Friday, September 01, 2006

Recurring Places and Themes in Dreams

Well this morning I woke up with those tell-tale signs of impending cold-type illness contracted from the hazards of being a public school teacher. Along with that, I awoke from a dream that was one of several "recurring" ones I've had over the course of my life. They're never exactly the same, but I have had a lot of dreams where places that exist only in my dreams reoccur or in which certain themes reoccur. Many of them were restricted to childhood dreams, but some into adulthood as well. When they reoccur, it is rare and often years apart.

The one this morning, I can't remember all the details anymore, but the recurring part is that somehow I ended up in this small mall that doesn't really exist. In my dreams, however, there is a small mall (like The Citadel or something, or rather, maybe one wing of it) but it exists either on Security Blvd. in Security or near Main in Fountain. Why on earth every now and again would this non-existent mall end up in my dreams, I don't know, but it does. Not often, but it has come back on more than one occasion, which makes it interesting. I could give you detail of all the stores, which do not really exist in the real world either, and the layout of the place. And when I first woke up, it was so real that for a moment I doubted if it were not really real but I had just 'forgotten'. Because I had been there many times before and knew a great deal about it - the escalators, the secret passageway into a back elevator, the old chandelier in a fancy department store, the great bookstore that had discarded library books that were special and dad and I loved. Sometimes it was actually a library, and there was a spiraling stair case down a tower to the kids' section, and at the top of the tower was an observatory. Sometimes this library was not in the mall but somewhere else like a campus and I had to sneak to get the books I wanted and into the secret parts of the library as it was highly guarded and had heavy electronic security. Sometimes the mall would be bigger and had long curving hallways. In this mall, it was not located near here, but it was dark and had a game room with one of those gumball machines that gave really special prizes (although I can't remember what they were). And in that big mall, it was always a struggle to find the exit without getting locked in and trapped, and if you got out, then you couldn't find your car because the parking lots had literally moved, and so I would end up trying to walk/run home for about 20 miles, again feeling in a hurry, and trying to make shortcuts through neighborhoods. None of these streets really exist, but I could describe every storefront, draw a map of the streets, the houses, where certain people lived along the way, etc. But it was one of those dreams that you never get home, it just ends before then, probably by waking you up due to frustration and repetition - getting stuck in a repeating cycle that never progresses.

Another dream that seemed very real was a recurring one I had as a kid. This dream was probably the most recurring and most realistic of all my dreams. It was so real that for years I thought it was indeed real until one day I actually thought about it for some reason and realized it was impossible - but I had to actually reason it out to conclude it never could have happened. You see, this dream involves the floor duct in my childhood bedroom (for the heating system.) I vividly remember as a child getting out of bed at night, taking the vent cover off ( which is maybe 12 by 4 inches), and crawling into the duct (which in reality is only 3-4 inches across in many places). The duct curled back tightly under my room to underneath my closet where it opened into a room about the same size as the closet and there were many other paths and turns, too. I cannot remember any longer the details of what I did there, but there were creatures or people that I met and talked to. I believe I did shrink to get there, and the people/creatures were also small. There were notes pinned on the duct walls on yellowed paper. At the time, I could draw a map for you of the ductworks I traveled through in my dreams in precise detail. I was sure I had been there, until realizing it must have been only dreamt.

Another place of dreams related to the closet - my closet was above a staircase, so it had a steep ramp on its right side. In my dreams, I could climb up the ramp, push through a secret door, and enter a fantastic secret library that contained anything I wanted to know. When I got older, it became a library with secret undetectable computers that contained all knowledge and did anything I wanted them to.

Another recurring place dream - I used to dream long ago that I would be driving through my neighborhood and when I got to about where I happen to live now (about 1-2 miles from my childhood home), all the streets would change name and direction completely and become a foreign place. Also, I used to have a recurring dream about a secret place found by following the railroad tracks south from this place (where the old Safeway is). You could access the secret place only by following a man in a black top hat driving a push cart - you'd have to run after him, and you'd end up in a beautiful secluded forest glade type area. Sometimes the push cart man would chase you away or chase after you so you couldn't get in or he'd get too far ahead and the forest glade would never appear. Sometimes it was the full moon you followed to get there.

The last recurring place dream I can remember right now is one about an elementary school playground. My real elementary playground was a big gravel yard enclosed by chain link fence. In my recurring dream, the playground was also a big gravel yard enclosed by chain link, but was not intended as the same place and did not look quite the same as the real one. In my dreams, the playground was filled to the top of the chain link fence with gravel and had dunes even higher. The only exception was a trench that was a few feet wide that followed the fence just inside its perimeter all the way around. We kids would hide in the trench unless we were running stealthily from dune to dune to try to get to the only feature on the playground - a downed plane - a big one, decaying and partly buried in the sand. But we were always either trying to get there or hide from people who were there.

As for recurring themes in dreams,

I do remember having dreams of flying, but never flying fast, always more like swimming or floating in the air.

I also would have dreams of running as hard as I could but moving in slow motion and never gaining ground. This happened more in the days when I was a runner in real life.

I also had dreams of finding out right before final exams that I had registered for a class and forgotten about it and so had not attended it all semester. So now, I was desperately trying to pass the class by acing the final. But, in the dream, I was racing to where the final was supposed to be and when I would get there, there would be a sign on the door saying it had moved all the way across campus and I would run again and again trying to get there but never actually getting there. This one would occasionally happen even for years after I graduated from college, in fact, I don't think I had that dream while I was actually in college, but only after.

I also (only as an adult) would have dreams of my teeth crumbling. It didn't hurt and I wasn't bothered in my dreams, but rather I was fascinated by the feel of the teeth crumbling in my mouth and would playing with them with my tongue, which only made them crumble further. That one was also very realistic so that I at times had doubts that at least some of my teeth had not really crumbled.

Now, some of these dreams have had meaning - such as the teeth dream, which I felt had meaning, possibly it meant change or evolution in my life, neither good or bad, and dreams about running in place or final exams or streets changing related to stress, being too busy, wanting more control, etc.

Some seemed to be living out fantasies - such as the secret library behind the ramp in my closet. (In a later version, it was a secret computer room on my college campus).

But some apparently existed for their own-selves - such as the forest glade or the duct dream - and I tend to wonder if maybe, in some out-of-body kind of way, there really wasn't some reality to that duct one - in an unreal kind of way, of course.

The most 'real' reaction I ever had to dream comes from one I don't even remember. But once, when I was in junior high, I awoke from a dream, knowing and positive that it was time to get up and get ready for school and mom would come to wake me in a few minutes. But I was wide awake, so I got up in the dark (it was winter) and got dressed, went to the bathroom, etc., to get ready for school, and when I came out of the bathroom I saw on a clock it was only about 12:30 p.m. I was shocked because I had been certain it was time to get up and go to school. I had another 'real' one in junior high I don't remember anymore - in it, my homeroom and math teacher had said something I can no longer recall. I didn't remember the dream at all, until one day I was sitting in class and I suddenly remembered what she had said and began to think it really strange and puzzling, finally realizing she could not have said it and I had dreamt it - but somehow subconsciously I had been operating for some time in my daily class life as if she had said it - very strange, that one, and wish I could remember what she had said in my dream, some nonsense thing.

Well maybe I'll think of more later. But maybe others will blog about their dreams, too!

No comments: