The Ledge Dream

A vivid dream struck me when I was in the kitchen making my coffee this morning. Impossibly intense, I rushed into the other room to remember and record it. Honestly, I don’t know how much was dream, imagination filling in gaps, or a partially remembered television show or movie.

Following a path, I jogged through a forest of thick, tall trees, like redwood and sequoia. Mists and low gray fog kept everything cool, dark, and quiet. Something tripped me. As I fell, I tried catching myself, and spun backwards, flailing to grab anything to keep me upright. I broke into a circle of sunlight. As I wondered why that was, I heard crashing and then realized I was falling over a cliff.

Thinking that I wanted to go face first, I twisted my torso around. One foot was still on the ground. Looking ahead, I saw crashing waves. Knowing that I couldn’t go back, I shoved hard with my foot, hoping to launch myself out over the waves and away from the cliff.

A wind caught me, slamming me back into the cliff face. I hit with my left side. Grunting, I spotted a root sticking out, and lunged for it. Missing, I crashed onto rock. Pain soaked me. I couldn’t move and thought I’d surely broken many things and was on the verge of death, but the hurts subsided. When I sat up, a hard, salt-laced wind smashed my face. Squinting against it, I looked out over a sunlit body of gray water. I thought, Pacific.

It looked like late afternoon. I was on a flat ledge about twenty feet long and eight feet wide. Past it was a sheer drop to the riotous sea hundreds of feet below. Placing it against my knowledge of heights from working in a tall building, I guessed I was about fifteen stories high. The top from which I’d fallen was about twenty feet above my head. I wondered if I could climb back up there. I didn’t think I’d survive or be rescued if I stayed where I was. I’d been traveling alone. Nobody was expecting me. No one would miss me for days. My car was parked at least a mile away because I’d been walking and running, enjoying the cool, fresh air. I hadn’t seen anyone else.

I stood. Growing fierce, the wind knocked me back into the cliff. I worried that I was going to be blown off the ledge and looked for something to hold onto. That’s when I saw a body on the ledge’s other end. After some time to stomach the thought, I approached it enough steps to see that they’d been dead a while and was mostly decayed. From the flapping remnants of clothing and hair, and the jewelry I noticed, I took it to be a white woman with graying red hair.

Wondering if she’d fallen as I had, I crept closer. She was dressed in a sheer, flowering orange and yellow skirt, white blouse, and tannish jacket. Dark spots blotted her clothes like a Rorschach test. One shoe was missing. A pair of broken sunglasses were beside her head. I thought that she’d been bloodied when she’d fallen, but it was also possible that she’ been killed first and tossed over the side. Both ideas disturbed me.

I didn’t see any purse or wallet. I didn’t think there’d be identification in her clothes. I didn’t want to look. The wind blew her clothes around. I avoided seeing her too closely.

Moving back and flattening against the cliff, I checked myself for injuries. I had none. Checking the cliff above me again, I saw roots sticking out. I didn’t trust them. I’d tried using roots to climb hills before. They tend to snap off without warning. If that happened, I’d probably end up in the sea. I didn’t think I’d survive the fall.

I didn’t want to stay there. I had to find a way to get out of there. Hunting toe and hand holds, I started to climb, and then saw an irregularity in the cliff above the body. Reluctant to get too close to her, I slipped toward the space and saw that it looked like a mud-splattered door. I stood, looking at the door, and then the body, thinking how strange a door in that cliff was, growing almost certain, given its placement, that the body’s existence there was related to the door. A door meant a building, though. I hadn’t seen any buildings above. If there was a building, it was underground.

The setting sun had gone behind a fog bank on the horizon. It was going to get dark soon and already nippier. The wind was a constant, growling force.

I was in a quandary. I didn’t want to stay on the ledge. I didn’t think I could climb up the cliff in the dark. I might be able to reach the door, but the body’s presence made me dubious about using the door. Forced to move because of the dimming light, bolder and more desperate, I went over to the door, regarded it. Its bottom was level with my head. What looked like iron handles thrust in cement were to the door’s right side, leading up from the ledge. The iron was old and rusted. Some holds were missing or twisted and broken.

Lacking choices, I said good-bye to the woman, promising her that I’d lead others to her, and struggled up the holds. They were narrow, cut into my hands, and were too small for my feet. The wind had worsened and was screaming in my ears. My fingers were numbed with cold. I was sure that if I let go, I was done. I kept telling myself, “Don’t let go, don’t let go.”

Getting my shoulders even with the handle, I contorted myself to get a grip on it. Glancing down, I gaped into the growing dusk.

The woman was gone. I thought, the wind must have blown her off. I didn’t know if that was possible, but what else could have happened?

Up close, I could tell the door was metal. Holding onto the handle with one hand, I banged on it with the other. I barely heard the noise over the wind. I turned the handle. It went easily, but I couldn’t pull it open. Either the handle didn’t work, or the wind was keeping it closed.

That’s where memory ended, with me hanging onto the handle as darkness fell and a salty wind assaulting me. In reflection, I wondered about how much of this felt like a metaphor for my life, that I felt like I’d arrived somewhere by accident, and was now trapped, without choices.

Or, maybe, it was just a half-remembered television show or movie, infused into my imagination and dreams.

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Monday’s Theme Music

I know multiple versions of today’s song, but a little background to coming to it.

I dreamed of ear wax and getting rid of this morning. That apparently opened a direct channel to the mid-sixties in my head (that’s the 1960s, boys and girls, in case, you know, you were wondering…) because I was channeling sixties music this morning. Some early Beatles, Beach Boys, Lovin’ Spoonful, Richie Valens, Little Rascals, Monkees, Paul Revere and the Raiders, the Supremes, Dave Clark 5, Stevie Wonder… Whole songs didn’t playing. A snippet would begin, I’d identify it, and the stream moved onto another song.  You can see from the list that it was mostly American pop, with a little Motown thrown in.

After a bit of this, “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone” settled into the stream. Although I enjoy the Sex Pistols’ version, in keeping with the stream, I chose the Monkee’s 1966 version. You should watch the video just for a taste of 1960s TV pop America.

The song’s sentiment, though, resonates, which is probably why the stream settled on it: “You’re tryin’ to make your mark in society, you’re using all the tricks that you used on me.” I like that declaration: I know what you did, and we’re done.

The Direction Dream

It was funny, to me. 

Dreamed I got ear wax out of my ear (where else, right?), about a quarter-inch diameter ball of it. Said to self, “Self, my, that’s a lot of ear wax.” Then I ran around looking for somewhere to dispose of it. I was in a hurry to catch a train (or a bus – it seemed like a moving target).

The ball of ear wax kept growing. I continued to notice that, show it to others, and say, “That’s a lot of ear wax.” I realized that I was often saying that to myself in the dream, and laughed.

Meanwhile…the dream filled with people, family, friends, previous co-workers, and strangers. Some night of something had just ended. We were looking around and rejoicing that we’d come out well. Everything was in good shape. I finally disposed of the ear wax, which was basketball sized. In a weird epiphany in the dream, I saw that the ear wax was my past.

Someone noticed some vomit on the floor. The scene became a little CSI oriented. Questions were asked about who and when. The consensus was a cat had puked but the identity remained a mystery. The bigger mystery was, who is going to clean it up.

Somehow that was handled. Leaping forward, I was well-dressed and ready to travel. Had shiny black shoes on, and briefcase in my hand. But the area was chaos. No one knew where to go. Separating and isolating myself from others, I scanned the situation and decided on a direction.

I headed that way. Others wanted to know where I was going. “Out of here,” was my reply. “I know the way out. Come with me, if you need to leave.”

Others said, “Can I come with you?”

Amused, I shrugged. “Sure, but I’m moving fast.”

Dressed in a suit and overcoat, suitcase in one hand, briefcase in the other, I took off, walking fast through the crowd. Others, a knot of eight people followed me. As I dodged others, I kept looking ahead and refining where I was going. Fewer people were around. At this point, I was on a train station platform. Others behind me said, “Where are we? Do you know where you’re going?”

I smiled, because I knew where I was, and where I was going. It was all very affirming. My last thought was, I’m leaving the past.

Dream ended.

The Healer Dream

The healer dream followed the wrestling dream last night.

The wrestling dream was about me taking another’s place in a wrestling match. Throughout the dream, I mocked myself for being part of this crazy scheme where I would wrestle a high-schooler. I was doing so to keep the team from forfeiting. My match was either going to be first or second. I told myself and everyone else that I had no chance, that what we were doing was illegal, and that we were going to be caught, humiliated, and disqualified. In the end, I handed someone my watch, some expensive and exotic time piece, went and dressed for my match, and then waited, learning at the last second that my match would be the second one.

Dream end.

The healer dream was brief. I walked into a room. The room reminded me of a classroom, with desks, windows that looked out onto a lawn and playground, but I have no idea where it was. I don’t know why I was there. A woman dressed in a dark blue sundress in there told me she was sick, and then rattled off her health complaints. Brunette, with auburn shoulder-length hair, she looked tired and pale.

“I can fix that,” I said. Then as I touched different places on her, I would say something about infusing her with healing energy. For example, I touched her shoulders and said, “Infuse your shoulders with healing energy. Infuse your joints with healing energy and strength. Infuse your collagen, ligaments, tendons, and muscles with healing energy and strength. Infuse your bones with healing energy and strength.”

Although I did this all over her, it was done in a couple minutes. She stood up and said, “I feel great. All my pain is gone.” I nodded, like, yeah, that’s what I expected. That’s what I told her she was going to do. I was quite casual about it.

A man had entered while I was doing this with her. He was wearing clay-white walking shorts with a gold, short-sleeved shirt, sweat socks and activity shoes. He seemed in his fifties, with sandy hair cut short but casual, bangs across his forehead. Clean-shaved, he looked healthy enough, tan.

“Do me, do me,” he said.

I didn’t think he needed it, but he’d asked. Shrugging, I started healing him as I had her. When I did, he squatted down and grinned, continuing to grin as I healed her as I had him. He seemed very happy and satisfied with what I was doing to him.

Dream end.

Monday’s Theme Music

I began as a ZZ Top fan in high school art class in 1973. I introduced them to my friend, who became my girlfriend and then my wife when Tres Hombres came out that year. “La Grange” become a song that had her reaching for the volume knob and twisting it hard right whenever it came on.

I’ve seen them in concert three times. Today’s song came about from a dream last night. Multi-tasking in the dream, one sequence had me trying to feed the cats. They were going nuts for the food that I was offering them. I was trying to keep them out of it while putting the food in bowls for them. Meanwhile, a dozen interruptions were transpiring.

Anyway, from that feeding sequence, I started singing to them, “Gimme all your kibble, all your hugs and kisses, too,” because that’s how it seemed in the dream. My music stream picked it up and started cranking out “Gimme All Your Lovin'” from Eliminator (1983).

Never seen the video before, though. I was overseas during those years in places that usually didn’t have television available. Kind of a cheesy video. But it was the 1980s.

 

The Path Dream

Just did a walk-about writing break, and thought about one of last night’s dreams.

I was helping a man build a path. We each had a length of nylon rope. What I thought of as his rope was yellow and mine was white. The white rope was in my left hand, and the yellow rope was in my right. It was reversed for him. We were using the ropes to lay out the path. It was a long path, and were squatting down to do this.

So, weird, the path already existed in my mind, because he was laying the rope on a long and straight stretch of black cement. On either end was a platform that people were to use to arrive and depart.

Others were watching from grassy areas on either side of me. The man would shift the ropes one way and then the other as I followed his lead. I didn’t understand why he was doing this. “How’s it going?” an onlooker asked me.

“Slow,” I said. “I don’t understand what he’s doing. One, the path already exists. Why does he need another one? Two, why was he trying different paths? I don’t see what the difference he makes? Why doesn’t he make a decision? As part of that, I don’t understand why the path that’s already there doesn’t satisfy him. Three, shouldn’t the path, if you were going to make it, connect the platforms that people were expected to use?”

The onlooker said, “I don’t know.”

That dream ended.

Of course, thinking about it during my walk, I realized that I’m the other man. I have the path establish but doubt keeps me looking for another path. Why, I keep asking myself, just as I do in the dream? Clearly, it’s because I doubt the path, even though it’s already established.

 

A Running Dream

Oh, the nights flowed with wild, wild dreams. They remain vivid in memory, but I don’t want to walk through dreamland, just visit a little niche of it.

I needed to get home in a hurry. I was miles away. I decided that the best thing that I could do is run.

A light drizzle was falling. I started running beside the busy, winding two lane highway. At first, cars were passing me. Irritated, I pushed myself to go faster. “I can go faster than them,” I told myself, even though they were going thirty-five to forty miles an hour. Soon, I was keeping up with the cars. I saw people in the vehicles watching and recording my running with their cellphones.

Ahead was a large sweeper. I’d been running on the berm left of the white fog line. The berm and shoulder disappeared; there was a twenty-five foot drop-off. Looking ahead and thinking about it, I decided I had no choice. Reaching the drop-off, I dropped to the lower level like a video-game character, and kept running. I knew that the people in the cars were wondering what’d happened to me, and grinned as I ran up a slope back onto the berm when it returned.

By then, the road’s grade increased as we began ascending a mountain. I can’t keep up, I thought, and then rejected that. Believing I could, I pushed myself to go faster. The road’s speed limit had increased to fifty-five, but as I ran up the hill, I passed the cars. Grinning and sweating, I arrived home.

It wasn’t home, but Mom’s home, where I was visiting with family. My wife was there and we were in a hurry because I needed to make flight arrangements and leave. That’s another part of the dream, though.

I woke up thinking about all of this. It was five ten in the morning. A hungry cat had done his duty and made me get up to do my duty. As I fed him (and another), the dream replayed in my mind, and the Boomtown Rats began singing, “I Don’t Like Mondays”. I went back to bed, back to sleep, and on to other dreams.

 

The Family & Dogs Dreams

After dreaming about games, weather, and being back in the military, my dreamscape rotated to family and dogs. None of the people in these two dreams, except my wife, are anyone from my life.

In the first dream, I was a white man in a black family. I was an adult and I’m not sure how I came to be part of that family. I liked them but felt a little awkward with them. Mom, a smiling, confident, attractive woman, kept reassuring me that I was part of the family. The others agreed, but with less enthusiasm. I was always there when we ate and watched television, but was normally sitting off by myself.

Then Mom announced we were buying a new car. Cars were my thing so I was enthusiastic. That pleased Mom. She let me led the car-shopping expedition. We ended up buying a blue BMW M4 Cabrio. Mom made the choice, and it surprised me. It’s not a family-oriented car. I asked her with astonishment, “Are you sure?” Mom, always relaxed and in-control, said, “Yes, Michael, and you can drive it.”

My next dream found my wife and I taking care of dogs for several people during a holiday. Quite chaotic, I ended up driving another guy’s car. The car belong to my friend, Dominic. I was also taking care of his dog, Drew. Drew was a big, goofy, not-very-bright white canine who was always loping off to do something. There were several other dogs, but the were always where they were supposed to be, and not getting into trouble.

Lots of things were going on. It was a holiday weekend. We had guests and a big dinner party, the weather was unpredictable, and the dogs kept running off. All but Drew would return. I’d always need to look for Drew.

The big meal ended and we were cleaning up. I had a huge, clear bowl. It’d been used for spaghetti with sauce. Now it was a mess. I kept scrubbing it, per my style, to get it clean. I finally was almost finished

I was baffled about where my car was. Drew disappeared again, and I had to find him. I was exasperated because nobody else was helping.

The dream paused. I said, “Okay, everyone is accounted for except Quinn.” Quinn is my real-existence cat who passed away last November. “I haven’t seen Quinn in a while.” I worried about him being okay. Then I remembered that he’d passed away.

I couldn’t find Drew. One of our guests said that she thought Drew was at his home. I decided to go out to confirm that. As I went to leave, I saw that my wife was cleaning up the house after the dinner, but she was using the big, clear spaghetti bowl that I’d clean as a trash can. That upset me. I told her that I’d cleaned it. She brushed off my concerns.

I drove Dominic’s car out to his place to check to see if Drew was there. I felt bad about using his car, which was a 1960s muscle car, but it was too vague to remember exactly what it was. The car used a lot of gas, and I was worried about using all of his gas. His place was a mixed-used community with a train station, supermarket, fitness center, and townhouses. I went to Dominic’s townhouse.

The townhouse was large and luxurious, with a number of sprawling staircases. The family was home. They’d just gotten back. So was Drew, except he ran off when I went in. There were several other dogs. I decided to walk them while looking for Drew. One dog was very intelligent. I said, “Do you want to go for a walk?” The dog immediately went to the door. I said, “Let’s use the other door.” He turned, went up the steps to the other door.

We left through that door to take a walk and find Drew, but we ended up in the fitness center. The fitness center had a lounge where fit, attractive people were watching the news on television. Through glass walls, I could see into the fitness center where rows of people were exercising.

Finding another way out, I took the dogs for a walk. When I went outside, I found Drew cavorting around the lawns. He’d gotten dirty, of course. Seeing Dominic, I greeted him and chatted. I wasn’t sure if Drew had been at our house during the weekend and was trying to clarify how Drew was at his home. Dominic waved off my questions and concerns, telling me, “Drew is fine. Drew is Drew.”

I walked the dogs across a park and remembered that I had Dominic’s car and had forgotten to tell him.

After walking the dogs, I came across Dominic’s family. They were under the building, in  a plaza, relaxing on a blanket and looking out on the scenery. The plaza was open on all four sides. Mammoth pillars held up the train station and the buildings. From where they were, the trains could be watched as they arrived and departed. Past that was a rolling green countryside

I said, “You know, this isn’t actually a bad place. It’s got everything you need right here.”

Dominic’s wife said, “You know, we were just talking about it, and thought that this is the perfect place for people like you.”

I said, “Who are people like me?”

That’s where the dream ended.

A Doozy of A Dream

I found myself once again in the military, a fact that made me sigh when I awoke. Come on, man. How many times will I return to the military in my dreams?

In my thirties, I was attending a special camp, for elite people. My friend, LR, a colonel, was the commander. We were all wearing our standard Air Force office blues, dark blue pants with a light blue shirt.

I was happy to be there, in the dream. The facilities were a large field surrounded by woods, all of which surrounded a modern complex. I was driving the silver Audi 100 that we had when we lived in Germany. After parking it, I went into the complex.

LR greeted me with a handshake when I entered a building. We chatted a bit, and then there was an agenda briefing, which was essentially that we had guests coming, there would be a dinner, and we were all to make a good impression. Afterwards, we were released to get ready.

Going back out to the Audi to get a few things, I ran into LR. I’d parked the Audi head-in. He told me that they preferred to have the cars backed in, and asked if I could do that for him. Of course, I could.

First, I needed to use a toilet. I discovered I had mild diarrhea. Oh, boy, just what was needed. I returned to the Audi to re-park it and get more items, but forgot to move the car because I needed to use the toilet again. I ran into LR. He reminded me that I said I’d back my car into the space. I told him that I’d forgotten. Then I said, “Stupid of me.” I was irritated that I hadn’t re-parked.

LR said, “No, no, it’s just a small thing. You forgot, that’s all.”

I found a ditch set up with holes in a bench to use as a latrine. After doing my business, I went back to move the car, but I had to use the toilet again. This time, I couldn’t get to a restroom, and crapped my pants. Horrified, I decided that the only thing I could do was take my clothes off, clean myself off, and put on fresh clothes.

Taking my clothes off, I found another ditch set up as a latrine. Someone had put a plastic bag over the hole, though, not to block it, but hanging down, as if to catch it. It puzzled me. But naked, with feces smeared on part of my backside, I decided that I didn’t have time to do anything but use the hole as it was set up.

As I settled into that, the first visitors, a group of ten women, arrived. The gate they were to use was right beside the latrine I was using, but the gate was locked, and they couldn’t enter. Humiliated, I explained that I was naked and having some bowel issues, and I couldn’t unlock the gate. They were sympathetic. More women arrived. I was mortified but also couldn’t help but laugh at the situation.

By then, sixteen women had arrived. The gate still wasn’t open, so some of them sat beside me in the latrine. None of them looked at me, though. At last, the gate was opened. They left.

The dream shifted. By now, I was cleaned up and in a fresh uniform. I was still in good spirits despite what’d happened. I ran into the first group of ten women inside the facilities, where we were queuing for drinks and dinner. They asked me how I was, etc., and then, as a joke, pointed out the restrooms, in case I needed them. I had a good laugh with them about that.

The dream ended.

***

Typing this one out was beneficial. When I finished, I realized that I was worrying over nothing. I was back in the military, of course, because that’s where I’d felt most comfortable. There was order, structure, and accountability in the military. Everything seemed clear and straightforward.

Fascinating how the mind can work.

 

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