Monday, July 5, 2010

On Dreams

I’ve heard a few people say they don’t dream or they don’t remember their dreams when they do. I find it hard to believe that a person simply doesn’t dream and I also find it difficult to believe that a person would not remember at least one dream in their lifetime. But I am no professional on the dreaming mind so who am I to say that it isn’t possible. All I have to go by is my own dreams. I know there are times that I can’t remember a single thing once I wake up, but more often than not that dream is just beyond the border of my mind. I imagine it as similar to a cosmic explosion. While we’re sleeping every part is intact but if we wake suddenly the dream bursts into millions of little fragments. You try desperately to put the pieces back together but there are always parts that will  be lost in outer space. But if you wake slowly, the dream doesn’t fragment. Instead your unconscious mind begins to mesh with your consciousness and you remember what good or bad dream you might have been having. This is not the case all of the time. We can have nightmares that wake us so dramatically  yet every image is as clear and vivid as if you were still living it.

When I was five or six, I had this dream that to this day is still as clear as if I just had it yesterday or so vivid that I could have lived it. Like those memories permanently etched into your brain, creating the stuff that autobiographies and memoirs are made of.

So this dream I had as a kid is not a recurring dream because I have never had it again since that day, but I do remember most pieces of it. I am sure the 30 years since may have marred a little of the memory but the essence is there. My mom and I were shopping at the thrift store. I didn’t want to be in there so kept hiding under the clothes racks. In the basement of this store they kept all the books. Now that was my favourite place to go when we were there. I tried to go down the stairs but something kept pulling me back. An unseen force seemed to be calling to me to go outside. While mom was busy perusing the newest arrivals I slipped out the front door and proceeded to walk down the street. At the edge of the building was a vacant lot of overgrown weeds. When I peered into the lot, there was a baby brontosaurus. I continued down the street past another row of buildings to another vacant lot. In this lot there was another brontosaurus. This one bigger than the last but not by much. I peered back the way I had come and the baby was peeking out around the corner watching me. He looked sad. Like he had lost something very dear to him. The second dinosaur also looked sad but there was something mysterious in those eyes. As if she knew something but it was something she did not quite understand. I walked past but never took my eye off of the middle sized beast. She watched me disappear behind another row of buildings. I felt myself being pulled back. To see the other two again. To help maybe, or perhaps just curious, but my feet kept me moving forward. When I glanced back, both of dinosaurs were watching me, only now the baby had joined the second. I rounded the corner of the next set of buildings and froze. Before me was the largest brontosaurus I had ever seen. And this one looked angry. I backed up slowly as the dinosaur came closer. The largest was following me and when I backed up past the smaller two, they also began following me. I looked over my shoulder looking for help but there was no one. The street was completely deserted except for cars parked at an angle. The door of the thrift store suddenly appeared and through the glass I could still see my mom looking at the clothes. I slipped in the door and went to the basement and hid among the stacks of books behind a large bookshelf. I sat and waited. Wondering if anyone would come for me. Near the basement ceiling was a narrow window. Outside the window I could see the pacing feet of the giant beasts. Back and forth, back and forth.

The building began to shake. Sections of the ceiling fell to the floor in front of me. I hugged my knees to my chest and waited, expecting to be lifted out of my hiding place. The floor shook, the stairs began to crumble and the sky opened up.

And then I woke up.

I have thought about this dream so many times over the years. Always remembering but never understanding. Is it true that every dream is our subconscious trying to tell us something. If I read it now I can pull a lot of metaphors from my life to date, but what did this mean to a little girl who had barely experienced anything in life? Was it a premonition and that’s why it means something now? Or maybe as I wrote I reinvented parts that weren’t there initially to make it mean something.

But again that is the subconscious working its magic.


  1. I don't remember dreams from before when I was little but I do remember dreams from a few days before. I remember my dream yesterday... not that I can tell my husband.


  2. What a fascinating dream !!!! Well written and insightful


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