This is an actual dream I had many years ago just before I got licensed as a therapist. I found it in my journal while looking for old bits for the Western I am writing:
I’m in a store that’s kind of half sunk into the ground, with lots of tables and shelves full of knick knacks, clothes, housewares. It’s all in one big room. All of a sudden down the entry steps into the store comes a horse! He makes his way, very businesslike, from the front door to the side door. Everybody is scared to see a big horse in the store. They’re afraid he might go wild. Pretty soon he gets to the side door, near me. I move behind a table, in case he starts bucking. But I helpfully pull the table to one side, so it’s easier for him to get to the door and go out.
Now, the door is open, but the horse stops in front of it. I can tell he wants to go out, but he can’t go through the door. He just stands there. I say, “You can just go on out.”
The horse says—it’s a talking horse, of course, “No I can’t, there’s a wood gate there. I can’t go through.”
I look at the open door and reply, “There’s no gate, it’s open.”
“Well,” says the horse,” I see a gate and I can’t go through a gate when I see one that’s shut.”
So I go stand in the doorway and say to the horse, “Now if there was a gate could I stand right here?”
“Hmm,” says the horse.
So I propose an experiment. I say to the horse, “Why don’t we try something? How about I stand here, and you could just come and stand next to me for a minute and see what it’s like.”
So the horse comes and stands next to me and says, “Now I see that there is no gate! You know,” the horse tells me confidentially, “I came here to get therapy from you. I could always get into places but I could never get out, and it was a problem. I always saw closed gates.”
“How did you know I was here?” I was surprised.
“Oh, there was a sign on the front of the store,” says the horse. Then I remember seeing a flyer posted outside the store, offering therapy, one with those little tear-off tabs on the bottom. It was stuck up with a thumb tack at about reading level for a horse. The horse had seen the word therapy and being down on his luck with the gate problem trusted that this was where he would get some help. He came on in and went right to the door, expecting this time to find someone to help him find the answer, and I just happened to be there. “Well,” says the horse, “Thanks.” And he’s out the door and walking off up the street.
And so, I wake with a horse’s epiphany before breakfast!
I consider the possibility of hanging a horse shoe in the good luck position above my office door—a unique sort of therapy shingle to advertise my services.
I look out the window where morning is painting itself in bright colors on the fence, and flowers are blooming everywhere. As it is my dream, I am, of course, the horse, the shop, the therapist, and the door. Which sounds like the opening line of a good and silly joke, or a wonderfully lively dream, or the life of a woman who is finding herself. Fortunately she has got some horse sense.
Photos by Kathleen Dunbar. Horse painting by Leland Holiday.