AND THEN I WOKE UP
Dreamed 1980/11/4 by Chris Wayan
I'm at college, living on the top floor of a campus dorm. One night I hear a noise outside my window. But I'm six floors up! Get out of bed and look. Someone's crawled up the wall, and now hangs by fingers from the plaster and wire-mesh eaves, moving laterally. Seems to be circling the whole building. Above my window, the flimsy eaves are torn. I whisper a warning out the window, for the prowler, and he passes the danger zone safely.
Next morning I hear others calling him silly, immature, reckless. He nearly went from being an eaves-hanger to an eaves-dropper!
Well, I LIKED his stunt.
The next night, the eaves-hanger reappears, but this time he's transformed into a mushroom cloud. I worry it's nuclear, but it doesn't flash or burn, just hops around the horizon, opening and closing like some flying jellyfish or Mary Poppins's umbrella. It's beautiful--pulsing with opalescent colors.
I try to become one too... and partly succeed. I partly RIDE my summoned mushroom, but... partly I AM the 'shroom!
Whatever I am, I hop around the sky. It's fun!
Shroomless, mountless, I can skim along, fast and low, but I just can't soar. Passing a car on a desert road, I try to fly over, but I can't get more than a few feet off the ground. Try and try. No. Have to go around the car.
Then, suddenly, a red canyon yawns before me, a thousand feet deep. Will I bet my life I can fly? I leap out...
A craggy mesa has eroded away from the far canyon wall. It's a sky-island now, with a small flat top covered with bird nests. Big birds. Huge birds. ROCS, out of the Arabian Nights!
They're impossible, the size of elephants. Incongruously, one has a mouse in its claws. No... I hear faint screaming, and realize that's a human being being carried off to the nest, to feed bear-sized chicks. To shake off the chill spreading over my joy of flight, I think cynically "Why keep screaming? Who do you expect to hear you out here on an island in the sky?"
Well, there's me, I guess. But what can I do? They're so huge! I'll just be eaten too.
But I can't just hover while someone screams for help. Despite my fear, I follow the Roc toward its nest. This feels right. Even if it ends badly for me, it feels right. There are worse things, like living with the knowledge I didn't try to help.
And then, as I swoop in, committed now... I wake.
This is a classic type of dream--a dream decapitated, its climax and finish gone--as broken as a headless statue. The type of dream that frustrates the hell out of amateurs!
Don't be an amateur. Look closer. Is it really broken?
Unless you're awakened by something physical, it's worth assuming, at least at first, that a dream ends where it ends because... it ends! Headlessness can be a deliberate signal that you're looking at the wrong aspects of your dreams--and, maybe, your life.
Here, for example, readers living mostly in the physical world probably want to know what the hell happened when I raided the Roc's nest. But the absence of that physical climax SAYS something--that the dream built up to a climax that wasn't the resolution of a physical problem but a spiritual one. That was even foreshadowed when I flew over the big drop--put my life on the line. When I rouse my courage and do the right thing with the Roc, the dream ends--because the key issue HAS been decided. My dreams often end when I finally get a key moral or psychological insight, or I take power or responsibility, or I commit to an action at last. I don't have to duke it out all nine rounds--getting in the ring is what matters. I'm a shy intellectual type; action and courage are what matter, not winning or losing.
So, if your recall is at all decent, and you weren't awakened by alarm clocks or motors or bombs (the musical fruits of the tech tree), then look at your "incomplete" dreams as warnings. Warnings you're focused on the wrong issues.
Your dreams are (probably) complete.
It's YOU who aren't.
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