I had a dream about wild horses one night, but it wasn't a nightmare.
It started with me opening a door in a dark room and being amazed to find that I was at my aunt’s farmhouse in the Berkshires. Apparently I thought I was still in New York.
The sky was shockingly blue and the grass was so incredibly green, as if the colors had been computer-enhanced. Any tension I may have been feeling immediately began to fade.
I looked to my left and I saw several wild horses sliding down a hill on their backs. At first I thought they were in some kind of trouble, but then I realized they were playing, sledding down the grass and running back up the hill to do it again.
I don’t think real horses can do this, but I’m from Brooklyn so what I know?
In the dream I kept thinking I had to get in touch with my father, who died four years ago, but he was apparently alive and living in our home in the city.
Then an old man, who worked on my aunt’s farm--there is no such person in real life--came into the house, sat down across from me, and started talking.
Or at least he tried to, but a heavy cold had reduced his voice to a barely audible rasp.
“Dude,” I shouted, “I’m going on vacation soon. I don’t want to get sick. Stay away from me!”
Even in my dreams I’m a hypochondriac.
I leaned back in my chair to get away from this guy, who kept on talking despite his failing voice, and I started to nod off.
The next thing I remember I was riding on a bus through Pittsfield or Springfield, MA. As the bus rode by a group of teenagers playing basketball in a park, they stopped their game to jeer and give the finger.
The streets were crowded and I saw a young man running out into traffic, forcing cars to slow down, and then running back to the corner while his girlfriend cheered him on.
All right, so what does all this mean? Psychologists believe that you are everybody--and everything--in a dream.
I believe the horses represented my playful side, the part of me that isn't saddled by worry or reined in by fear. I think the sick old man was a stand-in for my father in his final years as well as a manifestation of my fears of aging and illness.
Now I had watched “The Fighter,” which takes place in Lowell, MA, just before going to bed on this particular night and I think that planted Massachusetts in my mind.
Lowell reminded me of Pittsfield or Springfield, which are near my aunt’s place, and the film is populated with blue collar types, so that explains the roughnecks who were throwing me the bone. And maybe part of me wants to be one of those louts, giving the finger to the world.
I notice how this dream gets progressively more unpleasant, as I leave the playful horses, face age and illness, and return to the urban world and all its hostility. It's almost like life as we age from innocent children to wary adults.
The wild horses were telling me to enjoy life and not worry so much. I think they had the right idea and I'll ride them some day.