Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dreams in the Night

I tend to have the same kinds of dreams over and over. There are two themes: one is travelling, the other is houses.
The travel dreams are usually about trips that never end and are exceptionally difficult -- I can't seem to get where I want to go. Often, they begin with me at home, last-minute packing and not being able to find anything to wear, fretting that I'll miss the plane, which I usually do.
The house dreams are about entering a house, usually one I'm considering buying, and the rooms just keeping going on and on. You go down a set of stairs and there are more stairs and more rooms and the house never seems to end. This may be a consequence of a house my Great Aunt Elsie owned in Connecticut when I was a child that was built in the colonial era and had an addition built-on in the fifties. The colonial part of the house had myriad small rooms, clustered around a big, open kitchen that was dominated by a fireplace so big, you could walk into it. It was a working, colonial kitchen. But the addition was more modern, and there were several ways to get there from the main house, so whenever I wandered into the addition, I invariably returned by a different route and so the house seemed to have an endless number of rooms and hallways. Often the houses in my dreams are next to water, usually rivers and lakes. Sometimes waterfalls or gentle ocean bays.
I would guess that Freud would pounce on the themes of these dreams like a hungry man on a steak dinner. Voyages -- trying to accomplish something. Not getting where you need to go -- well, that one's obvious. Houses with endless rooms -- explorations of the soul. Water -- creativity, rebirth, etc.
Last night's dream was particularly aggravating. It began on the street of an unknown town. I had to get back home, and so I jumped on a bus. This was no ordinary bus. It had couches and chairs and several levels. Once I got on the bus and had traveled to the next stop, I realized that I had gotten on the bus going in the wrong direction. I was going further away from home, rather than closer. But, since the bus went in a big circle (as buses tend to do) all I had to do was stay on the bus until it circled around to my destination.
I looked at the bus map and saw that I was in New Mexico. But the stops weren't street names, they were the names of New Mexico towns - and not towns that were close together -- it was like Taos, Truth or Consequences, Roswell, Abuquerque, Farmington, etc. -- towns spread out all across the state. Of course, I was trying to get back to Taos.
I could have gotten off at the first stop and then taken a bus back the other way, but for some reason I didn't want to deal with the waiting, so I thought I'd just stay put and go for the ride.
What I didn't know was that at every stop the bus would park for half an hour or more so that people could go to the 7-11 or Tiger Mart for snacks and then drop in at a package store shack for six packs of beer.
It was never clear for how long the bus would stop. So, you'd get off, go into the 7-11 and be in a constant state of panic because you didn't know if you'd be left behind or not.
One of the package stores was like an ice palace. You walked in and there was crushed ice under foot and freezer cases of crushed ice with the beer bottles pushed down to the tops of their necks so you couldn't see what type of beer it was.
Since the trip was obvously going to take hours, if not days, purchasing beer was a necessity. So I found myself in the ice house, prickly, cold ice under my bare feet, trying to figure out which beer to buy and hoping the bus didn't leave without me.
That's when I woke up.
I wish I would stop having these travelling dreams. Sometimes I'm trying to scale mountains on slippery mud trails, or hacking through jungle vegetation. The trips are always arduous and I always wake up before I've gotten to my destination. I never get to where I'm going to.
But the house dreams I really enjoy. I'm always in a state of wonder when I'm in them. What will the next room be like? Why is there no end to the rooms? Why are they always decorated in different styles? Why is the water always so poetic and gentle and satisfying?
Also -- am I the only one who still dreams about not being able to remember my high school locker combination? Or shows up for class having forgotten there's a test? Or shows up in only a button down shirt or T shirt and no underwear? You'd think at 58, I'd be past all that.


cyradaria said...

I have recurrent water dreams where bridges collapse under me and I swim in hard river currents to get to a river bank.

They say if the action takes place outdoors, the dream has to do with things going on in your life -- work, etc. If the action takes place indoors, it has to do more with your psyche, things internal.

cyradaria said...

Think of this as you thinking abour yourself . . .

"What will the next room be like? Why is there no end to the rooms? Why are they always decorated in different styles?"