Last night I had a long, arduous dream about being part of some survival trek over a mountain range. There was a whole troop of us scaling this rocky, uneven terrain, and I was exhausted, my legs aching from trying to find purchase in the crumbling slope. I was really anxious about my speed, wanting to make sure I wasn't in last place, so I kept looking behind me. Most of the time I was in the very middle of the line of people, but I wished I could have been studly enough to be at the front. I was self-conscious about my puffing and straining, worrying that my legs (or heart) would just give out before I made it to whatever our goal was.
When we finally got through that part of the journey, we ended up in a vast red canyon, with no sign of civilization anywhere. Only in a dream could you climb a mountain range and find a canyon at the top. There was also a bunch of towering palm trees, which quickly became very important.
A huge tidal wave was headed our way, the wall of rushing water stretching up farther than we could see. The only way we knew to possibly escape being killed by it was to scale the palm trees and hang on for dear life. We climbed as fast and as high as we could. My tree was very skinny, and bowed low with my weight (too many Reese's Peanut Butter Christmas Trees?), which worried me since I needed to be higher than the water after it settled.
The wave hit and we all blacked out from the force of it, each of us clinging to our individual palm trees. When I awoke, the water had mostly drained from the canyon, but I was perplexed about how I survived drowning in the initial deluge. Even in the dream it didn't make sense to me.
Susan, an old friend from school, had the tree next to mine, and she had also survived. After that, though, we all went our separate ways.
Then came a period of rebuilding after our ordeal. I wandered through the canyon, finding small groups of people from the original survival team that had splintered off into sub-groups. Each little enclave seemed to be building houses right into the canyon walls, kind of like the cliff-dwelling Anasazi. Most of the new communities told me they had first asked permission from the local native tribes, before building their houses. But the last group I came to, and for some reason decided to stay with, had NOT asked permission. Instead, they had built their housing using very raw materials, trying to mimic the color and texture of the canyon walls, and carved native animals into their furniture and household items like clocks and kitchen ware. They were hoping that if they simply showed enough respect and reverence for nature, it would be enough to keep the native tribes appeased.
I was nervous about that. It just seemed stubborn to me, and I was considering seeking out these mysterious natives, none of whom I'd seen any trace of on my travels, on my own.
But then I woke up.