|waterfall (Photo credit: 3sth3r)|
I seem to be on vacation perhaps with a tour group. Some of the people in the group I know, while there are others who are not familiar to me. We are traveling in a bus or some similarly large vehicle.
Where my clearer memory of the dream begins, our group stops at a small town where we disembark and begin a walking tour. At first I think we are in Kansas, but the very large mountains not too far away indicate otherwise. I am sure this is not Kansas. I am puzzled as to why I was convinced that it was and try to figure out where we are.
The town is very quiet and very few townspeople can be seen. Our tour group walks through the town. The place seems familiar to me. We suddenly come to a huge opening in the ground which I first think is a canyon. A sort of waterfall cascades below into the depths of this place. As I study the scene I note that the waterfall and the entire opening appears to be man-made as though it had once been a massive open pit mine. There is much lush greenery in this chasm and this makes me think that if it were an open-pit mine, it has been out of use for quite some time. To get a better few of the "waterfall" I go to another part of the chasm rim which is very grassy and wet. The ground looks very unstable so I back away so as not to fall into the chasm. I realize that despite the beauty of the appearance, this place is very hazardous.
Our group now begins to return to the town and the tour vehicle. We now seem to be in the hallway of my mothers house making our way to our destination. At first the hallway seems to be very normal, but then it seems to be quite long. There are rooms with open doors to my left. I look in the first room and see that there is an older person in a bed. As I continue I don't look directly into any of the other rooms, but out of the corner of my field of vision I can see all of the rooms have old people in beds. This seems to be a hospital or a retirement home. To my right, the wall is opened to the outside where I can see the chasm and the distant mountains which tower against a blue sky with wintry white cloud puffs hanging over snow-capped peaks.
We are suddenly in the town again walking toward the tour vehicle.
At this point I awaken, puzzled by the dream. For some reason a country song is running through my mind. It seems to be related to the dream or inspired by it. It's almost like I was hearing the song in the dream as I was waking up. Since it's a good sounding song I intend to write it down, but I don't and soon it is lost to me. I realize this dream seemed to jump from scene to scene rather than have a logical continuity of movement.
Sudden Dream Setting Changes: Why Do They Occur?
The sudden shift in setting is a common occurrence among dreamers. What I refer to is the effect of being in one place and then suddenly another without any apparent reason for the change in location. Often the dreamer may notice the change, but accept it to be something normal. Sometimes the dreamer's mind may wonder about the scene shift, but rarely does the dreamer make note of the change or protest the change in any way. The occurrence is merely an accepted part of the dream environment.
Typically this scene shift will happen as the dreamer is en route from one location to another. In this case it may be an abbreviation of dream time of sorts in order to move the transition more rapidly within the dream events. At other occasions the dreamer may be in a place and the scene will just suddenly change without any sort of act of travel.
Why would this shift occur? As stated above, this may be an abbreviation of time within the dream to move the action along at a quicker pace. Then again, considering that the dream is most likely a form of subconscious thought, the shift may be nothing more than a distraction in the sense of changing one's train of thought, free association, or being misdirected by stimuli from another source. It may be the mind working as it normally does.
On the other hand, the shift could be an illusion of memory. Perhaps after waking we only think there were sudden shifts because we are remembering with a fault. We vividly recall the highlights, but the details have faded. Compare the dream experience to a sequence of events in waking life--a vacation say, or a day at work. While we were actually experiencing the time our minds would focus on things of greater interest while minimizing the data that seemed unimportant or of little interest to us. Later, upon recollection or recounting the events to another, we would draw only upon highlights and in doing so the timeline might sometimes appear to jump from one scene or circumstance to another.
For me the latter explanation is credible. However, I would tend to believe the theory of the dream as thought to be the better explanation. Since dreaming seems to be primarily a mental process, it's seems logical that the mind would work in similar ways in sleep as it would in wakefulness.
What do you think? Why would dream scenes suddenly change during a dream? Are our dreams like a magic and illusion show, full of smoke and mirrors and misdirection? Have you had the time/scene shift experience in your dreams? How about in real life?