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Monday, May 31, 2010
On Dreams, Waking
For the most part, I no longer dream when I sleep. Gone are the nocturnal adventures of flying Superman-like around familiar places or walking down the middle school hall in tighty-whiteys. Gone is the house I grew up in transported to another time and place and being laid out differently. Gone is the running from or battling gangs or monsters. Gone are the falling dreams and gone are the subconscious hook-up sessions that leave you confused upon waking.
Sometimes I miss dreaming. But it cruised out of town in a land speeder with sound sleep, which is another thing missing at night.
Usually though, I don't miss dreaming at night because I have always more than made up for it with dreams during the day. My mind has been known to wander locally, continentally, internationally, globally, celestially, with little or no cue.
Geographically my mind is often led to places like England's Lake District or anywhere around New Zealand. The Hawaii of Merwin and Jack Johnson and the H.U.R.T. trail races. Mountain monasteries in France and half-conjured ponderings of Inca civilization in South America.
Sometimes my mind is immersed thru-hiking sections of the Appalachian Trail or drools at the Trans-Rockies or Trans-Alpine Runs and others it hangs with a pint at the Eagle and Child Pub where Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams gabbed together.
The obvious cues to kick-start these mental travels are books, magazines and movies--pilgrimage porn that cannonballs the mind to their documented destination.
Museums have been known to hotwire a journey as has music. In Chicago, within a few blocks you can meander through the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, and Art Institute, which give you any number of vehicles to transcend time and space (no flux capacitor required).
But I find that I don't need much in the way of external prompts. It might be taking a different route to get to a familiar destination. Or going for a long run.
When solo runs peek over 20 miles they can turn into sufferfests for me. I've discussed the reasons I run here before, but certainly the mind-freeing/sweat lodge style transcendence sometimes necessary on a long run has to fit in there as well. Daydreaming moves beyond opportunity to straight necessity. A wandering mind is a means of survival, trying to will distraction to reality in order to dull the pain.
This is a long-winded, winding path to where my mind started out this morning--where dreams and will meet. That itch or impulse to act on a dream, to will it into reality. To bring a fantastic notion, through vision, planning, work, into something you make happen.
And that's where I like to spend my time and mind: on making something out of my waking dreams.