Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Sense of Place Even When the Place Doesn't Make Sense

Clarksburg, West Virginia as viewed from the e...Clarksburg, West Virginia as viewed from the east on Main Street (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

         Dream locales for me are almost always peculiar when I think back on them, but I typically will accept them while in the dream and even understand what these places represent geographically.  Within the dream the places may not always seem quite right although they may seem very familiar for some reason.

         A dream version of reality is created by the subconscious.    Perhaps the setting is a symbolic representation of an idea, an emotion, or some other concept.  But what exactly does that setting represent?

         Here are three dream fragments where setting was specific at some point and seemed to be of particular significance:

         In a dream that seems to be related to work, I begin in an industrialized type of location on the outskirts of an urban area.  I am looking for something and am accompanied by my former boss and other people whom I can't remember.  As we travel--mostly on foot, but perhaps at times in vehicles--we begin wandering in a more rural setting.  It is a dusky looking time of day.  There are many trees and hills around us, but there are also homes and perhaps some small businesses which seemed to be closed.  I recall a railroad viaduct under which passes a winding road.  The place reminds me of West Virginia or a similar looking area.  Soon were are walking through a forested area in the hills.  We come to a vast canyon that is immense in its depth.  Sunlight shines upon the canyon which besides being deep is very long.  I cannot see where it ends in either direction.  I know that we need to get across, but I don't know how we can accomplish this.  I am acutely aware that we are in Mexico.

         I've forgotten the details of a more recent dream where at the end before waking up, I am aware that my wife and I are driving to a specific town in Ontario, Canada.   After wakening I almost immediately forget the dream, but I puzzle over the geographical specificity of the dream.

          When I was a senior in high school in 1969, I had a rather odd dream that I was watching television on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.  In the dream, I am watching a very strange baseball game that is taking place on the deck of a large ship--perhaps an aircraft carrier.  As I watch I seem to become transported to the actual location of the event.  I seem to be hovering above the ship watching the game.  It is night and there is a fierce storm with hard rain.  Through the darkness I see the choppy waves and the rain pouring on the baseball players.  I immediately am aware that the ship is off the coast of Alaska.   With this awareness of place I again find myself in the living room of my parents' house watching this very strange sporting event on the television. As I drift into consciousness I hear the anguished voice of the television commentator announce, "Washington is taking a beating!"

        Most of my dreams do not have any reference to actual places, which is why these three dreams stand out.  I have no idea about why the dreams are so place specific.

          Do you dream about specific places or uncertain dreamland amalgamates that seem familiar yet undetermined?    Have you had a dream where a specific geographical location was named?   Are any of your dream settings accurate representations of real places with which you are familiar?   

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  1. I don't remember most of my dreams, and when I do, they're either weird and make no sense, or boring. Like this morning, I dreamed of renting cars. Talk about uninspiring.

  2. I usually dream about problems that are in my life.....even to waking and going back and the same dream re occurs.


  3. Not often, but not exceedingly rarely either, my dreams do occur in very specific locations. I think when that happens it is quite relevant in some way (otherwise the mind wouldn't bother with such a detail) and it is begging to be interpreted somehow.

    Have you been there before, and if so, what happened? What/How did you feel there? Or does the place somehow symbolize something to you? Could a city in the Deep South represent oppression (e.g., slavery) to you? Might a city surrounded by land on all sides represent a feeling of being hemmed in or trapped? A spot on the coast means freedom? Houston represents adventure or exploration, or could it mean something of a dire nature ("Houston, we have a problem!")

    Lee, I liked your dream about the baseball game on the ship, how you start out watching it on TV; then you're observing it from above, at the actual site; and then again you're watching it on TV.

    My dreams are sometimes like that, where I pop in and out of the action and seem to be aware of it from a variety of angles or methods. Interesting!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  4. haha ! even i forget my dreams ! and at times i remember them after some days !

  5. Interesting thoughts on specific place in dreams. Often I dream that I'm in a specific place. The house I grew up in, a town I lived in or a particular part of a city or place I'm familiar with, BUT in the dream it is nothing like the real place. My dream brain accepts it as said place, but I also somehow know it is completely different. I have absolutely no idea what that's all about.

  6. Em -- Hmmm--have you been having car troubles? Maybe this is a message.

    Yvonne -- Your subconscious must be hard at work to find answers to the problems or at least reconcile your conscious with them.

    StMc -- I frequently have those in and out, different perspective dreams. It's kind of like watching a movie with different camera angles.

    Goku -- If you remember the dreams after days after initially forgetting them, then the message might be worth pondering.

    Farawayeyes -- That's me as well. I accept the place as being a place I've known even though I'm aware it's different. It's not really the same place is it? It's more like a movie location setting that recreates an actual place.


  7. Once in a while I will dream about airports and flying, but no specific locations.

  8. When I dream about a specific place, usually it doesn't look anything like it really does...I just accept that it's the right place. I've often dreamt of huge houses with secret rooms...sometimes the rooms are wonderful, but more often than not, they're filled with cobwebs and a general feeling of terror..

  9. One of my favorite people, Loren Eiseley, American anthropologist and natural science writer, said: "It is the place that matters, the place at the heart of things." We are all in some way attached to a place throughout our sojourn here on planet earth. And thus, I think it not unusual that we would have dreams involving a specific place. I still remember some dreams that occurred in my childhood years, somewhere between ages 7 or 8 and into the teen years, that involve place--several recurring ones that take place on Chadwick Street where my childhood house, though altered, still stands.

    I like this post, Lee, because it brings back memories! And thanks for stopping by and commenting on my latest post. Grandchildren, as you say, definitely do put things into perspective. I don't waste time anymore on Twitter!

  10. Paula-- Airports & flying must be something particularly important in your life, perhaps representing times of apprehension and anxiety. I've dreamed of bus stations (not sure why), but probably my work and school dreams are at par with your airport dreams.

    Eve--Aside from the rooms filled with terror, I too have those dreams of big places with many rooms. I also have dreams of places that I take to be places I know, but they are different.

    Ann--Place is so important to us. I think we all need to have a sense of roots and we attach our thoughts, hearts, and memories to that rooted place. My creative writer professor in college used to always say, "Everybody's from some place."



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