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 ….