So, in this dream I was in some kind of city and the only way out was by scaling an enormous dam wall on the edge of the city limits. I really wanted to get out because the city had nothing natural in it and the people were kind of awful. In my journey towards the dam wall I came across an antique shop with a family inside, a mother and three girls. All of them were wearing real fur coats.
I stopped and knelt down next to the eldest girl, who was about 10, and said gently, ‘Oh honey, don’t you know that fur coats are cruel to animals?’ She looked at me and said nonchalantly, ‘Yeah, I know!’
I thought to myself that she just must not understand, so I explained a little further. I touched her fur coat and said, ‘You see, a fox used to have this on her body. The only way to get the fur off the fox and onto your body is by killing the fox and taking it from her. Do you see now?’ She was unfazed, but seemed to be clueing on in a positive way. Her little sisters gathered around her and her mother came over, too. I remember feeling a bit anxious in the dream because I didn’t want to use inappropriately strong language with a 10 year old, and wondering if the word ‘killing’ was too strong. Children have to learn about death before long, my dream self reasoned.
I started chatting with the mother about the moral price of fur coats, who was blonde with a high-pitched voice and wearing arctic fox fur. To my relief, she seemed open to changing her mind about fur when we talked about how it was produced. I remember thinking she had a grating personality, but I also felt a pang of sympathy towards her. As I felt this, I saw a snapshot of her life like a colour-saturated TV sitcom, in which she was hanging washing on a hills-hoist as her husband came home from work in a suit, and he completely ignored her as if she wasn’t there.
‘Maybe baby seal is taking it too far.’ She was saying to me now, ‘I know it’s a bit sadistic, but fur is so beautiful to wear!’ I thought, well, that’s as far as I can get with this lady without getting more nitty-gritty in front of her kids. I hope she thinks about the example she is making. And I continued on my way to the dam.
When I arrived at the base of the towering curved concrete wall, a titanic structure that dwarfed the human figure, I realised I wasn’t the only one trying to escape the city. Hundreds of little brown baby rabbits were trying to get out, too.
I heard my mother call out to me from nearby. She pointed to a long, rusted ladder and said ‘You have to climb that ladder to get out. Try and help the rabbits, pick up as many as you can on the way up! Use your shirt as a sling to carry them!’
I looked with dismay at the ladder. Each iron-red rung was crowded with little furry rabbit bodies who were struggling to climb up. Gingerly I started climbing, picking up as many rabbits as I could and being very careful to at least not dislodge any who were resting on their upward journey. I put some in my shirt, some on my shoulders and others I carried in my arms. I could feel their soft fine baby-fur and warm bodies with hearts beating very fast. Their eyes were black and glittery with moisture, and I could even see their bristling whiskers clearly.
When I reached the top, I looked out on an incredible vast vista of concrete, distant treelined banks, and a plunging drop into a wide, flat river hundred of meters below. Enormous thick iron struts emerged from the colossal pale curve of concrete that held back the reservoir, and I could see baby rabbits clustered on them, trying to muster the courage to fling themselves into the abyss.
I edged out onto a vertiginous ledge, also crowded with little buns. I looked around and there were groups of them everywhere, lined up on ledges and balanced on beams, struts, walkways and scaffolding, tiny furry bodies clustered in pockets of solidarity, shoulder to shoulder. They were looking down over the edge of their perches, considering what they had to do, all very attentive and serious, not messing around at all.
I looked down at the hard, bright water and thought it looked almost too far for me to survive the fall, let alone the baby rabbits. Nevertheless, far down below I could see little specks making ripples in the water, rabbits swimming to shore.
I looked at the rabbits I had carried up the wall and thought to myself, There’s no way I’m going to throw these rabbits into the water. They can decide if they want to jump, but if I throw them and they don’t survive the fall then it’s my fault. Besides, I can’t be certain there’s not another way out to the river bank from here. They have to figure it out for themselves, they deserve to make that choice along with all the others. And I put down all the rabbits I was carrying carefully so they wouldn’t fall off accidentally, Which would be ironic, my dream self thought.
I climbed out onto a beam and tried to figure out how far out I would need to jump to clear the lower dam wall, and then I woke up.