On vacation in the woods, I am trying to tune into my dreams. It’s working. I always ask my boys each morning if they had an dreams during the night, so I thought I should point that question at myself more seriously. I sleep very soundly and rarely remember my dreams. I lament the loss of spiritual spelunking that could be done in my unconscious storytelling. Here are a few things that have been helping me remember my dreams:
- I hate to admit it, but a key to my success is not reaching for the phone first thing when I wake up. The blue light of the screen zaps my brain into another world (and usually I don’t want to be there).
- I’m also getting a bit more sleep which is likely contributing. Going to bed is such a simple way to be healthy. Don’t watch another episode of Call the Midwife or just hit replay when Hamilton is over for the fourth time (Two real life scenarios).
- Walking in the woods or having some other mind clearing bodily activity. Vacation is for vacating — a kind of making empty. Is my head so full of thoughts all the time that the dreams spill out instantly before they even have a chance to be recalled?
- Writing them down. I remember more details as I attempt to recreate and order the chaotic tide of images in which dreams come. For example, a dream on Monday night featured a steam powered garage door opener which was unremarkable in the moment (as I dreamed it), and only named as such in the written recitation.
Here’s a poem I wrote about the project. It’s in Common Meter because I recently learned that all of Emily Dickinson’s poetry can be sung to the tune of the original Pokemon theme song. But don’t sing this one to that tune until I’m posthumously famous, k?
If I can remember my dreams
If I but remember my dreams
It seems the day is won,
Nothing more than to shape the scene
To feel the work is done.
The labor of the waking eye
To reach back into sleep,
To grope that inner world of mine
With fingers blind and deep.
With only touch and feel to tell
What lies behind the sun,
What rises under every swell
Of moon and mind begun.
Together in their vivid ball,
Unseen but very known,
Each swirl a pirouette of all
My heart could want me shone.
To reconstruct this darkened dance
Here on this side of night
Is stuff of vision, mystic trance.
Some kind of second sight
Remains when morning breaks the plane,
And conscious thoughts unfurl
Another day with senses trained
On only outer worlds.
Poetry and images by Ben White