Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

An odd dream….

I’m feeling a bit haunted by a dream I had this morning, shortly before waking.

I’m a bit of a believer in dreams being the way many things(including our own unconscious) can communicate with us, but rather often the meaning is harder to fathom.

I’m not talking about those random replay dreams, where the recent past is rehashed, or those anxiety dreams where we play out our fears.

I’m talking about the dreams that seem to have no foothold in the usual run of dreams. They’re often the ones we remember when we wake, and often, like today, they haunt us for days, or even years afterwards.

I dreamed I was travelling down a river, towards my home. I don’t live near a river, and never have lived close enough to one to the scenario I knew was true in the dream, that my home was only a very short distance from the water. In real life, I’d never chose to live so close to a body of water that can be so temperamental, but in the dream I accepted this as normal reality.

Until, that is, I rounded the corner of the riverbend and where I had expected to find a short stretch of water and my home a little way beyond it, the whole topography had changed. The river had become a dead end, a lagoon of cloudy water, almost like a T junction. I could go no further, unless I took to the water, and even then, I couldn’t see my home at all. The water swirled, like flood waters, full of eddies and a milky wash of clay from the fields, and I knew it to be deep and dangerous.

I turned to the left hand side, where the arm of the T led me and found that as well as the work to change the course of the river, work was in progress to build a footpath through what were fast becoming marshes. Brand new duckboards had been laid across the mud, and a new bridge, all resinous with fresh pine and larch, ended near the duckboards, the steps rising to greet me. As I approached, a woman came down the bridge steps and told me, “They haven’t finished it yet, you can’t get through that way,” and encouraged me to try and follow where the duckboards led me. I couldn’t see where the new path led, but I climbed over the foot of the bridge and began to try and follow the wooden path.

By this stage I was feeling very frustrated that I couldn’t get home and angry that “they” had changed the route without giving me either warning of the work or any alternative route to my home. The woman had vanished and I was alone again, standing below the bridge, unable to either see where to go or make a single step forward because the duckboards had given way to thick sticky mud and no path was visible at all.

Now typing it all out(I jotted it in my dream journal when I woke) I begin to see some of the themes emerging but if anyone has any insights, I’d be more than delighted to hear them. I can get so caught up in my own head I can fail to see the obvious, and unless we really are living in The Matrix and everyone out there is somehow part of my own mind, the voice of someone beyond my own self can be a very welcome addition to the melting pot.

by Viv


January 19, 2009 - Posted by | friends, God in our life, health, life, personal, psychology, Viv's Short Stories | , , , ,


  1. Viv, I’ll come back later to your dream, I need a nice peaceful piece of time to read it, but I want to tell you that I am very happy that you tell us one of your dream. I have a lot to say about this subject (night dreams), and this a thread I will follow with deep interest.
    See you later… must go to my boy into his bubble now…

    Comment by Miki | January 19, 2009

  2. Great dream, Viv, and a great re-telling too. The obvious things I see are these:

    You don’t normally take too many risks
    When you do, you are given advice as to how to proceed
    You are frustrated at not being able to follow your own path,
    and get annoyed with yourself for listening to other voices and not your own.

    So – should I get a job on a fairground? 🙂

    Comment by kevmoore | January 19, 2009

  3. I’d stick to the day job; it pays better!
    I do take risks, but what I’d describe as calculated ones. I’m pretty good at risk assessment, in terms of whether it’s worth taking a risk in view of what probable outcomes are. So I do things that others sometimes view as brave or foolhardy but to me they are the logical next step. If the dream had been a reality, I would have looked for a boat so i could reconnoitre the new river area and be able to get a better view of what is going on. I certainly wouldn’t just jump into the water.
    In some ways, it felt to be like I was being told that things aren’t ready yet but that paths are being made, but they are incomplete right now.

    Comment by viv66 | January 19, 2009

  4. On Miki’s prompting a year or two back, i tried to write about a couple of my dreams. they were completely bananas, if i recall, but I’ll try and post one. Regardless of the meaning, I liked the imagery in yours -particularly the attention to detail with the wood!

    Comment by kevmoore | January 19, 2009

  5. I often have intensely detailed dreams where I recall some absolutely minute details; I not only dream in glorious technicolour but also in smelli-vision, as well as all the other senses.
    It’s not unusual for me to have to do a reality check during a normal day to check if I am dreaming or not.

    Comment by viv66 | January 19, 2009

  6. I have had some very powerful dreams involving rivers in the past two years. They first started right after I read the book “The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World” by Lewis Hyde. A quick look in Wikipedia shows an earlier book titled “The Gift” by French sociologist Marcel Mauss. Both books cover the topic of reciprocity and gift exchange.

    I often wish I could find someone to help me figure out what my dreams mean, give me all the answers, to help everything make sense. But then I came to the realization that I had to determine the meaning myself, that anyone else’s interpretation would unavoidably be colored by that person’s own perceptions.

    That doesn’t mean it isn’t good to talk about our dreams 🙂 They are so rich with information, and are a great source to fuel creativity.

    By the way, The Matrix is one of my favorite movies. I actually got this weird feeling when I first started reading your post that your dream was going to be related to my odd dream last night. But, it wasn’t.

    I’m oddly chatty this morning…I could go on about that scene with the chocolate chip cookie, but I just heard the clothes dryer ding. Off to my chores!

    Thanks for sharing your dream with us, Viv!

    Comment by shelleymhouse | January 19, 2009

  7. I’ve often said, Shelley, that dream interpretation often tell us more about the interpreter than the dream. You are right, of course, that ultimately it must be our own views of what the dream was about that matter most.
    You got me wondering about your dream and also the choc chip cookie, though!

    Comment by viv66 | January 19, 2009

  8. I thought about your comment about vivid dreams about rivers, Shelley and it made me remember that I had a sequence of vivid and disturbing dreams about the sea, in the year or so before we came here(3 years ago ish) often involving a massive wave that heads to shore and me being unable to escape its onslaught.
    But in the last year or so, those dreams have dropped away and have been replaced more and more by travelling dreams, which isn’t surprising as my job involves a lot of travelling. I dream about rivers only very occasionally, but it is always meaningful when I do>
    I dreamed once about the Thunderbeings once and woke up feeling very strange indeed.
    Also, regarding your book, I have been thinking about some music that reminds me of the opening chapter, but I can’t think of a way to convey it to you. Hmm, will have to work on that…

    Comment by viv66 | January 19, 2009

  9. I normally don’t like dreams interpretations. I have studied my owns so many years that I know with certainty that it is a very complexe field.
    I agree that often “dream interpretation often tell us more about the interpreter than the dream.”
    If it is true here in the case of Kevin’s interpretation, what would you believe, Viv, that it says about him?

    I reject even more the own interpretations (except in case of trivial dreams) because of the devil’s circle effect. We will interpret in our dreams what we want (or even don’t want). And we all want a wonderful exciting life, so if we can’t have it in our daily life, so at least we will try to interpret our dreams in a way which makes us believe we have a very exciting life in our dreams. I have always noticed that in the moment we try to tell our dreams, we add a little be up to it… to make it look more extraordinary, or more logical… this means the telling itself is already an interpretation, I believe…

    We will also search for the messages we need or wish.
    For me dream interpretation is much too arbitrary. I can’t really take it seriously.
    But I surely take dreams seriously, perhaps even more than reality. They are for me the expression of our real natural selves, they show our true personalities.
    At least I believe that. And even this belief is arbitrary, and above all, lacks of humility, because:
    how could we really know????

    I deeply enjoyed to read your dream, Viv, and I can only hope you will share many of them with us. I might make an effort in this direction myself… I have been a great dreamer, and somewhere in this world I have thousands of handwritten pages filled with VERY odd dreams… I so much wished I could find them back…

    I surely had some impulsive thoughts while I read your dream, one can’t help to have an interpretation, somehow.
    As far as I remember I thought:
    Viv is lost in her daily life
    she does not know where she belongs, where her home is
    she feels persecuted, kind of
    she is very lonely
    she is trying to free herself
    she is going new ways and is scared

    This was very spontaneous, and I myself don’t give much importance to this interpretation…

    Comment by Miki | January 19, 2009

  10. Spontaneous is good, Miki.
    That resonates, and that, like tastes in writing and in many things, is what counts.
    One funny thing I realised during the day was that the river reminded me of one of the worst days of my life, and certainly the worst day of my working life so far. I speak of Flatford Mill and Awful Annie, the Frenchwoman from hell sent to test my every nerve and all my patience, last May.
    I may write up this tale of woe to cauterise the wounds…ha, I am laughing(sort of!)
    I agree also about the devil’s circle effect, which is why I do sometimes ask for outside input.

    Comment by viv66 | January 19, 2009

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