Perchance to Dream

DreamsI’d be willing to bet most people have experienced a recurring nightmare at some point in their life. This week I ran across a news article analyzing the most common nightmares. It made me remember the dream that woke me with a pounding heart and closed off throat with alarming regularity when I was a kid.

The beginning of the dream was always innocuous and always different so I’d never know the nightmare was coming. I’d be playing outside with my sisters and friends or sitting around a kitchen table with my family with nothing out of the ordinary happening. Then out of the blue, a wolf would appear–lean, feral and focused on culling me from the herd. I’d flee for my life. I’d try to hide, but the wolf could always sniff me out. It was terrifying.

My only escape was to wake before its fangs closed on me.

Then finally one night, the dream took a different turn. My father intervened and killed the wolf with his hunting knife. I have never had that nightmare since.

After I began writing, I wondered if that dream was the start of my fascination with heroes. Sometimes, we just need someone to come along and rescue us, though I suppose there are those who would argue that since it was my dream, I directed my own rescue and simply chose to put my dad’s face on my hero at the time. All I know is a slavering monster used to live in my subconscious. My relief over its death is still palpable no matter whose hand wielded the knife.

Have you ever had a recurring nightmare? Or a dream so beautiful you wish it would recur?

10 thoughts on “Perchance to Dream

  1. Nynke says:

    I’m glad I’ve never had really bad recurring nightmares. I do have dreams from time to time where I wake up and realize I’ve overslept and can never make it to the classes I’m supposed to teach in time. Very stressful, and I’m always so relieved when I wake up for real and find out it was a dream!

    One of the best dreams I ever had was one where I was flying over the lakes, backpack and all, with friends that I had previously been on a sailing holiday with. I felt so free and relaxed… :)

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      I remember in one dream while I was in college I was told I hadn’t been attending a certain class all semester and therefore was failing. My GPA was spiralling down the toilet.

      Imagine my chagrin when later I received a note from administration telling me that very thing. I’d never missed a single class, but the confusion came because I’d gotten married and the college computers hadn’t reconciled my new name. The married me was in class. My maiden name self was truant. Fortunately, I spoke out a lot in class so my professor remembered me being there.

      It all got worked out before grade time and that was my one and only prescient dream.

    2. When I was really little – before the bad dream started (lol) I used to dream I could fly pretty much on a nightly basis! I LOVED those dreams!! It was so much fun to fly around corners and up and down stairs. And becaues I did it so often, I got better and better at it! LOL It was like every night I’d settle in, wait for the dream to start and then see what new tricks I could do. I specifically remember the feeling of freedom that came with flying. And I loved going fast!

      1. Mia Marlowe says:

        The flying dream is fun, but I never seemed to be able to do more than hover a few feet from the ground. Even my subconscious is a weenie!

  2. Nynke says:

    That rolling pavement is a very evocative image! Wow. Hope you will stop seeing it quite so often.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Reminded me of some of the visuals in the movie Inception,.

      1. Thanks Nynke – me too!! :)

        I had a dream last week where I drove my car off the end of a bridge that was as high as the top of the Golden Gate Bridge. When I posted it on FB someone asked if I’d watched “Inception.” Twice in one week that it’s been mentioned…I think I need to rent it. :)

  3. That’s so cool that you were finally able to get some closure on the dream and it stopped. I had a recurring nightmare as a kid and although I don’t have the dream anymore, I often still experience the unique suffocating feeling that came with it.

    It always started the same way. I’d be walking down a city street with huge skyscrapers on either side of me (funny, since I grew up on a 1200 acre farm and the nearest “tall building” was 2 hours away).

    Then a man’s face would appear – I never had details of the face but the man would laugh and start rolling a penny at me. As it rolled, it would roll the pavement of the street up with it, so it became this HUGE rolling mass of asphalt rushing at me.

    I would wake up just before it crushed me, but often I could still hear the roaring sound of the pavement rolling, even after awake, and I always had this numb, suffocating feeling.

    To this day, when I’m feeling overwhelmed (which is often), if I close my eyes for an extended period of time (I don’t even have to be lying down, I can sit in a chair and close my eyes), I’ll get that numb, suffocating feeling. Once I open my eyes it starts to dissipate, but sometimes it takes a while. I would really love to never have that weird feeling again! LOL

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Wow. From a little penny to a rolling sea of asphalt. That’s a problem that’s snowballing in your mind. I’ve heard it said that dreams are letters we send ourselves. What do you think it means?

      1. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure it out over the years so I could get a handle on it and hopefully put an end to that awful feeling, but I’ve never figured it out for sure.

        My dad owned an excavating and grading company and also did paving. I think the dream started about the time he left – I was 6.

        I’m sure it had something to do with that, especially since I still have that feeling when I feel overwhelmed. But I also spent a lot of time with him on jobs, even after he and my mom seperated, so I’ve tried to recall if I had a scary sitution with the big rollers or pans – they had tires so big I could sit inside of them.

        I’m sure it’s all related somehow, I’ve just never been able to completely get rid of it.

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