"IMG_4111" by Cat Sidh is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

On Dreams

Observing

These dreams have become so vivid. I struggle to remember them when I awake. They are plump with symbols I don’t understand: a world flooded with giant goldfish that need to be rescued as floodwaters recede, a heart transplant and a love story. Last night I awoke to someone at my door, twice. The first time, I was aware, in the dream, that someone was trying to reach me.

“I am occupied with other things,” I thought, “I don’t have space to answer that call.”

The second time, I awoke to the sound of tentative knocking. I was so convinced of the sound, that I went to answer the door (at 3 am). Predictably, there was no one there.

I have loved my dreams and struggled to remember them; I have tried to read them like tarot cards, filled as they are with such surreal imagery. In high school, I had a friend whose mother interpreted dreams; she told us that dreams are rife with puns: once you spoke their language, they were a parade of the obvious. But like a new language, I struggle with context: I can see that my dream of the (literal) heart transplant is an illustration of a (figurative) change of heart, but by whom, and to what end?

And what about the other dreams: the ones about places I don’t recognize, and places that can’t possibly exist? Those dreams about dessert, and sex, and the times I became a smoker again? What about the dozens of nights I have spent losing my teeth? Or eating paint? What about those nights that the dream folds in on itself, so that I dream of waking, only to be taken away by another story that appears more real than the one before?

In mythology, dreams are ruled by Neptune, along with fantasy, drugs, and hallucinations. I think of him as the patron saint of things that can’t be grasped, he who gives no fucks. I’m trying to befriend him (metaphorically): he controls divine inspiration, too, and visions and probably daydreams. I spend half of my waking hours with one foot inside visions and daydreams, moving between the worlds of what is and what I would like to be. I think most artists move this way, finding the cracks in reality where creation drips through.

It is probably too late, for all of us, to outgrow it now. Even if we did, what is there that could possibly feed those of us who feed off of stories and possibilities?

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