On the Night of Change
Dreamed 1994/2/8, painted spring 2003, by Chris Wayan
I walked through a gate to another world. Now I have to figure out where and when I am.
It's almost dawn; the sky's already a luminous aqua. I'm standing on a hillside, California I think: steep hills and canyons, with golden grass and round oaks on the dry slopes and sober green redwood, pine, and laurel on the shady slopes. But balmy even now at dawn, and the slopes are feathered with palms. Northern California after centuries of greenhousing! So it's the future?
Crowds are scurrying around setting up tents on the flat below me. Looks like a fair. A man passing me on the trail smiles and says "There are two springs ahead, one with good water, one not. I'll show you which." Other hikers collect and follow us, amazed he'd share such a valuable trade secret. Why, he could run his own caravan!
Here come the elephants. Two of them, with riders... And a string of camels, too, all heading into the flat where banners start rising with the sun. It seems primitive and futuristic at once. People are different, but I can't pin it down to anything consistent. But I sense it. What am I missing? What's changed?
I find out at sunset.
This annual fair relies on this night. Once a year, people Change, particularly the young. A rite of passage. Whatever the change is, it works fast: thousands of young people will acquire the powers that mark them as adults, in this one night.
I watch a young woman change in front of me. She's acquiring the power to change shape, to become a wolf. In her, it manifests from the core outwards, starting in her womb. She feels a lone-wolf sexual confidence, an aggressiveness she's never had. She says "I feel masculine--I never understood guys so well before." The attitude change seems a little dangerous to me, since she'll still be the one getting pregnant if she's not careful. A mental sex change without a physical one: risky! But she likes it, likes that she has a wolf's estrus cycle, in heat on this hot night, drawing every wolf for miles to her, two-legged and four. Men don't know why they find her so exciting now, what the wildness is they scent. But she knows. Though she's in heat, she doesn't feel at all like she's at the mercy of her body: this is a transition, and when it's done, when she's all wolf, then she'll have the power to change back and forth, human or wolf, horny or not--not a curse, but a power and a choice.
The change often manifests differently in men. Women generally transform from the core outward, men often from the edges inward.
I'm the edgy type. I can feel change creeping in from my fingers and toes. My genitals and guts will be the last to change, not the first.
But already my transformation, too, feels psychologically like a sex change. I feel intense longings for women around me, but I stay passive and anxious, hoping they'll notice me, responding with excitement if they do, but only responding, never initiating. Like a Good Girl from the 1950s! No women come flocking around me, wanting to pet me, as males do around the wolf girl. Still, though it's dull, I know that this attitude is just a stage, a by-product of an incomplete transformation; it's not a character flaw, or a gender problem. When the process finishes, I'll be able to transform at will into...
But WHAT? I'm not sure... A unicorn?
Whatever it is, and bad though my own transformation feels so far, I know these people are right to honor this night. The power to step out of your own species is true adulthood. Going past manhood isn't important.
Going past humanity is.
NOTES NEXT MORNING
Patience. Patience. Patience.
I posted this dream mainly to pose this question:
Consider your flaws, things you're desperately ashamed of, that you struggle to change before they ruin your life. Is it possible some of those fatal flaws are just ephemeral symptoms of transition?
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