This explains the need for afternoon naps and the tendency of afternoon naps to produce dreams more often than when the click beetles haven't interrupted REM sleep. And that explains, I suppose, yesterday afternoon's extremely vivid, detailed, and surreal dream. As background to this, we have a few cows on rancherfriend's ranch, where we trade half the calf crop for pasture lease. The other half, we eat. We've known rancherfriends for over 30 years now, and have gone over to help out at things like fence work, gathering cattle and loading them into trailers, working them through chutes for dehorning and vaccination, etc. Our cows were their cows (I bought two of them.) Rancherfriend has hauled our now-big-enough Sir Loin and Mr. T(bone) to the custom slaughterhouse in various years, hauled our excess calves (if we have them) along with his to the auction barn, and we have processed the sheep I get from Farrier and one humongous bull at their place. Rancherfriends have registered Beefmaster cattle in a TB- and brucellosis-free herd, and the range-fed beef is lean, untainted, and delicious. Beefmasters aren't a color breed, and theirs include a range of colors and markings.
So, the dream. I was in an old pickup truck (thin metal steering wheel, no padding, two doors, bench seat, layer of receipts and notes and things on the dashboard, mud boots upside down between cab and bed, etc.) and hitched to it was an open-style stock trailer of like vintage. Rancherfriend was driving when the dream started, and we went into a pasture and loaded a few cattle. All the cattle were black, but they weren't built like Black Angus (kind of stubby and stocky) or black Brangus (leggier than Beefmaster.) They were like Rancherfriend's cattle but maybe a chunkier (just not to the Angus level) and black, a few with some white markings. Then we drove somewhere else and loaded a few more black cattle--cow-calf pairs and singles. Suddenly, in the dream, I was driving the truck. Now on those old trucks, I have to stretch to reach the pedals--and this old truck made old-truck noises, the gearbox was worn, and the brakes were not entirely adequate to the load behind. Meanwhile Rancherfriend would see another of his critters, and I'd have to stop the truck and he'd get out and wrestle the critter into the trailer.
The scene changed to hillier country than we've got. Now I was on a wider road, with more traffic, headed down a long hill with curves, and increasingly aware that with a bumper-hitch large stock trailer full (or nearly full) of cattle, the not-perfect brakes were becoming more of a problem. I've twice had brakes go out completely (two different vehicles) while I had a long drive to any service facility and traffic and terrain to deal with, so it was a familiar emotion to be braced with my shoulders against the seat back, reaching hard for the brakes and aware of the way that miserable stock trailer could jackknife and roll us on a hill curve. About this time, Rancherfriend wasn't in the truck anymore, but in another, newer truck, passing me on the right and waving "hi!"
Then the road straightened out, the slope leveled down, and ahead was an intersection with a traffic light, including a left turn lane. Rancherfriend cut in front of me and took the left turn lane, so I pulled into it. There was a tiny hamlet, with a building I recognized (even after waking--it's on 183 north of Briggs somewhere, at an intersection with no light and a road I like heading off east.) In the dream, though, it was in a town of maybe ten structures, and the town had a sign with its name on it. (That name does not belong to any town in this state.) The road we turned onto was smaller, very winding, and there was another black cow standing beside the road. About the time Rancherfriend (now back in the same truck with me) got out and picked up this obviously 600-pound critter in his arms and shoved it in the trailer, I woke up. And somewhere in the dream (this part faded quickly and I don't know where in the dream it was--before the hill and curve and brake problem I think) we had stopped to pick up a cow and I looked out the truck window and saw a very shabby, moth-eaten-looking mountain lion--very thin--slinking away up a gully on the other side of the road. I was excited at seeing one. Rancherfriend was annoyed he didn't have his rifle along.
Rancherfriends came over last night for another reason, and I told them the dream. They immediately wanted to know if the truck was like their first blue pickup (no) or the white one (no) and if the stock trailer was like the one that "Quotes" (a bull named for his "eyebrow" markings) had torn up when he went bonkers. Quotes was a very large and uncooperative bull that appeared early in their breeding program. When delivered (finally) to the auction barn, he proceeded to break one of the chutes. But no, it was a bigger stock trailer than the old red one, and not like the one they have now.
Rancherfriend is hauling cattle to auction today because of the drought--their herd's been cut repeatedly in the last 4-5 years, due to decreasing rainfall. I decided this was not my time to volunteer to help. Rancherfriend got a new pickup a year or so ago, from a cousin who got cancer, and it's not likely he'd have me drive the truck anyway (I have driven his tractor on very simple tasks), but still. Despite not being a dream-analyst, the dream still deters me from getting involved with hauling cattle...at least for awhile.