Sunday, August 20, 2006

Dream symbols?

I have had some dreams in the past few weeks that I haven't recorded, maybe because I'm lazy or busy, perhaps a little depressed—I've been sleeping too much on weekends—but mostly because I have felt reticent. What can I write about that won't reveal that I am foolish and naked? Wisdom is silent.

Symbolism. I was in a bed, waiting for a lover but more likely a husband. As I lay there, I became aware of an eye looking through what seemed to be an aperture in the wall next to the bed. It was too large to be a human eye. I did not want it to see and noticed that there was a cover for the opening, so I pulled the cover down. It was clear, and the eye was still visible. Involuntarily I made some sounds that could have been of pain or pleasure or both, and was terrified that the eye would detect the sounds; the disconnect in that thought did not occur to me. When I woke up, I realized that the eye was fixed; it looked neither up nor down, nor from side to side, nor did it blink. It was the unflinching, unfocused eye of omniscience, of omnipotence.

There was a roommate, a person I know whom I do not like. In the dream, she showed me a soft, clear, wizard-shaped squeeze bottle of some kind of cleaner because she had noticed a rust spot in the toilet. The room is dark, cluttered, full of mystery and mysterious things, like the world outside, yet the thought of the mind and the speech of the mouth is on the trivial.

A person I never knew well and with whom I never had anything in common; a person who seems to have achieved some ambitions and goals; a person who, from the little I know or care to know, leads an outwardly conventional life, haunts my dreams but not my waking thoughts or feelings. I yearn for his attention and his approval with a devastating excess of feeling—and never gain even the slightest notice. This time, in an agony, I disappeared into a hidden place, like a cave with a river, and took off my clothes, exposing my nakedness yet exposing nothing, for to all I am invisible. While hiding and trying to control the uncontrollable, I saw two men fall as though ill or dead, and I argued with my conscience about revealing myself and my nakedness to help them. I did the right thing and brought them back to life. One spontaneously hugged me in gratitude, but when he felt my nakedness and saw the insignificance of who I am, he laughed contemptuously. I fled and tried to find another place to hide, a place safe from derision. The only place left was in the open, among the crowd. There were no safe places without people, and I did not want to be with them any more.

This morning I dreamed that I saw a spectacular silver maple tree with a full green crown of glory. Then I saw a tree, an ash, near which I had lived, but this did not seem right. It was the ash tree that my brother had planted in 6th grade for Arbor Day, but I think my dad had told me that it had died or been cut down because of disease, maybe the disease of the landowner's convenience. In my heart, part of me had been struck down with the ash, because it was the first thing I saw every morning of my childhood. When I woke up, the thought of the silver maple made me happy for a moment because it was the one I had planted in 6th grade. In the 34 years since, it would have grown into majesty. I was still thinking this for a few moments after I woke up when I remembered that vandals had uprooted my silver maple sapling shortly after we'd planted it. I still mourn the tree with so much potential that was murdered so young.

In my waking life this week, someone told me that a particular horror movie was "pretty good." She expressed no emotion about it; it was entertainment that was "pretty good." From a fatal sense of curiosity, I looked the movie up to learn that it seems to be the worst kind of slasher porn, the kind of movie that seems utterly incompatible with any sense of human empathy. People took their small children (under 10) to see it. And to date it has grossed (she says ironically) more than $41 million.

Perhaps I dream to escape the nightmare.

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