my dreams, but I couldn’t shake it.
According to the dream interpretation book, the meaning was clear. All four elements, each in its own way, pointed to the same thing. Someone I trusted was going to betray me.
I was shaken, but didn’t believe it. I talked to my co-workers about it, people I absolutely did trust and knew would not turn against me. (They didn’t.) We mulled over the possibilities of what my dream might specifically mean, and eventually, I laughed if off.
Two months later I wasn’t laughing.
A man who I not only believed in, but supported against the beliefs and words of others because he had always treated me properly, turned on me and accused me doing something I simply didn’t do. The proof of my innocence was strong, concrete, even, but in the end, it didn’t matter.
No, that isn’t completely true. It mattered to those who mattered to me, who knew me best, who believed in me regardless of what was said and where it was said. The police believed me and didn’t trust the information they were given by that man in the beginning; they recognized the inconsistencies in both his statements and my behavior.
But I paid a price. A very high price.
There’s one part of the dream that didn’t mean betrayal, but rather, hope. The white flowers. I clung to that imagery in my darkest moments and never lost hope and faith in the future.
The future is continuing to roll out, and the hope and faith are finding their fulfillment.
The next wolf I see in my dreams is going to be beautiful.