I have a very rare gift in that I can often remember my dreams after I wake up. A lot of times they will fade quickly but leave me with residual feelings that can, and do, affect me all day long. If I have a particularly vivid dream, I try very hard to get it down on paper so that I can always remember it, and I have quite a few of them written down, including 2 notebooks I unearthed in a storage box that contains about a year or more's worth of dreams I had while I was in high school, b/c they are all dated from 1978 to the early 80's. Reading them brings them all back to me very vividly. My nightly ritual back then was to get all ready for bed, put "One Summer Dream" by ELO on the turntable, turn off the lights, get into bed and that would be the last song/thing I would hear before falling asleep and it always delivered vivid and surreal dreams that I would write in the notebook as soon as I woke up.
I know that dreams are a way to process unresolved issues. I have recurring dreams over and over again, that center on where I grew up and the people with whom I grew up. For example, if I have a dream about elementary school, the kids in the dream are the ones that attended school in my town only for a year or two. I rarely, if ever, dream about the people with whom I have remained friends, because I know where they are and what they are up to. But whatever happened to the kids who I befriended and who then moved away? There was no way of knowing where my classmates were moving because there was no internet to keep track of anyone. I still wonder what happened to those kids.
I have been tortured, and yes I do mean tortured, by dreams I have, representing so many unresolved issues from my childhood on the Cape, that I hate having them. There are recurring dreams that I like a lot, even love, but the ones that take place in and around my childhood home and that end of my street are always somewhat troubling. If I decide to follow through on having a private and invite-only "dream blog", I will pour out the details of those dreams, but in public I prefer to keep them to myself. I am very in tune with my dreams because I have been writing them down and mulling them over to try to find the source of the dream's very odd subject matter. Oh, I should mention that my dreams are very surreal and always with a sinisterness lurking in some element that just isn't quite right at all. All I will say is that what I call 'the midnight sun at mom's house' dreams are among the most sinister I have, and it is because of those dreams that I could never live in Alaska because to actually have a midnight sun would be a horrible thing for me to have to deal with in real life as well as in my dreams.
Dream-processing my dad's death from lung cancer was where I hit all the stages of grief. I don't remember working through the stages in my conscious, every day life. But I got hit hard every time I had a dream about him. I went through a period of time in about 2005, 2 years after he died, where my dreams found me over the top, seeing red, pissed off, completely furious with him, no matter how nice he was being to me in the dream. I was just being so hateful to him. Hmm. Anger stage much? Cause yeah, I was pretty damn angry about the way his health was handled and how quickly he died from the date of diagnosis. And even more angry about the fact that he died.
My favourite recurring dreams have to do with beach combing, usually on Spring Hill Beach in East Sandwich, a place that has always been very special to me and which I find myself longing for, the older I get. I remember doing the whole 'if i won the lottery thing' not too long ago, and I thought to myself that I'd like buy a vacation cottage on Spring Hill. What's this? Me? Longing for a place on Cape Cod? In my hometown? A place I swore I would never return? In those beach combing dreams I'm at my parents' old cottage, and I only venture between the jetty breakwater that was in front of their cottage and the jetty breakwaters further down the beach on either side of ours. Instead of finding cool shells and rocks, my dream-treasure consists of beautiful venetian glass vases, spun glass, art glass, all kinds of cool and colourful glass objects. Tons of them. Sometimes Christopher Radko-like ornaments too. I greedily pull each one out of the sand and stuff them in a big bag.
I spent so many wonderful, childhood days at that place. Is my recurring dream telling me that the beautiful treasure that I desire so much is to live near, or own a cottage on, Spring Hill Beach? Maybe like the one my dad used to own? (That one, unfortunately, was torn down by the guy that my dad sold it to, and he built a 3 story house on the lot. It broke my heart).
When I was young, I always thought I would be able to completely sever all ties to Cape Cod by moving west. I swore that once my parents were gone, I would sell their house and never return to visit, nor would I ever look back. In essence, turning my back on, and shunning, Sandwich and my life growing up there. As it turns out, and much to my complete and utter surprise, I cannot do that. My dreams won't let me. I've lived on the west coast for nearly 22 years, but I visit the east coast almost nightly after I fall asleep. It's not quite so easy to shake one's hometown and past, especially if you've grown up in a small town like Sandwich, which truly was a great place to live back then. And over and above that, I can't shake the people from my past either, and I don't want to. I can't. I won't. You can run, but you can't hide, from your past. Am I glad that I moved west? Absolutely. I've had a blast out here for sure. It's a beautiful place to live and I have had the most amazing experiences. No regrets.
My dreams are in overdrive now, except now I'm starting to process Washington State AND Cape Cod at the same time. It's overwhelming, but I can't turn away from it or hide from it. I have to let it work itself out that way. So it's off to sleepy dreamland now, to see where I go tonight.