Last night/early this morning I had one of those dreams that stays with you throughout the day. I was at a combination bazaar/world's most awesome petting zoo. Awesome in that it was really clean, all the animals were happily wandering around freely and their attendants were these really hot gypsyish guys who looked a lot like Oded Fehr in The Mummy. (He was the Magi with the cool facial tattoos.)
I was walking through the petting zoo when I was gently squashed between an elephant and a water buffalo. They nuzzled in and refused to budge. I'm not sure how long I stood there, comfortably close to the two massive animals. Then the water buffalo was gone, and I was walking away, with the elephant right beside me. The attendants didn't seem to mind when I walked out of the petting zoo with the elephant, his head pressed up against my side. He seemed to belong there. I could feel the warm, soft leathery pressure of his head against my shoulder. Eventually I sat down on a large mattress covered in bright blankets and pillows, and the elephant lay down next to me, much the way Puppy did. And we sat there, me and the elephant, watching the swirling colors of the bazaar as people walked by and looked at us as if we were nothing out of the ordinary, as if a woman and an elephant on a mattress in the middle of a crowded bazaar was the most natural thing in the world. I felt so connected with that elephant that when I first woke up, I thought "Where's my elephant?"
While looking for meanings and interpretations on various dream and animal totem websites I discovered that while there is a great deal of information on elephants, it's easier to find references to dragons, unicorns and the Abominable Snowman than it is to find references to water buffalo. It seems unfair; while they aren't especially glamorous, water buffalo are very important in some parts of the world.
Animal Speak, by Ted Andrews, addressed the myth of an elephant never forgetting. The author wrote that it's not that an elephant never forgets anything, it's that an elephant never forgets an injury, and that they have been known to seek revenge when an opportunity presented itself. Sounds all too familiar...although I generally stay in the grudge-holding phase without moving on to revenge.
But what I really take away from this dream is a deep and natural connection with something larger than myself, a place of stillness in a swirling kaleidoscope of color and activity. Something to keep in mind as I embark on this new journey of work and school and study: when the world is going by so fast, remember that there is a tranquil place of rest, of connection, of enduring strength and love.
From The Natural History of Elephants by Milton Acorn