I was manager of a theme park. I had a spiffy uniform and everything. Admission was free, and guests were supposed to go from one exhibit to the next in a specific order, participating in different situations, and learning interesting philosophical lessons along the way. But the theme park had a problem with people who would wander in, then go from exhibit to exhibit and ignore the lessons, but instead eat the food that was laid out on the tables and then run off. They were exploiting it for a free lunch. I was standing on a lawn, having just caught one particular troublemaker - a little kid - and I was lecturing him about the importance of participation. I didn’t want to ban him from the park, but if he kept exploiting it, I would.
"Hmm, I wonder if the exhibits are all working properly?" I said. "Maybe people are getting confused and just eating the food because it’s there? I better run through the exhibits to check."
The first "exhibit" started immediately, while I stood there. A huge flock of seagulls flew in, from a grassy field next to the park, and one of them squawked at me, "Help! We’re running from some predatory owls and we need to be guided through the park! Can you guide us?"
I began running, while the cloud of seagulls flapped around me. I ran with them for a while and then they flew off. Job done, I guess. Then I came to a stop at a picnic table. There were two people seated at it, side by side. There was a huge scientific instrument between them, kind of like a cross between an oversized microscope and an overhead projector. On the picnic table, beneath the instrument, they had placed a frozen pizza.
They were examining it closely, and invited me to join in. I looked at it through the lens of the instrument, observing a wavy, impressionistic wash of pastel colors, like a painting. It was very pretty. While I was examining it I reached down and took a triangular slice out of the pizza and ate it. It wasn’t very tasty. Then I moved on to the next "exhibit".
There were five or six more exhibits. I can’t remember any of the details, but they were all variations on two things: Chasing or guiding someone, and examining food. I remember getting to the last exhibit and standing up from a park bench, dusting crumbs from a sandwich off my shirt, and thinking to myself, "Oh damn!! I’ve just totally done exactly what I’ve been trying to stop other people from doing! I ran through the exhibits and ate all the food! How embarrassing."
Then I stood there, thinking. "Wait a minute. There’s something funny about this whole setup." I turned around and began running back the way I came, towards the starting area of the park. As I ran, I reversed time. All the deeds I did while performing in the exhibits played themselves backwards, resulting in the opposite outcomes. Fleeing criminals got un-caught. Enemies got un-defeated. Finally I arrived back at the lawn, surrounded by the seagulls, who were squawking again for safe passage from the 'predatory owls'."
Instead I kept running, into the grassy field, and the cloud of seagulls turned back and followed me, reversing their course. Only about 50 yards into the field the cloud of seagulls was suddenly met by a cloud of owls, coming the other way! A huge brawl erupted, with feathers flying.
When it was all done, one of the owls landed on my shoulder and said, "Thank you for helping us catch those seagulls! They were wanted criminals, fleeing from our country. Now they have been given justice. For your good deed, we will reward you."
I laid down on the grass, face, down, relaxing, and one by one, the owls landed on my back, crowding in closely. After more than a dozen had landed, they all began flapping, and lifted me off the ground. I spread my arms, and glided along as the landscape spread out beneath me. Beyond the field I saw a rocky section of high desert. In the desert was a huge dilapidated victorian house - a haunted house, that I could visit and explore if I wanted. Also in the desert was a black ring of rocks, like the impact debris from a meteor. In the center of the ring was a smaller pile of rocks. I remember seeing other interesting places to visit too, but the memory comes with no details of any kind.
The owls flew me over the desert and came to rest on the branch of a huge eucalyptus tree. I spread my limbs out on the branches to avoid falling while the owls arranged themselves around me and groomed. One owl explained that they were all going to relax here while I made up my mind about where I wanted them to take me. On my back, I could feel Mira the cat resting between my shoulder blades.
I said I wanted them to fly me to the little mound of rocks in the center of the crater. I would meditate there, in the heat, and sleep for a while. The owls all piled onto my back again, crowding around Mira, and slowly we lifted off. They made sure not to tilt too much, to keep Mira from tumbling out into the sky.
I don’t remember reaching the crater. It’s all a huge blur, and the only thing I remember after that is from much later. I’m wandering around a kind of netherworld, in the streets and hallways of a city that is a twisted replica of some town from the waking world, except here there is no electricity and no sun, so everyone wanders around in the dark or with lanterns.
I remember accidentally wandering around in a big circle, and coming across rooms I’d already seen, but the details were different, like the windows were on a different wall, or the furniture was in a different layout, or et cetera. There was a group of people I was exploring with, but I’d (stupidly) gone off alone, and now the netherworld was actively sabotaging my effort to find my group again. Out of frustration, and in part to "punish" the world itself for conspiring against me, I began to knock furniture over and break windows.
The dream broke apart with the intensity of my temper tantrum, and I woke up.