Goodnight Mr. Owl

At midnight an owl swooped right behind me along my way home in the swamp of North Florida. It glided from the brush on my right to to silently snatch a morsel a few feet to my left.  Caught by surprise, I spun to catch sight of it only to see the shadows and ruffled leaves.

For a moment, I could see the events through Mr. Owl’s eyes.

Eyes like lighthouses!

Graffiti in Atlanta, Georgia: Little Five Points. These are eyes like lighthouses!

Rodent rummaging in the plastic scraps of yesterdays trash pickup, it’s exposed – but jumpy. My perch in the cover of the tree keeps the moonlight from making lighthouses of my eyes. Angling my wings forward for the descent, my talons sit loose on the branches. Situation. Two humans approach, walking between me and dinner. Rodent perks up to see the ruckus, readying to flee. Additional risk assessed; launch. Steady wings lean through the wind. Dodge human, narrowly. Kill confirmed.

I should probably host the next season of Planet Earth.

What strikes me the most about my encounter with Mr. Owl was the level of focus required to make the judgement call he did. I’m assuming he passed so close behind me because it was the absolute fastest he could assure his kill. Mistiming his launch from the branch would have meant an unpleasant collision with a human, yet he calculated it to inches.

There’s some kind of takeaway from this about inspiration from animal design and the power of focus. I’m a little too sleepy to express that takeaway concisely. For now I’m content to say: Goodnight Mr. Owl.

Dream On Little Dreamers,


Fairytale dreams buried in the database

Today I discovered a treat of the imagination. I have been meaning to use the databases available to me at the University of Florida to find dream research that I could review for the sake of interest. Yet, as I began my first forays into searching the digital collections database I was quickly sidetracked by this curious piece from 1890: Dreams by French Firesides by Richard von Volkmann and translated by J. Raleigh.

Essentially it’s a book of fairytales inspired by the dreams of a bored German soldier stationed in a fort during the long siege of Paris in the Franco-German war.  I read the first four tales, fruitlessly trying to maintain a semblance of professionalism, enraptured by the wonderfully woven stories that seem to be there just for stories sake. The preface of the book doesn’t seem to differentiate between the final product of the book and the direct dreams of the author but I have some reservations about believing that someone could dream so intricately.

Despite the likelihood of some creative liberties being taken with the original dreams, I think the author did a great job of illustrating the wacky characters with great detail. One story in particular that I have read so far would be The Invisible Kingdom. Here’s a quote that had me rolling with laughter as the author described the dream-kobold, a trick-playing creature from the land of dreams:

“He runs into the nearest house, picks up the first man he sees out of his featherbed, sound asleep, carries him to the top of the church tower and throws him over head first. Then he leaps down the tower stairs like lightning, reaches the bottom first, catches him, carries him back home…Then he [the sleeping man] rubs his eyes, looks about in great surprise, and says: “Good gracious, I felt exactly as if I were falling down from the top of a church tower. How very lucky that it was only a dream!” (Volkmann, 1890, p. 23)

I would love to be able to utilize my dreams in such a way. It seems wasteful to have so many diaries of dreams past without drawing some sort of inspiration from them. While the child-like fantasy format seems very appropriate for some dreams, I think that others would have to be given very careful transcribing to be translated into full-fledged stories.  It could be a long time before I’d be able to write so elegantly, but hey a guy can dream. 😉

So I’d like to ask you all, potentially using this book as an example, what do you think of stories written from dreams? Do you think they would help or hurt an individual trying to forge into the world of lucid dreams?


Dream on little dreamers,