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Dreams Part 1

Today, Crosby beach is a far cry from the place of yesteryear. Still tidal, with rippled sands, with flocks of birds, with ships and belches of sand dunes but now it has concrete steps, railings, housing, odd shaped buildings, windmills on the horizon and 100 Anthony Gormley statues anchored in the sand. It’s a grand place and this 9 minute Youtube video by Videoman 1302 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1Z7-RPL15E gives a great idea of what it’s like.

dreams 1I have two recurring dreams. One I’ve had longer than the other and sometimes they merge into one or the second immediately follows the first. For the most part, I can figure them out.  

One definition is: Dreams are successions of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that occur usually involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. I think that summarises my thoughts and feelings of the dreams I about to share. 

From http://www.scienceofrelationships.com

The longest standing one is where I am taking a journey. I know the direction but for whatever reason I can’t seem to find the way. Often, I’m on a familiar hill path and I go down another path only to realise I should be on the path below or above but I’ve forgotten how to reach it. Or, I’m in streets from my youth, knowing there are houses or shops I want to head for but again I’ve forgotten the right roads to take. In another, I am driving and end up going the wrong way on a spaghetti junction that I know by heart. Or it’s a hospital or another building where the corridors and exits and doors and lifts are the same. In effect, all the locations are mazes that I have been through before but which elude me now. It seems obvious to me that I’m trying to work something out. Perhaps I know the answer but I don’t know how to reach it. I don’t often feel panicky in these dreams but I am puzzled and attempt to figure out which road to take.

spag junc 19.05.15

Now in reality, I am constantly losing my way, taking the wrong turn, finding a not-so-short cut, not recognising landmarks, day dreaming and so on. So perhaps this dream is just my mind playing a joke on me.  There was also the time when I worked in a nineteen floor building called the Triad. It had three wings branching out from a central complex on each floor that housed the housekeeping rooms, including toilets. Each area looked the same, each door was in the same postion. Obviously, I wasn’t looking where I was going but on this day I wandered into the gents, ignored the man peeing at the urinal and went into a cubicle. I was unfazed. Did what I had to then washed my hands and left again as the slack jawed man who had zipped up and stood staring at me. I did say, ‘Sorry about that, Terry.’

The second one is being caught in or on the verge of a tsunami. It used to be called a tidal wave. But everything goes still and I sense what is coming, I’m looking for it at the same time as I’m running from it. There may be no time before it hits or there may be lots of time. Then in my dreams I am swept away but I think I survive, or other times when I escape from it or it doesn’t happen. But the sense of impending doom, the fear of a wall of water covering me is real. I don’t know when this dream first occurred but it may be related to incident from my childhood.

I suspect I was about ten years old and at Crosby tidal beach with my parents because there were few people. During the summer and weekends most headed for the beaches at Waterloo, Freshfield or Southport. It was a slice of summer and the grassy sand dunes shimmered and the wind played between the blades.  I don’t remember my younger sister being there but I do remember playing in the sea. I remember swimming, as much as I was able to. I was happily swimming without taking notice of my whereabouts, what direction I was swimming, or how long I had been in the water. When I did look up at my surroundings all I could see were high swells of water which would dip and I could see endless water to the horizon.

sunset crosby 2 19.05.15Wherever I looked grey walls of water raced towards me. I couldn’t touch the ground, so I had to stay afloat with weak arms and cold fear filling my chest, breathing through mouthfuls of water. No ships, no land, no beach, no parents. It was the end of the world. Nothing but a wall of water. How I kept my head, I don’t know but I struggled to turn back and hoped I was swimming in the right direction. I think now that the tide must have been on its way in and maybe it wasn’t as serious as my ten year old self thought but I survived. I’m here to tell the tale.

Today, Crosby beach is a far cry from the place of yesteryear. Still tidal, with rippled sands, with flocks of birds, with ships and belches of sand dunes but now it has concrete steps, railings, housing, odd shaped buildings, windmills on the horizon and 100 Anthony Gormley statues anchored in the sand. It’s a grand place and this 9 minute Youtube video by Videoman 1302 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1Z7-RPL15E gives a great idea of what it’s like.

more statues 19.05.15

With writing, the oft recited phrase is ‘write about what you know’. Surely, it’s the same with dreams: dream about what you know. Two hundred years ago there were few people who would dream about a car or a spaghetti junction because they didn’t know what they were. Unless they were visionaries, of course. If we are the sum of our experiences then our dreams are made up of snippets from birth to the present. Imagine the mind riffling through the brain like fingers riffling through a rolodex seeking the right images, the right emotions, the right sensations from those images for whatever reason.

Roy 19.05.15jpgNow our experiences include what we see or hear on film, or what we read in books. They are second hand experiences but our mind uses them in the same way as our first hand experiences. We are bombarded with details that our sub-concious and our unconscious mind can access with impunity. In our dreams we can’t say ‘don’t look in that box’ because it frightens me, or upsets me, or makes me cry. There is a Roy Orbison song In Dreams which articulates a loss and it never fails to move me.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPqZs7Vl_xg

But there again we now have the phenomenon (I can never spell that word right first time) of lucid dreams.

With lucid dreams the dreamer is aware they are dreaming and conciously reshapes the dream to go where they want: fly to the sun; mix with celebrities or just watch it unfold. So, maybe we don’t need to be visionaries just imaginative. Apparently, the phenomenon had been referred to by Greek philosopher Aristotle who had written: “often when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness which declares that what then presents itself is but a dream”. (From a Wikipedia page on lucid dreams and there’s lots about it on the Internet).

We have a fascination with dreams and are always questioning why we dream. There is so much out there suggesting answers: memory consolidation; emotional regulation; threat simulation; and a plethora of Intenet sites and books offering dream analysis. 

marsha norman dreamsMany people have written about dreams in one form or another. Franz Kafka is known to have been fascinated by dreams, which he felt held great power, both creatively and emotionally. He wrote a short story called A Dream in which Joseph K. is walking through a dimly lit cemetery shrouded in mist when soon he sees someone carving a name on a stone and as he approaches he notices that it is his own name.

In dreams you can right wrongs, visit loved ones long dead. I have woken sobbing: profound joy at seeing and holding my parents; and profound grief at losing them again.

In visions of the dark night

I have dreamed of joy departed-

But a waking dream of life and light

Hath left me broken-hearted.

Ah! what is not a dream by day

To him whose eyes are cast

On things around him with a ray

Turned back upon the past?

That holy dream- that holy dream,

While all the world were chiding,

Hath cheered me as a lovely beam

A lonely spirit guiding.

What though that light, thro’ storm and night,

So trembled from afar-

What could there be more purely bright

In Truth’s day-star?

Edgar Allan Poe

Published inCultural Life

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