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Dreams are weird. Really, really weird. I know this is not news, but sometimes they are so far out and entertaining I have to marvel over what my subconscious has given me. I once dreamed a friend gave birth to kittens and named them Cheese and Ice Cream. What the…!? Occasionally the images or events are so hilarious or beyond imaginative that I want to use them as writing material.

Every once in a while I actually dream that I’ve had an idea for writing, although usually the logic of it is lost in the light of day. Or worse, I remember that I had an idea, but no trace of it remains. But in a recent dream, I had an idea for something I’m working on now, and when I woke, it still made sense.

The passage in question recounts how I began to learn about the world beyond my family and some of the problems that people could help fix, like preventing forest fires. In my dream I recalled a coin bank at the Brookfield Zoo used to collect contributions for wildlife preservation.

A real wombat. Carver, 1975-2009.

The bank was a life-size replica of a wombat, and it really did exist. Whoever thought of it was a genius, because what kid wouldn’t want to put money in a wombat bank to save the wombats? Especially because the zoo’s real wombats were seldom in evidence, despite their habitat set to nocturnal conditions during public viewing hours. Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats, to be precise, although in my dream it was a “furry wombat” and somehow morphed with Smokey the Bear. At some point I dream-thought, “I could use that!”

On waking, I was surprised to realize it was a mostly true and certainly relevant memory from my childhood. I’m not sure I will include it in the essay, but I could. At least I now have the “memory” of the furry wombat bank.

More wombats

Carver (pictured above) was born at Brookfield Zoo and must have been around somewhere when I was searching for wombats in the Australia House. He was the oldest known wombat in the wild or captivity. According to his bio, he also correctly predicted the Patriots would win the Super Bowl in 2005.

Finally, check out this real news item from the Chicago Sun-Times that seems like it should have come from a dream: “Yo-Yo Ma and a wombat meet on a bathroom floor.”

World-famous cellist playing with wombat on bathroom floor. “Don’t tell Wilbur he had a smaller dressing room than Yo-Yo Ma.”