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Sphinx's Wood

Dreamed 1981/11/19 by Wayan


My tires are bald and my insurance lapsed. My dad promises me a lump-sum payment to start up car insurance and get new tires. But then in the tire shop, he tries to convince me my tires are safe, rather than just say he's changed his mind and doesn't want to spend that much! I pay him back half the lump sum and get tires anyway--they're hazardous. I'll pay monthly for insurance--costs a bit more than prepaying, but not a lot.

Later, alone at home, I get a panic attack--scared for no reason. And my stomach hurts. And before bed I compulsively pick at my sore infected toe till it bleeds. Still mad at my father?


A man limps away from a stickery spot with microthorns in his soul. (Oops. I meant sole.)

I don't much like him, but he shouldn't be alone. This country's dangerous--Ghost Animals appear and disappear, we're near the interface to their land. So I walk with him through gates and over fields. We seek water; find some down the road at a woman's farm.
Oval colored pencil sketch of a dream by Chris Wayan: a hand holding out a white branch. Oval colored pencil sketch of a dream by Chris Wayan: a hand holding out a black branch.

Then we walk on, into the Ghostwood. We must each seek and collect both black and white firewood as a gift to the Sphinxes, so they'll tell us how to solve our problems. If you don't bring the right offering, they'll destroy you, of course.

Long scenes I've forgotten now as we each hunt for the Black and White Trees. At last...

We find the Sphinxes. But... I have only color! (Oops. Meant to write "white-colored wood!") But it doesn't matter, because the Sphinxes focus first on my companion, who's brought only a white stick too. Though I have the strangest certainty that what we see as black wood looks white to a Sphinx--and our white wood looks black. In a way we do have both colors--looked at through mixed eyes.

The Sphinx asks him "What is it?" He, surprised (are sphinxes blind?) says "White wood! Here it is!" and waves it nervously. Pokes the Sphinx with it! What a deathwish...

Colored pencil sketch of a dream by Chris Wayan: a man foolishly pokes a sphinx on the breast with a white stick.
She growls, and repeats "What is it?"

I realize, though he hasn't yet, that the black and white wood only earns you the right to be riddled! For answers, you must answer.

What is the black or white wood, that they want it so? If I can't answer this with understanding, I'm doomed. Having is not comprehending! Possession's not the key challenge for me; I happen to know a place, though it's a still longer tedious journey, where I'm certain to get some black wood, for I have an understanding with a Woods Guardian. But understanding what it is? Not so easy.

And, faced with a riddle I never noticed, I wake. Colored pencil sketch of a dream by Chris Wayan: a huge staring creature composed of bark, waving a club in a forest: a Tree Guardian



Next day, I told my friend Tom the dream. He said "You've changed. Used to focus on each detail of the dream; now you look at issues as a whole." That may be. But it's still (pardon my word choice) a riddle.

Colored pencil sketch of a dream by Chris Wayan: a sphinx poked on the breast with a white stick.

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