She is no stranger to odd dreams. In fact, she enjoys them. At one time she kept a bucket of popcorn by her bedside as a metaphor about how much she enjoyed them. This stopped after a preponderance of her dreams began to include either butter or sticky theater floors.
Free from the influence of such things, they quickly returned to not-particularly normal.
Perhaps intrigued by how sights and smell might affect her subconscious, or perhaps she just missed dreams involving sticky theater floors (who wouldn’t?), she began to introduce other items to her bedside table.
This did not turn out well. It wasn’t long before she awoke longing for the days of sticky theater floors dancing in her head.
She removed not only the various items she had experimented with but the entire nightstand. Her dream diary was forced to sit on the carpeting next to the bed.
Last night she settled under the covers with the same sense of anticipation as the wine taster who has cleansed her palette with the unsalted cracker and is awaiting the next sip.
She awoke this morning confused. Not because she didn’t remember the dream or the details were fuzzy, just the opposite.
It was the clarity that had her baffled.
She dreamt about an ostrich.
In particular their feet. Or one ostrich’s feet anyway.
Her first instinct was to look up what dreaming of ostriches meant.
Or ostrich’s feet.
That one might have been a stretch.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your views on ostrich feet and/or sticky theater floors, and how they got that way, and if it perhaps involved an ostrich, her dream eventually progressed to parts north on the ostrich in question, until there was a full-blown, anatomically correct ostrich standing before her.
And here is where the real confusion started. Not in the dream of course. In the dream it was perfectly normal. It was when she sat up in bed, awake, alert and ready to wrestle with the implications that the aforementioned set in.
She stood in front the ostrich wondering how she was going to be able to carry it on her back.
For those of you not native to Africa, or fans of going to a zoo every now and then, ostriches are large. Really large. 9 feet tall and 330 lbs of bird.
So if you immediately thought you must have read the part about her trying to get it on her back wrong and just switched it to where she was wondering how she would mount the Struthio camelus, let me stop you right there. You had it right the first time.
And now you understand why she was so flummoxed.
Is she afraid of taking on new challenges? Is someone in her life a burden or asking the impossible from her? Is she prone to asking the impossible of herself?
What the fuck did it mean?
And why a flightless bird?
“Flightless….. hmmmm…” she wondered aloud.
“Every shrink worth their salt says that dreams aren’t random. They always mean something” she said to herself.
She dug into her memory but only came away with a vague recollection of a statue on Mount Helicon in Boeotia (central Greece) of Arsinoë II, Ptolemaic queen and co-regent of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of ancient Egypt, sitting atop an ostrich.
What she didn’t know is that there is still some debate among academics as to if she, Queen Arsinoë II, was actually sitting atop an ostrich.
To bolster the claim though, when historians describe the statue in the Greek, they use the word στρουθός (transliterated as strouthos). The basic meaning of strouthos is ‘sparrow.’ However, the word had other meanings, including mythic birds of Lake Stymphalus, a certain kind of plant, ‘hen’, and ‘ostrich’. The latter appears in phrases such as μέγας στρ. (megas str.) = the large bird, i.e. the ostrich, and στρουθὸς κατάγαιος (strouthos katagaios where gaios cf. goddess Gaia, mother of Earth) = i.e. the bird that runs on the ground, does not fly. Apparently, the phrases αἱ μεγάλαι (plural feminine form, hai megalai) or οἱ μεγάλοι (plural masculine, hoi megaloi) also refer to ostriches, literally = the big [ones]. A full description of the statue reads τὴν δὲ Ἀρσινόην στρουθὸς φέρει χαλκῆ τῶν ἀπτήνων (tēn de Arsinoēn strouthos pherei chalkē tōn aptēnōn). Pherei looks like the Latin verb ‘to carry’ (fero / tuli / latum / ferre) – and chalkē refers to bronze or copper. Tēn and tōn are definite articles (in different cases, which is why they look different). The phrase tōn aptēnōn means ‘of the wingless (or featherless) ones.’ The whole phrase would, then, mean roughly ‘the Arsinoe being borne by a bronze flightless ostrich’ (or perhaps ‘wingless [large] bird’ would be more accurate, considering that strouthos can also apparently refer to mythical birds).
All she knew upon dragging herself out of bed some twenty minutes later was that she wanted chicken for dinner.