Dali dreams

Had a strange dream this morning. I had woken drowsily a little after 6am, as the sun was coming up. I went back to sleep, feeling thick with sleep and happy for a comfortable bed and the opportunity to sleep in.

I seemed to drift from heavy sleep to a barely conscious drowsiness, and so as I dreamt the events of the dream seemed to mingle with the reality of the dawning day around me – the sunshine creeping around the edges of the blind, the strange tapping noise that emanated from upstairs, and the peaceful stateliness of the morning – a palpable stillness, as if nothing stirred outside, as if the sunshine and the blue sky outside was fixed in place, as if time had paused. That’s how it felt, at least how it felt in my peculiar state. And it was to this backdrop that I dreamt.

Most dreams are not linear. They jump from one scene to another without seeming rhyme or reason. At the time it does not seem strange as such – it is the reality you are living in at that point, without anything ‘normal’ to measure it against. Only afterwards, when you wake and recall your dream does the sequence of dream events seem strange. So it was with this dream. It started with me and a friend driving down a suburban coastline. It was a fine day, to our right as we drove were lovely houses amongst thickly growing trees, overlooking the beach and the ocean to our left. We stopped at one of the beaches. It was nothing special, a pretty beach reached by descending some stone stairs, deep green vegetation with big white flowers flowing over the stones edge while the sea sedately lapped at the waters edge. on the beach there were clusters of families evenly spaced, children playing while their mothers watched and their fathers read the newspaper. We stood on the beach watching this, and I had a wistful feeling. There was something in the very ordinariness of the scene that moved me, something peaceful and easy and good. I felt out of place there though, like someone who has chosen to take a different path. Part of me seemed to regret that – at that moment I could imagine very little sweeter than living this simple and good life with my family.

The scene changes. I am in a car alone this time. There is a feeling of loneliness somehow. I seem to be driving to work, or somewhere like that. I have set off early, as it seems I have nothing else to do but this. As I’m driving along I suddenly realise I am in the passenger seat. I’m driving along a straight road with traffic behind me when I realise this, and quickly I reach across to the unattended steering wheel to make sure I don’t go off the road. As I continue to steer I suddenly wonder how I’m going to stop the car – I can’t reach the brake pedal from where I’m sitting.

The scene changes again. Later, when I woke, I figured this scene may be a flashback to what happened before I start driving. I am in a cafe of some sort, I have ordered breakfast, a coffee and a muffin or something. I am standing in front of the owner, a grey haired guy with a big grey moustache like a walrus. His face is weather-beaten, as if he has spent a lot of time on the open sea, but friendly. He hands me my change and I drop it clumsily, feeling unsure, as if I don’t know what I’m doing there, or why, and feeling awfully conscious of the people all around me. And then I am on the road, driving from the wrong side of the car again. Dream ends.

It seems a melancholy and sad dream and I’m tempted to interpret it in that way. Funny thing is that when I woke I didn’t have that sense of it. I knew it was strange, maybe sad, but I felt content and happy. I lay in my warm bed with the sunlight coming in and the tapping from upstairs. I felt pleasantly sated by sleep, and sensed the serene peace of the world outside like something that would never change. What it did do was make me look upon recent events in a different way. Things that have excited me seemed muted now – and things I never thought of now seemed alluring. I felt as if I wanted something simple, as if the scene on the beach in my dream was really something I needed to live. I know enough that I have to try that life sometime, that I don’t want to turn my back on it altogether, and needn’t. It is not lost to me yet.

Now, a few hours later, I feel different again. I feel the excitement that momentarily lapsed, and the prospect of hard work and travel, of foreign cities and goals achieved and so on. It seems in many ways the antithesis of the peaceful scene of my dream, and possibly the scene of me driving from the passengers seat is a strange comment on this life. I don’t feel it though. Things will be as they are. You have to fill yourself up and see where that leads you.

2 responses to “Dali dreams

    • Really? I wonder. I’m sure it can be done, but not easily, and not often well. My experience is that some things are mutually exclusive – you must make a choice one way or the other. And that life in general calls for commitment if you want to succeed at it – no half-arsed efforts trying to be both. That said, sensible compromises are possible if you know what you want and what you’re willing to sacrifice for it. For me, at the stage of life I’m at now, it becomes simpler because I have lived one side of that life very fully, and I’m willing now to put that to one side to live the life I put to one side (wistfully) back then.
      The other thing that strikes me now reading that post years after is the interpretation I either didn’t see or wouldn’t comment on. I think there’s a very obvious reference to travelling without my hands on the wheel (a phrase I use regularly). Did I feel I was not in control of my life, or where I was headed?


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