Tag Archives: dreams

Dream Words

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A while back, I awoke in the night with words in my head. I wasn’t having a dream with images and colors and actions. Only words were there. I didn’t see the words; I heard them.

This sort of thing happens to me occasionally. Sometimes I wake with words in my head. Sometimes, as I’m drifting off to sleep, I hear words.

Nothing pops me out of almost-sleep faster than my mother’s voice saying my name. Of course, I immediately realize my mother is not in the van (or wherever I happen to be sleeping) with me. These days, my mother and I aren’t in the same state or even region of the country. Yet my nearly sleeping brain tells me I’ve just heard her voice saying my name. Is this a memory my transitioning-to-sleep brainwaves translate into an auditory hallucination? When this happens, am I closer to sleep than I think and actually dreaming?

Usually, I don’t remember the words my brain has given me in the night. Years ago I had a dream journal and a pen with a little light in the tip. The light allowed me to see just enough to scribble my dreams (or dream words) on the pages of the journal. Using a small amount of light allowed me to stay more asleep than awake. I could drift off again easily once the recording was done.

I tried to find one of those pens a couple of years ago when friends gave me money for Christmas and said I should buy something I really wanted. I wasn’t able to find one of those pens on the internet. The woman at the local school supply store couldn’t find one through any of her suppliers.

I haven’t been writing down my dreams in the last few years.

But these words came through so clearly, and I was able to hold onto them throughout the night. I wrote the words down in the morning.

Here are the dream words: He who keeps his eyes closed is always in the dark.

I wondered if I’d read this sentence somewhere, but a Google search brought no results. Perhaps I read it on the slip of paper from a fortune cookie. I have no recollection of seeing it before, but there it was, spit out from my sleeping brain and hung onto all night so I could write it down in the first fragile daylight.

He who keeps his eyes closed is always in the dark.

Dreaming of Jerry Garcia

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Today is the anniversary of the birth of Jerry Garcia.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Jerry Garcia was a musician: player of guitars, banjos, and mandolins and a singer too. He was famous as a founding member of the Grateful Dead, but was also in Jerry Garcia Band, Old and in the Way, Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band, and New Riders of the Purple Sage.

I dreamed about Jerry just as this year’s season as a camp host started.

A couple of days before Memorial Day, I dreamed I was outside somewhere with trees. I was not in a city.

Jerry Garcia was walking around this place of my dream, smiling and happy. He was giving out LSD.

I knew him, of course. I think he knew me, but I don’t think he knew me well, like maybe we’d met once or twice, but I didn’t think he’d consider me a close friend. I wondered if he’d remember me at all. I knew he’d probably give me a hit even if he didn’t remember me because he was passing it out freely, but it would certainly be nice to be remembered by Jerry Garcia.

When he came up to me, I opened my mouth, so he could lay a hit on my tongue. I thought he’d drop a hit, maybe two, into my mouth, but he fed me I don’t know how many hits. I had little bits of paper poking from between my lips.

My feelings were torn between Oh boy! and Oh no! I was excited and scared.

How much is just enough? How much is too much?

I wondered how many hits I’d just taken, considered asking Jerry about the numbers, then decided to just go with the flow.

I heard a woman ask him in a real suck-up tone, Are you getting tickets tomorrow, Jerry?

He said, I’ve got tickets right now.

If his looks left any doubts as to who he was, the unmistakable voice erased them. It was definitely Jerry Garcia right there.

Unfortunately, I woke up before I could feel the effects of the gifts from Jerry. I wonder if the Catholic Church would view Jerry getting me high from beyond the grave cause for canonization. I bet most Deadheads would. In any case, while I didn’t wake up high, I did feel happy and at peace.

It was the first time I dreamed of Jerry, although a few weeks earlier, I’d dreamed of hearing a Grateful Dead song I believe existed only in my brain.

A couple of weeks after my dream about Jerry, I was driving when “Attics of My Life” began drifting from my speaker.

I’d not listened to “Attics of My Life” much. It wasn’t in the repertoire of songs marking my relationship with the person who really got me listening to the Dead. Since I mostly listen to music when I’m driving and I want upbeat rhythms to keep me awake, I hadn’t heard the song often since I’d been on my own. But it somehow made it onto my phone with a recent importing of music, and now it was slowly swelling out of my speaker.

It’s a lovely, ethereal song, from the 1970 American Beauty album.

American Beauty (180 Gram Vinyl)

Why have I never really listened to this song before? I wondered.

Then the last verse hit and Jerry singing Robert Hunter’s words brought me to tears.

 

I’m not even sure if I can explain how I felt when I heard this song after dreaming of Jerry.

The Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics
(In The Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics, David Dodd says Robert Hunter was asked about the meaning of this very song  Hunter replied,

…If I could say it in prose, I wouldn’t need to write the song. Poetry is evocative–it’s meant to communicate to deeper levels and approach the levels of nonverbal experience.

So I suppose if I can’t express my reaction to the song in prose, Robert Hunter did his job as a poet-songwriter perfectly.)

I felt as if Jerry and I had some connection. I know that sounds trite and cliché . But if we realize we are all connected (even if in a state of chemical alteredness), does that make it untrue? If I hear this man sing twenty years after his death and his voice moves me so strongly that my tears begin to flow, well, I maintain that’s a connection.

I also felt as if my dream brought Jerry Garcia to life, if only in my REM state brain. There he was–living, moving, smiling, talking, feeding me all the LSD I could fit in my mouth, bringing me comfort and peace. I dreamed Jerry into existence again, for however brief a time.

 

Happy birthday, Jerry.

 

 

Mountain Roads

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IMG_3449I’ve driven on mountain roads in North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, and New Mexico, but I’d never before seen roads like the ones I’m encountering in the Sierra Nevada mountains. These roads have so many twists, turns, curves, and switchbacks. For the first few weeks, driving these roads made me carsick. I’d never gotten carsick while driving before.

My body must have adjusted because I’m not getting carsick while driving these roads anymore. However, I know the curves are on my mind because I dreamed of one on a recent night.

In the dream, I was driving my van. In the dream, I was driving my van too fast. I was also fiddling with something (my MP3 player, I suspect), not paying proper attention to the road. I was on a curve sooner than I expected, and I took it too fast. Next thing I knew, I was off the road, barreling through the grass. I don’t remember trying to stop the van. I do remember crashing through the wall of a barn. I felt the forward motion clearly. I felt the resistance of the wall clearly too.

At that point, in that weird way of dreams, I was in the back of my van, lying in the bed. The van was still moving fast, and I knew the outcome was not going to be good.

Then I woke up, relieved to realize I had not actually crashed my van through the wall of a barn. I was lying in my bed in the first feeble light of dawn, waiting for my heart rate to slow so I could try to get back to sleep. That’s when I heard the hooting of an owl.

Owls, in Western tradition, are harbingers of doom and death. According to http://www.owlpages.com/articles.php?section=Owl+Mythology&title=Myth+and+Culture, “in early Rome…to hear the hoot of an Owl [sic] presaged imminent death…In English literature the Barn Owl [sic] had a sinister reputation probably because it was a bird of darkness, and darkness was always associated with death. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the poets Robert Blair and William Wordsworth used the Barn Owl [sic] as their favourite [sic] “bird of doom.”

I hadn’t heard an owl hoot since I arrived in the Sierras in May. But here was one hooting long and loud moments after I’d dreamed of taking a curve too fast and wrecking my van.

You can bet the next time I drove those twisty mountain roads, I took the curves nice and slow.

IMG_3451

I took these photos of curvy mountain roads.

Ice Cream Economics

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I found an old notebook in which I had written down some dreams. Here’s one that I had on September 4 or 5, 2013.

Chocolate Coated Ice CreamsI was hanging out with Mr. Ess in a crowded touristy area. We had six ice cream bars. I wanted to eat them, but wondered if I could sell them for $1 each, then reinvest the money in popsicles. Mr. Ess was telling me about a guy he knew who made a woman a hat out of cactus. Whenever the hat fell apart, he’d make her another one out of fresh cactus. I was only half listening, contemplating ice cream economics, and I said, “That must have been cool.” Mr. Ess said, “Fuck no!” And then we laughed.

 

Image thanks to https://www.pexels.com/photo/chocolate-coated-ice-creams-749102/