Dreams I Had Ages Ago

By Beck

This is a reprint of something I wrote – and liked very much – back in February of 2007. I’m a bit too distracted right now for a bunch of reasons to write anything fresher. Enjoy!

I dreamt last night that I was desperately driving a snowmobile across near-open water while wolves chased me. The only way that dream could have been more Canadian would have been if I had a flask of maple syrup and was cranking the music of Honeymoon Suite. While drunk. With a case of beer strapped to the back of my snowmachine and Susannah Moodie clutching me in terror.

I don’t know where the wolves came from, really – I’m not scared of wolves, although I DO have some exciting stories about them. I’m very scared of dogs though and with good reasons, because DOGS BITE PEOPLE. One lovely cousin of mine – The Baby looks a lot like her – has scars all over one side of her face from wandering into a neighbour’s yard as a toddler, where the neighbour’s dog ripped half her face off. See? That’s frightening. And then one time I was out for a walk with a friend in the evening and suddenly on a deserted street this HUGE! like, a big meaty wolfhound huge! dog popped out of nowhere and started growling and barking at us. My friend bravely stood her ground and yelled at the dog to GO HOME, while I took off and headed for the nearest front door.
The stuff of legend, I am not. My friend – who was fine, no thanks to me – still laughs at me about it.

I tend to divide the thing that people are frightened of into two categories: reasonable and dumb. Dogs = reasonable. (THEY BITE.) Driving = reasonable. (car accidents.) Mice = dumb. (I’m terrified of them but acknowledge that they’re relatively harmless.)Spiders = Dumb, Unless You Live In South America Or Australia or someplace else where spiders are actually poisonous and not here where they’re harmless little scuttling things. And so forth. My own fears span the spectrum from the reasonable (dogs! They bite!) to the utterly inane (I don’t actually think those department store shelves ARE going to collapse in on me and even if they did, I’m sure SOMEONE would notice.). Mostly, I’m just scared of subtly poisoning my children with my long list of fear, of making them feel like they can’t go live their lives because things are much too perilous. The fear of doing that to my kids = reasonable.

My grandmother – the one who, my children will tell you very solemly, is in Heaven – was driving the family sleigh home one dark winter night, back when she was just a young teenager and the nights were inky dark, when she heard howls and baying behind her and this story ends with my terrified teenaged grandmother and her terrified horse being chased across near open-water by a pack of snarling wolves.

The Baby looks a lot like my Grandmother. She has a family face, a family way about her. When she gets older, I will tell her the family stories, tell her of how her great-great grandfather, a giant of a man, half missing from a mine explosion, heard the howling, heard the ferocious running of the horse and came running out of the house with his rifle*, driving away the wolves as his child and the horse tore desperately into the barn, the barn only 30 minutes from where I now sit, writing about my grandmother who has passed into legend, into dreams.

*I just read this to my dad and he said that it wasn’t my great-grandfather but instead a local farmer who heard the horse bells and the wolves. Same difference!

Beck writes at Frog And Toad Are Still Friends.

3 Responses to Dreams I Had Ages Ago
  1. Kat
    December 4, 2008 | 3:11 pm

    Canada and Wisconsin must have much in common, what with the ATVs, open water, wolves, and beer.

    My hubby was running one morning when a huge pit bull came running out from behind a house growling and chasing him. My hubby immediately turned around and started running towards the pit bull growling and barking at it. The dog skidded backwards and took off running. Luckily my hubby was scarier than the dog. I think I would have been a goner. Still, I’m not afraid of dogs. Hmm.
    Anyway, a mother and daughter were coming out of a church across the street and saw the whole thing happen. The daughter looked at her mom and said, “That was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!” heh heh
    My hubby, the wolfman. 😉

    Great post, Beck!

  2. Woman in a window
    December 5, 2008 | 7:34 pm

    Who’s gonna argue when there are a)wolves and b)a man with a gun, right?

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    April 13, 2012 | 12:09 am

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