The Lizards Are Coming Out of the Walls


Snow falls in the village of Pine Grove along route 679 in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The small rural hamlet sits on the Western slope over looking the Shenandoah River.

I had a dream that is stuck with me so much that I awoke at 3:45 am to write about it.

In the dream, I had taken my daughter to preschool and spent the entire drop-off time yelling at her to hurry up as she dawdled, checking out this thing or that or hugging this person or that, because she was making me late for work. She ended up getting where she was supposed to be, late, for breakfast, earning me quite a look from the kitchen manager when I said, “Now, see, you’re late for breakfast.” When, in reality, she had missed breakfast. But I knew she would not be denied breakfast, particularly when Mom might be part of the problem.

Then I got in this boat of a car. It was an ugly car, huge, white with a dark interior.

The morning was cold and dark, one of those many mornings when my day begins before the Sun has bothered to show its face. I was in a parking lot, half lit by overhead street lights. The car had two doors that I had to open to get in, one that closed by pulling from the back, and one that closed by pulling from the front, and I had two seat belts.

By the time I got the seat adjusted so that my feet could reach the floor pedals, I didn’t have much room to maneuver my parka-encased body. I inserted the key, started the car and backed into an elliptical tail spin. Round and round the parking lot. I parked. I did it again. And again.

By this point in the dream, I was no longer in a preschool parking lot, but there were two pedestrians at the ever increasing perimeter of my spin, and I was about to take them out.

I tried to move the seat back, but I couldn’t bend far enough to reach the bar to do that because of the many layers of clothing I had on. I could get my foot off the accelerator, but I couldn’t get it onto the brake. I was wearing boots with a heel that kept getting caught. I opened the door, but my legs were stuck, bent into the small space I had created when I slid the seat forward.

I remember thinking “This has got to stop”. Then I woke up.

I don’t know what this dream means. Usually my dreams are bizarre and involve me waking my husband from a deep slumber to share some piece of wisdom like “The lizards are coming out of the walls!” After which I fall asleep and he spends the rest of the night scanning the walls for something I could mistake for a lizard.

Am I doing too much? Is that what the big car represents? Do I need to take my daughter’s view of the world and slow down—take time to look at this and that to give this person and that person a hug—instead of rushing from one thing to the next? Is my life out of balance? Would it be better if I spun in circles instead of ellipses? Am I playing the game of life too safely? There were so many possible symbols in this dream.

The next day I told my husband about the dream in the hopes of getting his considered opinion of its obviously deep meaning. With his no-nonsense, logical view of the world, he looked at me with an expression of incredulity, and asked:

“Wow, do you dread winter that much?”

The one interpretation that hadn’t crossed my mind.

© 2010 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.

Author: Michele

Michele Arduengo is a life science and medical writer by profession and a creative non-fiction writer by hobby. In addition to publishing Grits and Purls since 2008, Michele has published essays in Wisconsin Woman, Chicken Soup for the Soul and has a weekly column in her local newspaper.

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