The Space of Dreams

 

Actually I do not have dreams very often.  Or it could be that I don’t remember my dreams after a usual night’s sleep. 

Even if they’re long, most of my dreams are forgotten.  I try to recall them just after I awake.  But still I can only catch some very small part of what has been smashed to pieces by the clear thought of my wide-awake self.  And those shreds of dreams are easily lost if I don’t keep paying attention by thinking on them.  They become dim and faint over the time that passes.

       I suppose my dreams are sparkling because I always feel I’ve gone through something deeply.  I feel I’ve cried, laughed, seen something or known something well.  I feel I’ve been there in some real time.

I like to dream.  I like the feeling that is far away from me but is familiar to me.

Some of my dreams seem branded in my mind.  Each time they seem to bring me a similar feeling, and some of them recur many times.  And for this reason they are vivid; they would not be forgotten easily.  In each instance something in common is repeated, as if they were the continuance of certain stories, as if they had grown up with me.  When I was little, about five or six years old, I often dreamed I was struggling hard to climb some high railings.  I saw stranger’s faces climbing around me, wailing with fright.  Finally I huddled in the highest place I could reach, trembling.  There, beneath my shelter, all I could see was a sea of fire.

When I grew a bit older, the dreams were often of climbing up stairwells inside a building.  The sunlight that shone from some unknown place was bright but not dazzling.  Also it smelt clean and peaceful.  But I just couldn’t stay.  I had only one thought: that I should keep mounting the stairs and not stop, as if there were somebody chasing me.  I finally came to the end of the stairs.  There was a door, and I knew that behind the door was something I was afraid of it.  I just knew it.  There was no other way to go, I had no choice but to open the door.  I opened it only a crack, and suddenly a chill permeated into my bone.  I shut the door heavily with horror, then pressed my back against it, straining, and gasped.  I did this even though I knew the door wouldn’t be opened again.  The dream always ended just here.  I could never really open the door, and I never knew exactly what it was behind the door that made me so afraid.

Much older, I still had frequent dreams that took place on stairways, but the background changed somewhat: now the dreams were happening in old school buildings.  I didn’t know where I was going.  The only thing I knew was that every story I passed looked the same: dark classrooms, opaque windows, the floor covered with dirt.  Everywhere I walked the dust flew up in the air.  The air mixed with thick dust went into my lungs and made me feel I was suffocating.  No matter where I turned it was still the same dim and dirty scene, as if I were deep underground.  I walked around on the stairs, upstairs and down.  At last I came to the bottom of the building.  Spider webs, dirt and chill covered everything.  In front of me was a disc with a color like molten iron, red and shiny.  I couldn’t be sure if it was an iron disc or an abyss of fire.  I wanted to go forward to check but was stopped by my fear.  I always awoke from my dream just here.  I couldn’t know if the ending was that I had too much misgiving of the unknown object or if I fell into it.

These were the only nightmares I’ve had.  They were always the same, or at least similar.  In these dreams I always got lost and felt extremely anxious.

Of other dreams I could only remember some pale, faded reflection.  Often it was a moment at dusk that draws long shadows on the ground, or during some sunny day when the sky was blue as a frozen sea.  The people I dreamed about were usually people I was close to, but the things that happened were too dramatic. Sometimes it made me weep.  But it looked as if I knew I was dreaming, therefore I felt myself placed outside of my dream, as if I were seeing a movie.

I think I like my dreams, although the ones I remember are not really fond dreams.  Still I know in my dreams I’ve gone through happiness, sadness, joy, and fear.  Maybe some parts of them are buried deep in my memory and cannot be recalled now; they wait for some day that I can call them to mind.  But whether my dreams have been good or bad, and whether the dreams I’ve yet to have will be good or bad, I’ll like all of them as my own adventures.

 I don’t like divination or analyzing dreams, and I do not accept well the connection between dreams and the things we think about in the daytime.  Although dreams can reflect the real self, why should we think we mirror ourselves naked in dreams?  We have a whole conscious life to explore our true colors.  Dreams should be restful. May dreams not bother the reality of day, and may reality not bother my dreams.

 

--Yana Lin,

   Taipei,

   2002

 

 

 

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