Friday, November 14, 2014

In dreams some nights I stand on the edge of a rocky seawall wearing rainboots, watching some sort of commotion in the distance. Deciding to go see what it is and expecting shallows below I always step off the seawall and sink, boots filling with water, down into the cold blue unknown, no shallows anywhere. On the land no one has noticed, and I fall slowly through the depths with alarm but without panic. There is always one final improbable breath to be found inside my chest and then I wake, upset at not being more scared. It is always this way of drowning, slowly and quietly and without ever knowing just what drew me into the water in the first place.

The subject of drowning is one where dream interpretation really shows its seams. If you dream of drowning, they say, then you are probably...drowning, in a feeling, possibly good but also possibly bad. But is it really drowning if you are not trying to fight your way back to the surface? Awake, certainly, but I have started to think about this more in terms of sinking than in terms of drowning. If we're trying to discuss something, my brain and I, we should probably be talking about the same thing.

Awake I tend to find breath hard to come by, the air around me somehow thinner than it should be, my lungs less committed to their task. But sinking in water turns out the be approximately the same as drowning, with an added lack of self-confidence which I suppose makes sense. This fall has been a struggle, and I have spent a lot of time alone. They say that sinking suggests a situation in which you can't find the right approach. In general I wish that brains were less obvious, more subtle, that asleep I wasn't telling myself what I already know awake. In general I wish the air pressure would stabilize and loosen its grip on me, that I could breathe deeply and sleep soundly.

In general, I wish that I could understand the commotion in the distance without having to step into the water.

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