Dark and Stormy Dreams

Last night was a serene, cool night but wild storms were on the dream menu.

One dream began with me outside, on a worn but mostly green hillock. I think I was in a park, as copses of trees grew around open spaces and statues.

Although bright afternoon blue associated with summer was overhead, dark clouds gathered, moving in like they were answering a whistle. People, including me, were anxious. Talking persisted all around me. All were strangers, though, and I couldn’t understand exactly what they were saying.

I was thinking that I needed to get inside and safe before the storm broke but I was worried about my friends and family. I was also puzzled; I didn’t see any of them but I was certain that they’d been with me. Looking for them, I became frantic as the temperature dropped and the clouds darkened into a fresh charcoal briquette darkness.

I started walking fast. Others were running. Growing drumming like a drum and bugle corp was approaching announced the storm’s beginning. Lightning licked from north to south in long and spectacular prolonged, brilliant slashes, captivating and frightening me. With a sharp suddenness, a wind howled through, knocking me over. After rolling and tumbling, I struggled against the wind to stand.

I heard rain hammering the ground. A deluge like a fire hose was being sprayed began. As lightning struck trees and thunder shook the air and explosions boomed, the wind tossed and slammed me, eventually shoving me against a tree trunk. Arching with pain, soaked and cold, I managed to hang onto the tree as the wind tore my clothes and hair. I was shivering with cold and fear.

With lightning striking everywhere around me, I thought, I can’t stay here. I need to get out of here. Nothing was visible for the heavy rain and dim light. I didn’t know where to go. Desperate for movement, I struck out blindly.

The wind drove me forward and then lifted me. I tried grabbing the ground but the wind took me on a ride toward the trees. As I spun and spotted the looming branches, I was sure that I was going to be impaled and killed, but the wind carried me above the trees.

In seconds, I was out of the storm. The wind calmed but still carried me. Feeling its energy dissipating, I was sure I was going to plummet to the Earth and die. As I looked down to see where I’d land and  what I could do about it, I realized that I was over the storm, and flying above it. 

A cat hissing awoke me then. Scrambling out of bed to confront the situation, I saw that Boo was telling Papi that he couldn’t come in through the pet door. Boo ran out of the room and down the hall and Papi sallied in. Since I was up, I went to pee and think about the vivid dream, as my mind stayed wrapped in it.

It’d been a shockingly vivid dream.

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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.

The Silent Dream

I dreamed I was walking on a sidewalk by a city street. It seemed familiar. Across the street was a cemetery. Heavy, old trees protect the graves and mossy, tilted head stones. Squirrels, jays, and robins dash around the cemetery lawn. The grass is high and rich with tiny, white flowers. I can see that the wind is blowing.

As I notice the waving grass and tree branches, I realize that I don’t hear anything. That disturbs me. It’s unnerving. I’m walking, and cars are passing, but it’s all a silent movie. I see birds but I don’t hear them. A jet flying overhead leaves chemtrails but not sound.

Turning a corner, I come up on an intersection and watch others walking and talking. They seem to be hearing. Cars and trucks pass without a sound. Red, amber, and blue lights flashing, a firetruck silently passes.

The wind grows stronger, and it’s more difficult to walk or even stand. I can feel the sun’s warmth on me. In fact, I feel too hot, and sweat sheathes my back. Ah, so not all of my senses are affected. I can feel heat and the wind, and I see everything going on.

Turning into the wind, I test my sense of smell. Rich odors of burning marijuana, baked goods, cut grass, exhaust gases, and wet earth reach me. I smile as I smell them. Relief creeps in. I can smell things. I’m only not hearing. Why can’t I hear?

A weird epiphany that the wind of change is blowing strikes me. As I stand and think about that, I suddenly hear everything going on. It was like the world had been muted, and now it was un-muted. Listening, I walk back toward the intersection.

So the dream ends, with me standing at the intersection, listening and watching everything around me, and thinking. When I awaken, I stay in bed, thinking and listening, going through a memory of the dream.

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