What I Dreamed Last Night

It’s hazy, really hazy, yet  strangely vivid too.  Rampaging horses, fear of death, packed belongings that turned out to not be the right belongings, searching and not finding friends, making new acquaintances who disappeared and reappeared for both good and evil.

Start with the maelstrom in my active mind while my body searched for the comfortable position, aching shoulder and neck, restless legs, sheets scrambled like eggs.  The ending of the dream as the whirling images lock in is clearer but I don’t want to start there, because there was a trick, a twist, a frightening turn of events, as if my brain was a movie house showing an old Brian DePalma offering–things are not what they seem.

The first thing I remember is feeling a heightened state of fear.  Something was happening in the clutter around the “me” of the dream. Maybe I was on the deck of a boat–a ship– crowded with noisy passengers surrounded by boxes and suitcases, shoving and pushing at each other. I am painting such a ship in Real Life from a story written by someone else.

Now I’ve dumped myself smack in the middle.  I wander through the throng, losing sight of my own belongings,  catching the face of someone I know who smiles in a friendly, but distracted sort of way, then she’s gone and my sense of danger increases.  Something bad is happening.  And I wake up, relieved to find myself in my own bed.

Drifting back and I am on land but there is a crowd still, more roiling than before, with shouting, screaming, pushing, trampling too I think. There are  new strong powers-to-be here–I think Nazis– Some one tells me to pack, we need to leave quickly.  So I pack the little antique washstand from my grandmother’s house.  It’s small and I can’t get everything I want to bring with me into it.  I have to weigh the merits of each and decide.  At some point I find myself in a huge room standing next to the washstand which is overloaded, and despite the fact it has casters, I know I won’t be able to push it on a long journey.  We’re going on this journey.  Everyone in this dream and if we don’t something awful with happen.

But then the dilemma of taking my life’s treasures with me is no longer a factor.   Over a loudspeaker I hear that before we will be released we must go through a trial of stampeding horse, but someone reassures me it isn’t as bad as it sounds.  There is a western grandstand built around us and if we can climb high enough on the wooden structure we should be able to avoid the worst.  I rummage through my washstand looking for small pieces of my life to jam into pockets, and find they’ve been stolen.  I want to search more methodically, but there’s no time and I scramble up the bleachers seats to a high spot.

There are people all around, everyone changing their mind about the best place to be.  At the top I can look over to the outside of the arena and see herds of spotted horses galloping toward us.  The gates below open and the horses rush in and while the bleachers shake, I feel hopeful that nothing will collapse and yet people are still scrabbling around me and when I look at where they’ve been, I see that the bleacher seats are winding away from the structure, leaving gaping holes in the grandstand itself.  As more panicked people come toward the top, the wood edifice begins to sway and more horses thunder into the arena and more victims fall to the ground to be crushed.

I’m trying to recognize those who are in charge. They’ve seemed to morph into Nazi-Cowboys now and one old man in a stetson and an iron cross takes my hands and tells me not to worry.  He leads me up a middle aisle and as we ascend, all the rows of seats below fall away.   He pushes me down on a beach and leaves me there and the scene around me spirals into purples and reds and…

It was vivid, this dream.  More than I can convey here.  I think maybe I’ll work on my emergency-disaster kit today.  The last time I attended to it was 1987.  You think that canned food is still okay?

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