The River of Dreams


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Hmm… do I include wild dreams in the “problems” category or the “solutions” category?

I keep dreaming about rivers.

It used to be that I would have recurring dreams about train tracks but now it seems to be rivers. I am always in a tandem kayak with a bad paddle: it is either broken or one sided so I keep having to switch sides to make the kayak go in a straight line. The river is always calm and smooth and the water is generally warm.

In one such dream I am in the middle of some kind of race and I am trying to convince a fellow kayaker to join me- reasoning that if I have a second person paddling then it would be easier to go in a straight line. In that dream the river is clear and running between grassy banks and I wake up before my companion makes up his mind.

In another such dream I am in the river and my sister is the one in the kayak. We are coasting down with the current as I try to explain to her what she needs to do so that I can climb in without capsizing the boat. The river is brown and runs in a concrete liner beneath arched bridges that form a long tunnel and I get the sense that we are in a city somewhere. By the time I finish explaining we are nearly to the mouth of the tunnel and I see several large canoes filled with men that I recognize as being river-pirates.

“As soon as I get in we are going to paddle like the Dickens.” I tell my sister, trying not to move my lips. She tries to nod without moving her head. I scramble into the kayak and try to start paddling but the two halves of my paddle won’t lock together so I have to paddle with one in each hand and it is not very effective.  I think we were on the verge of getting away and then I woke up.

I describe these dreams as if they were clear, solid, individual dreams that I had on separate nights, but really they are tiny core-samples of a massive vein of dreamscape that my sleeping mind has been dragging me through lately. In the past week my dreams have taken on a Tolkien complexity that I can barely remember, much less understand, in the morning.

Here are some of the topics that my dreams have covered:

  • Tomatoes
  • The color red
  • Living in an ornate mansion under siege by people who are trying to “get” me (kill? kidnap? unclear.) even though if they would just ask me I would magically increase their fortunes fourfold.
  • Being barefoot and in the dark (I have a flashlight) and trying to avoid stepping on small black scorpions.
  • Discovering a perfect scale model of one of my hutch/bookshelves in the alcove of a cavern.
  • The number four.
  • Showering- possibly with my clothes still on.
  • The church I went to as a child, now three times the size, completely remodeled, and built out of white marble. It now also includes a second sanctuary that can be rented out for events.
  • Baby elephants hatching out of giant eggs.
  • South Africa
  • South African money vs the Euro and trying to figure out how much a flight to France would cost me.
  • Trying to explain, in a language that I don’t speak, to the nice man with the gun why we don’t want to go to dinner at the steakhouse where dinner would only cost $15 but the tables and chairs are all made of machine guns.
  • Trying to get a ruling from a judge who conducts his business largely by phone in the stall of a public bathroom.
  • Hanging out with my mom for Mother’s Day in a fancy hotel (dream interrupted by the cat waking me up).

I wish I could say that these images and symbols formed some kind of pattern, but the only thing they have in common is the fact that they have recently traipsed across my subconscious. I even tried looking them up in a dream dictionary to see if there were any recurring themes that I might not have been aware of on the surface, but half of the images in question weren’t in the dictionary to begin with.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on May 24, 2013.

One Response to “The River of Dreams”

  1. Rivers and railroad tracks are often one and the same. Both conduits or pathways to some other destination/expectation. Your struggle to paddle a canoe for two speaks for itself:P As for the ones involving you directing your sis under pressure, it sounds like you are conflicted about being a parent to your sister. You wonder what others (the pirates/public) might think if they noticed you “parenting” your sister. That or you are simply looking out for/concerned about her.

    I often dream about mansions/odd houses, too! I recall my last dream of such involving some strange people lurking in and out of rooms with reddish carpeting and white marble fixtures/decor. I’d pursue one and pass by others before crossing a room of chairs or a grassy courtyard in the night. I used to have reoccurring dreams about people I never wanted to see again appearing along staircases I was climbing in Greek apparel. Or, I’d be in an old bedroom with a group of these people gabbing at once.

    You treasure that bookshelf immensely? Since you put it in a dragon’s lair.

    That’s why I am not a fan of dream dictionaries. I also didn’t like what the one I tried said about the women I see in my dreams. This author seemed to think women were evil. I had to disagree. I wonder where they get their ideas sometimes. But, I suppose many wonder the same about mine:D

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