Two nights ago I dreamt I had to skin a whole calf. Only problem is that I soon realised it was still alive, though it had been heavily sedated. Yet I ended the beast's wretched life as I slit open its warm belly with sharpened steel, a torrent of shit and innards smothering my boots.
I didn't want to do it, but I kind of had to. I had to do it to prove to myself that, as an eater of flesh, I would be prepared to slaughter my own animals. I was also doing it to impress a girl. I finished the awful job, but did she
have to drug it, allowing it to be skinned alive? Both anger and obsession enveloped me...
I awoke to an immense ball of rolling, stereophonic thunder that amplified as it slowly tore its way around the tall sandstone walls of the great Victoria Valley in the central Grampians National Park, shaking the very ground on which I lay (What the fuck is that roaring monster that has my heart racing! Wow, It's bloody thunder. That's right, I'm in a tent in the Gramps. It's cold, but I'm sweating. My back hurts
). And its raining now.
I'm reassured by my pregnant wife, who shows no real sign of alarm. The thunder returns. We make contact, but we are united in our discomfort, the cold, uneven ground preventing any meaningul rest.
Dreams. Strange dreams. More an absurdist fable than nightmare. My own heart of darkness mingles with primordial urges, bubbling up to float just below the surface of slumber. It leaves me feeling beastly, grisly, shameful yet triumphant, angry and scared, wallowing in the pits of the darkest jungles of the male mind. Yes, a male dream. A dream influenced by discomfort and the unsettled weather caressing my subconscious. That and the fact I had earlier in the evening cut the fat off a leg of lamb, destined for the camp oven, with my new, extremely sharp knife, the thick layer of white grease peeling off flesh like sticky wax. It is my very first knife, or at least my first outdoorsy knife. A man-knife.
So, man-knife gives me freako dreams? That, and pack an extra sleeping mat next time? Eat less meat? Eat more meat? Kill more? Kill less? I fear a future devoid of personal compassion? A future shirking my manly, perhaps fatherly responsibility? Should I achieve my personal beast, or my pesonal beast? Does propagating the species give one a heightened sense of life, death and the mammalian condition?
Fascinating stuff to ponder, but not something to which I can find a definitive answer. It's probably best that way. Despite how clever we think we are, dreams will always be one of life's little mysteries. Probably best for me to take another slice out of the book of Bob Dylan...
"Some time ago a crazy dream came to me, .
I dreamt I was walkin' into World War Three.
Went to the doctor the very next day
To see what kind of words he could say
He said it was a bad dream.
I wouldn't worry 'bout it none though
They're only dreams and theyre only in your head."
Talkin' Work War III Blues
Bob Dylan, 1963