Friday, October 01, 2010

The Illusions of Slumber

The fact that everyone dreams is pretty universal, isn’t it? Still, I try never to read too much into the night visions haunting my sleep. What I remember of my dreams is very foggy most of the time. I know there are more than just the few moments I can still recall after waking up. I also know that little things can set off some of the strangest of illusions. The other night, I was dreaming about a race down a desert hill in something of a cardboard racecar. That alone is quite weird. The race, however, ended abruptly as I veered right into a barrel cactus. I braced for impact and threw my hands forward to keep from doing a face plant directly into the cactus. Boy, did my hand feel those needles. Looking at my right hand, I had three-inch needles slicing through my palm. I knew I needed to get these things out of my hand so I ran off to get medical attention – yeah, I could have just pulled them out myself but I was being wimpy. As I was going, I noticed my hand started to swell. Eventually, the swelling had advanced to the point that my fingers disappeared into this throbbing ball of oozing flesh. That’s when I woke up. My hand was very sore in reality. The elementary thought of cause and effect would bend logic to consider the dream was so real that the pain persisted even until I had waked from my slumber. In fact, I was probably sleeping wrong and had lain on my hand causing the pain. The dream was likely the result of this discomfort.

I think, in most cases, we create what we see while we sleep. Most dreams are based on things we were thinking about sometime in the hours leading up to our nocturnal slumber. Or, as in the case of my soapbox derby debacle, it is a result of a pain we’re feeling at the time of the hallucination.

More recently, I dreamed a very vivid and detailed vision. I share it here not for any other reason beyond how vivid the detail and significant the emotions derived from the experience.

Whether I was late to the party or most other guests were early I could not tell. It seemed the small park was full of people, all I would call friends or close family members. I was particularly surprised to find in attendance friends who I hadn’t seen in many years and many family members who had actually already passed from this world. I thought how special the occasion must be to garner such attendees. Still, I had no understanding of the purpose of this wonderful gathering. The feelings of acceptance and love persisted as I paused to speak with various people. I enjoyed handshakes from some and warm embraces from others. Everyone seemed to be in grand spirits for the occasion.

I did not recognize the park where the party is in full swing. Inside a perimeter set by whitewashed wrought iron filigrees and flourishes, the grounds were well manicured with twisting walkways that run parallel to closely trimmed shrubs. Lush cannot begin to describe the labyrinth made by a wonderful mix of common and exotic foliage. All paths, however, seemed to converge in the middle of the grounds where a beautiful waterfall, pond and gazebo stood. There were three fountains with water fanning in all directions spaced through the pond. With rocky outcroppings and lined with various kinds of ferns, the waterway too was manicured with impeccable grace. I noticed on one wood pillion low to the water's surface, a small turtle warming in the fleeting heat of the afternoon sun. There were myriad colors shimmering under the surface as nishikigoi swam in a hypnotic rhythm.

While I was entranced by the beautifully colored carp I realized my watch had started to fall apart. I scrambled to catch the pieces before I would lose them in the water below. How did they fit all these parts into such a small timepiece? My hands were overflowing with springs, cogs, gears and ornamental finery. I noticed there was just too much for one person to handle and sought help from those around me. Although they looked at me with sympathetic eyes, no one moved to my assistance. As I began to feel overwhelmed, I dropped a couple pieces into the shallows near the gazebo. I needed to retrieve these and bent down to reach them. As I picked up one piece, I would drop one or two others. My situation became desperate. I didn’t want to misplace even one part. I had hope I could still repair what was being lost.

As I turned for help from those who were near me, they seemed to move away from me. The sympathy that first displayed in their eyes was replaced by a cold stare of indifference. It was at this point I felt a sincere loss and the heaviness of despair. I could not give up but there was no chance for me to retain this treasure.

In the midst of this hopeless turmoil, I woke. The clock read 3:30.

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