I’ve been noticing my dreams lately and wondering if that is a good sign. Most nights—even on the restless nights—I remember nothing. Whatever internal untangling takes place in my sleep goes on unimpeded, and I’m reconciled in ways I didn’t know I needed reconciling. But not lately.
The other night I had a dream about needing gifts for someone—can’t remember whom—and, finding a bunch of those colorful South American frogs hopping down the front steps of a museum, I gathered some for my pockets and then, when I ran out of room, put some in my mouth.
Wait, don’t indigenous peoples use their secretions for poison arrows?
The dream goes on, but I can’t. Other people’s dreams are either dull or disturbingly transparent. I look for trouble signs in my own dreams and sometimes seek second opinions, but really I hope daylight and reason will wash out any worrisome details.
I dreamed that I ran for Governor of Texas against a woman with a beehive hairdo and bumble-bee dress, and counties flashed black and yellow on a map as they fell to her campaign.
Most dreams only merit one sentence. Any more and I begin to fear. I don’t want too much of my life to be conscious. Which is to say, too much of my life seems conscious already. Which is to say, life seems hard. I don’t mind being less aware of that.
Enough instant trouble appears in my life—shit hitting the fan—that I’m grateful when my unconscious says, “I’ll handle this.” Do I need to see my unconscious trying to get more shit through the fan?
I dreamed that I drove down the street without my hands on the wheel, bumping between the parked cars on either side of the road, relying on them to channel me home.
Dreams are reassuring when you put on an imaginary lab coat and regard them as phenomena. You appreciate your nascent imagination working hard even after the day is done. Or celebrate them as relief from reality. Or other people do.
In another dream, my father wanted me to go to the courthouse to search for something depicting the underside of our house’s foundation, but I couldn’t figure out how to describe my desire.
That says something.
In most matters I love the examined life. I object, on principle, to blissful ignorance. However, here is the exception to feed the rule. Good sleep is like a smooth zipper, gathering teeth as reliably as a train gathers railroad ties. It brings the two sides of everything into one whole.
I’d rather not see the sandman working the zipper back and forth trying to free extra fabric caught in the middle.