Dream: Studying with the Blue Bird Man

Dream 20030412, 8:00 AM:

I am with Chris at the Kingwood house. We are staying there, and it seems like we’re house-sitting for Mom and Dad while they’re gone somewhere.

We are in their bedroom, where we are staying. Looking out the back bedroom window, which has iron burglar bars (it doesn’t in real life), I see that the back yard fence has somehow moved up right near the window. There is a big wild cat chasing birds right outside the window. The cat looks like a lynx or bobcat, with tufted up-turned ears and a stocky solid body. It has blue on its hair – it’s not blue all over, but has a sort of blue-tinted coloring. The amount of blue seems to shift as it moves. The color of the blue is a deep ultramarine, and over the gray and brown of the fur, it has a sort of frosted, subdued look. There is more blue on its face than on its body. The cat is jumping at the window, and I tell Chris that it won’t be able to break it, it’s very strong glass and there are also the metal burglar bars. I don’t think that it’s actually going to hit the window, but then it does, with a resounding THUD, and jumps down and tries again. The window doesn’t break or crack, but it startles us. There are a bunch of birds sitting around eating, as if totally unaware of the cat jumping amongst them. It catches one in its mouth and runs off with it across the back yard. As I watch, it turns into an owl, with the same tufted ears, and flies up into a tree. Then, it turns into a blue bird about the size of a crow, bright blue like a jay, but without the crest. It tips its head up and swallows the bird it had caught, then flies off into the woods behind the house.

I tell Chris about what I saw, and he doesn’t believe that it happened – it seems very unreal. I tell him about how the cat shifted to the owl, and as we’re talking, the cat comes walking back into the yard, except now it’s almost entirely white. As we watch, its face shifts a little bit, the cat face becoming the owl’s beak, and I poke Chris as if to say told-ya-so. The cat’s ears tip even further up, becoming like a hoot owl’s “horns,” and I say, “Look at his ears! Well, not ears, but feathers…” and then I go outside.

I walk across the back yard toward the flower bed by the back garden. There, I see the bird up in a tree, but somehow overlaid over the image of it, is a man, not naked, but in something small like a loincloth. He is standing in midair, and high enough up in the tree that I see him in a feet-first perspective. I look up, and say, “Blue Bird Man, I want to learn how to dance.” He looks down, and smiles, and says, “Again.” And I smile, and say, “Yes.” He jumps down from the tree, and we walk diagonally across the yard to the backmost corner. Instead of the fence that is really there now, there is wild woods. The man is now wearing a reddish shirt and jeans of some dark color, and he looks sort of baggy-eyed and French. He reminds me of some of the old men from Louisiana. He is talking about the woods, and says something about how girls would go wild in woods like these. The whole area seems very green and lush. We walk into the woods. I ask him if I can go back and tell Chris where I’m going, but he says not yet. I try to figure out if there’s any way to communicate with Chris, but I don’t find any.

After walking a ways through the woods, we come to a tiny little shelter. It’s kind of a house, but not really; it is open on one side like a carport, and there is not a door in the doorway. We go inside, and the walls are papered or painted with a dusty red color which looks kind of dingey and discolored, like it’s been exposed to the elements for a while. He starts getting ready to cook the bird that he caught, and he tells me something about how he doesn’t keep birds in coops; he doesn’t keep more than one at a time. The bird is something like a crow, and it has crumbs like cornmeal on the feathers of its back. He pulls out a lighter, and lights a fire in a little grill that reminds me of a gas space heater. He cuts the head off the bird, and it writhes and wiggles; I am surprised that it wasn’t already long dead.

I am wandering around the room, which isn’t big, looking at it. There are some cabinets, but I don’t open them. There isn’t much in the way of furniture, and nothing on the walls. I see that there is water dripping through the roof in the corner, and I look at that. I go back toward the door, and look over at the carport-like part of the building, and see that a lot of water is leaking through its roof.

Another man shows up, I think that he is another animal person. He starts talking to the Blue Bird Man, who tells him that I’m new here, and could he come back some time later so as not to disturb me. The other man was asking something, but I don’t remember what.

Then, I go outside, and I’m walking through the forest. I start going around in a circle, and I am chanting some incantation, but I don’t remember now what it is. I find myself flying through the air, and look at myself and realize I am a black bird. I am something like a crow or grackle; I don’t know what kind of bird in specific. I am flying in upward spirals, turning to my left as I rise. I want to go fly over to the house and tell Chris that I’m OK, that I’m just studying with the Blue Bird Man. I hear the Blue Bird Man’s voice in my head, saying, “One thing: You must turn around and come back the moment he says no.” The view of the trees from above is beautiful; I’m flying particularly high, well above tree level. I fly into the back yard and land, and I’m a person again.

I go into the house by the back door. I see a big plaque or poster hanging in the utility room. It has something to do with instructions of how to take care of the house while Mom and Dad are gone. It is hand-written, but it looks like a blown-up print of a hand-written document. I look at it briefly, but don’t read the whole thing. It’s in cursive, and kind of messy. I walk into the kitchen, and there is a white electric dial clock. It says that it’s late, something like 11 PM, although it wasn’t dark when I came in. I am sure that Chris has been worried, because I couldn’t tell him I was going. I pick up the clock, unplug it, and wrap the cord around the clock and my hand together. I walk back toward the bedroom. As I walk through the living room, there are a bunch of small piles of sorted laundry – probably 20 or more piles.

When I get back to the bedroom, Chris is lying on the bed with the dogs. I jump into bed with him, and show him with great excitement that I have feathers on my arms; they are big feathers, probably two feet or more in length, and they are attached to my arms by something like wide bracelets. I tell him that I’ve borrowed the black bird’s wings. He doesn’t share my excitement. I explain that I’m going to have to go back again, and that I’ll be gone for four more days. He says that he will just do the rest of his part of the laundry. He is being very cranky, as if he’s trying to make me feel guilty for going, and keep me from leaving. I feel torn; I got specific instructions from the Bird Man to leave when Chris told me not to, but he’s not telling me no, he’s manipulating me to make me tell myself no.

Then, I look over toward the bathroom side of the bed, and there’s a pileated woodpecker sitting up on the covers. It looks stiff and faded, like it’s a stuffed toy or a taxidermied bird. I say, “Look, it’s Pileated Woodpecker Man!” and as Chris turns to look at him, he morphs into a human form. He does this by leaning up against the night stand in a sitting position, and just fading into a person. It’s the same man as before, with the same reddish shirt and baggy sad eyes. He hands Chris a bag, and Chris opens it up and takes out a large piece of what I think at first is ceramic, but then is clearly bone. He explains that this is the hollow toe bone of a mammoth, and that they kept their memories in
them for many years. Chris is supposed to tell his tales to the bone, and it will remember them, but he should be careful who else he tells them to, or it will think he is lecherous. The bone is smooth, rounded on its corners, and almost as big as my forearm. It is somewhat flattish top to bottom. Chris turns it over, and it has words carved out on the top end of the back in little chip carving; it says, “FOUND IN NATURE” and below that, “FLORIDA” and a date from a long time ago; I think it was in the 1800’s. I think that this is to prevent people from thinking it’s illegal elephant ivory.

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