A spider bite (08/15/2020)
I am trudging down a hillside in knee-deep snow approaching the floor of a narrow valley, really
just a wide gully. I am not alone; perhaps Sarah is with me. Our destination is somewhere on the
steep forested slope on the far side of the valley. Seeking a way to cross the small stream flowing
down the valley, we look downstream but encounter a cliff. Returning upstream I bypass a flat area
of slippery ice then clamber over several angular boulders to reach the edge of the stream where it
flows over gray stone ledges. A rusty iron crucifix maybe 8 inches long with pointed ends hangs
off of one of the boulders.
Stepping across the stream I find myself in a small crowd of people being adressed by a young woman
dressed like a Park Ranger. She is explaining that we need to have a ticket to continue. I know that
I received a ticket and I believe it is in my pocket. I pull a pile of little slips of paper - folded
grocery receipts and ticket stubs and such - out of my pocket but the only tickets I find do not have
the correct number on them.
Leaving the crowd I walk a short distance up the slope and look up. Immediately over my head is a
black egg case which looks like a lump of caviar. As I watch it begins to move and I am afraid that
wasps are hatching out of it but instead a spider drops onto my foot. I am sitting down with my
knees up and I am not too concerned about the spider even though it climbs up my leg but suddenly it
gets on my arm, runs up to my shoulder, leaps onto my face and with big jaws reminiscent of a set of
dentures or of teeth in a skull, it bites me right on the bridge of my nose.
It is hard to dismiss the Christian symbolism in this dream - the cross made of iron, unyielding
and inflexible yet also obsolete, like those rusty iron railroad spikes once used to anchor track
to ties but now found discarded along upgraded rail lines. Crossing to the other side of the stream
may symbolize dying, in which case the crowd of people before the ranger may represent the judgment.
An Ellen White quote comes to mind, which I misquote here: (Justification) is our title (ticket)
to heaven, (sanctification) is our fitness for heaven. I have tickets but not the right one so I don't
get to go to heaven. Death eats me instead.