Sunday 21 May 2017

Dreamscape: The dream-wake

In what looked like a generation ago, we had a dog, a bitch, a canine with an aggressive feline temperament, she was big and fierce, masterly in territorial presence, a terror to the unwary.
She came to us a matriarch from family friends who had moved into town but without the space in which to keep her.
We had an expansive compound, high walls and sturdy gates, we accepted her into the household with rules that indicated an apparent lack of discipline from her former home. She came with an appellation, the name Winnie.
The taming of Winnie
I became the ringmaster to inculcate the better habit of dog friendliness in here because she had become a demigod to serve with trembling and never to be approached when eating. An infringement of that unwritten rule risked giving a digit or a limb to Winnie for her dessert. That was unacceptable behaviour in our household.
At one time, she nicked the head of the household’s finger as he tried to remove a fish bone from her food bowl, that called for an intervention and it was immediate.
Soon, she delivered a litter of puppies, but Winnie had no maternal instinct, we could not help the distressed puppies and within a week the whole litter of five died.
However, as a guard dog, she was menacing, even if when I took her for a walk, the looks from some of the neighbourhood signified a meal. As she protected us, we had to protect her, she was a well-loved family pet.
The mystification of Winnie
It transpired that one Saturday morning as we all were having a lie-in, I was in REM sleep, the subject of my dreams was telling off workers across the road from us where a building was being constructed for disturbing our peace. Our compound had the building materials and each time they needed stuff, they would knock on the gates for us to not only let them in but out of fear of Winnie, they would not access the compound until one of us had Winnie on a leash.
Into my dreamy existence came the rattling of the gate with a bit of hollering to have Winnie curtailed. My aunt, woken from slumber at the same time got up just as I did, she was going to give the workers a stern talking to, but since I was already on the roll from within my dreamscape, I asked her to let me deal with the situation.
If my words did not strike terror in the workers, they were left in no doubt that any other slight disturbance from them again would have them fed to my dog. They were warned once and it never happened again.
The dream-wake
This kind of arousal from dreaminess into wakefulness with a continuation of the same theme of the dream is what I have called a ‘dream-wake’. I had one such dream-wake today when having had a night of insomnia, it was well into the morning before I got some much-needed sleep.
In my dream, I had rushed to the train station to catch a train with just a few minutes to spare. There was a queue of undecided customers in front of me buying tickets and asking questions as I fidgeted about getting a ticket and making it to the right platform. When I was finally attended to, the train was pulling into the station and I had to go up a footbridge to board the train, I never really go on the train because I was suddenly aroused and awake.
In my wakefulness, I looked at my watch and almost panicked; my train was in 25 minutes and I have not even packed my bag, in fact, there were so many things to do. Empty the washing machine, take out the rubbish, turn off the water mains, lighten my baggage because I was having a short week away and I could not afford to forget some essentials for my journey. Luckily, I had picked up my tickets from Friday night, so I only had to make it to the station, some 5 minutes away and get my stuff to the right platform.
Phew! I made it
There was no time to waste, I unloaded the washing machine, jettisoned one suit, packed my bag, forgetting to take out the rubbish or turn off the tap, I was out of the house with just 13 minutes to spare. Panting like I had just done a marathon unprepared, I got to the station, with all the heft I had, carried my baggage up the stairs rather than wait to use the lifts at the far end of the platform and only had to wait 2 minutes for the train.
Thankfully, I could choose one of two stations to board the train and the easier one did not require a labyrinthic journey to the platform. I had to board that train to make a connecting train just under an hour away. My ticket had restrictions that meant I had to be on the particularly booked trains or I risked a full fare penalty.
I made both trains, but the dream-wake experience must have been the subconscious saving me the accident of misfortune at great cost. Whilst I do not seek meanings to my sometimes vivid dreams, I do not ignore the simple lessons, insights, warnings or triggers the dreams offer in terms of preservation, information and caution. Without my dream-wake, I would have been left in dire straits.

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