I had a very weird dream last night. I have always been intrigued by dreams, but never to the point of intense study. Several people I know keep dream journals where they write out what they can remember of their dreams. The idea that we can learn about ourselves and our emotional state by interpreting dreams feels logical to me. We all have so many complex thoughts and busy external lives that it is natural for us to lose track of some of the most deep-rooted feelings that drive us.
A quick browse around the internet taught me a few things. There are two ways of looking at dreams. "Oneirology" is the scientific study of dreams, relating to brain function. Dream analysis is a more subjective study that tries to interpret the meaning of dreams.
There are a lot of classic dreams - oneirology divides them into the two classes of "authentic dreaming" and "illusory dreaming." One is dreams based in reality - real memories or projections that play out in a dream. The other is dreams that are complete confabulations of fantasy. Dream analysis offers suggestions about particular images having particular meanings in dreams - water is the state of your spiritual self, your house represents your body, etc.
Then there are the classic categories of dreams - chasing dreams, flying dreams, naked dreams (fear of exposure in life - very logical!), test anxiety dreams, etc. It is interesting to hear about how many common dream experiences are out there.
Then there are dreams like I had last night, for which I find no category. There is some basis in reality. A couple of years ago a sinkhole opened up in our driveway about the size of a manhole. The pavement sank, then finally dropped away into an old cistern. It took a couple of truckloads of gravel and debris to fill it.
But that is only a faint glimmer of real memory to attach to this dream.
So in this dream, there were two round holes in our driveway, about 6 inches in diameter. They were full of water. Somehow, our two big black dogs, Kate and Clara, fell in to one of them and disappeared. J and I frantically reached in, feeling around for them. We saw their whiskered noses sniffing at the surface, trying to breathe, but they were crowding each other and couldn't get anywhere. We were so scared that they were going to drown. Finally I reached in and pulled Kate out. She slumped onto the ground in a wet heap, but she was okay. Then I reached for Clara, couldn't find her. She was deep at the bottom, no longer moving. First I pulled out a leg, let it go, found her head and pulled her up and out of the hole. At first she was limp and not breathing, but I squeezed her chest in a Heimlich like maneuver and she sputtered out some water and began to breathe again. What a relief.
The images of giving birth are pretty obvious, but I don't understand the why. Does it have anything to do with the fact that I had my first story published in the Bangor Daily News today? Giving birth to a new career? Seems like a stretch. Is it symbolic of my empty nest? my retired womb? Who knows. Anyone with an idea - let's hear it.