Sunday, July 4, 2010

We are chasing something or someone

Antonio de Pereda y Salgado -- "The Knight's Dream" / 1665

To sleep: perchance to dream

I have been having a great deal of trouble sleeping since my return from Poland. I think it was the time change -- seven hours difference -- that initially created the problem. It probably still is part of my restlessness.

But, the primary rogue element here seems be dreams. I initially will sleep for two or three hours, then wake up in a dream and cannot go back to sleep again for a considerable amount of time. Then, after sleep returns, I quite often am awakened again a hour or two later, caught up in another dream.

Many of my dreams have been extremely vivid, and mostly seem to me to be completely disconnected from my actual life. In one dream, for instance, which I have experienced at least twice that I recall, I am sitting in a chair watching myself sleep and listening to myself snore. So, you think that is funny, hah? You do not have to laugh about it.

Well, how about this? In another dream, which I have had more than a few times, I have been running with a pack of wolves through a primeval forest. We are chasing something or someone, but I have no idea what or who. I am naked. (Whoops. Again, no laughter, please. This is serious business.) I am carrying a tomahawk in my left hand and a knife in the right. I am howling like the other members of the pack, and running as absolutely hard and fast as I am able.

Are you still with me? Do you want a third dream? Want it or not, here it is: I am in the midst of a raging river, in the water, clinging to a large tree trunk, drifting along. No canoe here. No swimming here. Just me, hanging on to the tree as it races along in a virtual torrent of river water.
I am looking for some way to reach the shore, but I am not afraid. In fact, I am enjoying the ride, but I want to go to shore, although I do not know why.

Everything that surrounds me -- the lush, thick forest; the steep, brown and green river banks; the splashing, heaving, bubbling water of the river -- everything is very beautiful. I can feel the roughness of the tree bark against my arms and my cheek as I cling to the tree. At one point, I look down and watch an ant leisurely walking along the tree trunk just inches from my face.

I have my own guess what this particular dream might represent.

Once upon a time, I knew a young lady whose medical affiliation included work with a sleep clinic. I met her when she gave me a pre-employment physical. There was no romance here, unfortunately for me. She was very attractive and very, very intelligent, but happily married and the mother of a very neat little boy. No romance, but many hours talking about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This is to say, we danced intellectually.

Anyway, to continue .... part of her work was to stand watch over a variety of devices in one room while a patient with a diagnosed sleep disorder slept in an adjacent room. In addition to television cameras for viewing the "sleeper," there were monitors present to measure the rhythms and the stages and the patterns of sleep, and to note physical changes in areas such as breathing, and heart and pulse rates.

Although it was very much against the rules (please, do not tell anyone about this), on occasion I would spend a few hours with her at the monitors, watching the "sleeper" and listening to my clinical friend explain what was happening. She would offer her professional opinion about what patients were experiencing in their sleep and during their dreams. It was fascinating. Where is she now when I actually need her? I could use her expertise now.

There have been a few occasions when I have written about my dreams -- even going so far as to mention a particular dream that I had been experiencing repeatedly -- and asked if there were any dream interpreters reading here who were willing to offer an opinion about my night visions. So, I am asking again. Does anyone out there have any answers -- any suggestions, any opinions, any comments at all -- about this dreamy state of mine .... about these voyages into the surreal I have briefly described.

In the meanwhile, I bid you a goodnight. It is time for me to return to the woodlands and to run with the wolf pack.

Some lines from "Hamlet" (III, 1)
by William Shakespeare

To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil ….


Anonymous said...


Fram Actual said...

Thank you, for the visit and the comment.

Believe it or not, I am beginning to understand.

Polly said...

Hi Fram, it seems I can't leave a comment under your latest post so I'm leaving it here instead. I hope you find it.

All I wanted to say was that reading that post composed of three separate parts seemed like a journey into your mind and I really hope you'll find what you're looking for. I found the comment about the winter very, hm, chilling. Suddently, in the middle of July, it made me worried about next winter.

Anyway, I hope stepping away from blogging is serving you well.

And thank you for your interesting comments on my blog

Fram Actual said...

She not only reads from top to bottom, she also leaves a comment. Thank you, Polly. I owe you a dinner. Perhaps, next winter.

After your comment, I had to re-read what I wrote in that post. I often write about what is on my mind and in my mind, and I prefer reading the posts of people who do the same.

Thank you, also, for the good wishes about finding what I seek. Ultimately, maybe. There are moments when I think those who it takes the longest amount of time to find their place or their companion in this world are the most fortunate among us because they see more and learn more along the way.

As a side note, my last night in Warsaw, I ran into and "off-duty" waiter from my favorite pizza place. He was from "your" Krakow originally, and told me if I liked Old Town in Warsaw, I must be sure to go to Krakow because the entire city was an "old town." I told him I would go there someday, but that I was leaving for America in the morning, so Krakow would have to wait for me.

Gdansk, too, someday. I love the water.

Rachael Cassidy said...

I, too, dream vividly if at all. Often my sleep is total blackness, meaning I don't remember the dreams. However, when the dreams come back to me, or I wake from them... It's as if they are MORE than real. Sometimes I want to rush back to sleep and regain the dream, or on the flipside, stay awake so as to keep out of the dream forever. There have been occasions where I have grabbed my cell phone in my half-awake state and texted myself the details of the dream. Those are always interesting to re-read in their broken jargon.
Here are shortened versions of two of them:
In one, I am in the mountains I grew up in. With me are my youngest son and a male friend with whom I have a very cerebral connection. There has been some kind of political/soceital upheaval, and we are "hiding out." We are scaling some sort of hill, the goal is to reach something at the top. Laden with supplies, I remember looking at some sort of maroon colored flag, thinking it's beautiful but feeling guilty for the thought. There are small aircraft in the area, taking off and landing at the tiny, remote airstrip in my home "town." There are more details but it would take me hours to type them...

In another dream... I see a framed watercolor painting. It was painted for me, by the same male friend in the previous dream. I actually sketched this painting out upon waking. The center is an ocean scene, waves breaking on a beach, backlit by a rosy-orange colored sunset (or sunrise??). Oddly enough, there is a mountain range visible beyond the sea, a very high mountain range covered by evergreen trees of some sort. A flock of birds (and in the dream I think of them as "my" birds)flies over the waves. The frame is like a shadow-box, and there is an item on each side of the picture; on the left, two redwood trees, and on the right, a pelican skull.
Strange........ but I know in this dream it is a very personal picture filled with love. I spent hours trying to decode the different parts of it and came up with a lot of contradictory information.
So yes.... dreams. Sleep. Love. Water. Parallel thoughts. I think I could write volumes to you about this all.

Fram Actual said...

I should be going through boxes and packing. I like to give myself big cushions, especially in terms of time and money.

But, dreams are waiting to be probed. In the two you
described, Rachael, it seems to me you are trying to
reach something or someone, the summit of the mountain
and the mountains across the sea.

In the first dream, you are not alone, and that seems
most interesting in the sense there are identifiable
people and you are engaged in the same activity --
marching up a mountain toward a definite destination.
Maybe, the maroon flag is royalty -- purple ?? Maybe,
the aircraft are symbolic of some people having an easy
time reaching their destination, while you have to hike
to a mountain summit to obtain your place in the sun.

In the second, the water separating you and the distant
mountains has to represent a barrier. The scene in the
painting represents your sought-after destination. You
are feeling your march to the mountain tops is impeded
by obstacles, which the ocean represents. There is no
one else in the dream, but the painting was done by the
friend from the first dream. Maybe, he is one of the
obstacles for you to overcome in order to reach your
goals, or he could be a helper along the way. I would
guess the two redwood trees represent a long, permanent

Most of the people in my dreams are people from the past
who I liked and had good times with long ago. Last fall,
I had a series of dreams, seven or eight, possibly more,
that took place in the same building. But, the building
was used for different things and it was located in
varying locations.

It was a huge, log building. I always lived on the second
floor and, sometimes, the first floor, as well. Even when
I lived on the second floor, it was not always my home. In
one dream it was like a typical motel room and in another
like a luxury hotel room. In a couple of the dreams, the
building was located deep in woodlands, and I rushed
downstairs, guns in hand, to fight people who were intent
on breaking in; on another occasion, the first floor was
a downtown newspaper office and, still another time, it
was a downtown restaurant.

I never had a logical conclusion about what these dreams
represented at the time, and had forgotten about them
until we began talking about this.

Lately, my sleep (like my emails) has been sporadic and
irregular, so if I am dreaming at night, I am not
recalling any of them. I obviously am unsettled at the
moment because my plans are not definite, and I am not
really certain I am in the mood for drifting. Anyway ....
here is a note .... at last .... Fram (AKA Finally From
Fram) ....

Something special ....