Thursday, October 08, 2009


Dreams are fascinating to me. Even the strange and twisted ones. Where do they come from? Why do we have them? What do they mean? And why is it that sometimes we remember them so vividly when we first wake up only to lose their detail with each breath we take until they are completely wiped away. Yet there are others we recall almost exactly as we dreamed them, even years later.

Sometimes, I can slip into a dream state quickly, almost immediately after I close my eyes. A short nap on the couch or falling asleep again after waking up on a Saturday morning can often produce dreams the moment my eyes shut.

That happened to me once when deer hunting. After waking up at 4am, getting to the woods before dawn and seeing nothing at all that chilly November morning, the lack of substantial sleep the night before finally seized hold of me. I closed my eyes briefly, seconds really, but sounds got distant, the world went gray and I could feel myself drifting off. Just so you know, I was not up in a tree stand where this would have presented a great danger of falling. I was sitting on the ground on a hillside with my back propped up against a small tree.

As I said, my eyes were closed for just a few seconds, fifteen or twenty at the most. When I popped them open again, I had the very real and distinct impression I was in Germany. It was World War II and I had been assigned a forward position as a sniper sent to distract and confuse the enemy while our own thin troop levels could organize as best they could for a full assault. The 30-30 in my lap looked like a bolt-action M-1 and my insulated Walls coveralls looked like military fatigues. I could clearly make out the sound of several enemy troops working through the brush in front of me and my heart raced as if my job assignment was about to be fulfilled.

Keep in mind, I was fully awake as I saw and heard these things and had only moments before not slept, just felt myself drifting toward sleep. It was a struggle to convince myself I was in Carthage, Missouri and not in some battlefield in Germany. As I traversed time and my mind returned to the hunting day at hand, I could still hear the troops moving in the woods although they seemed further away and my drab green uniform was beginning to tan again.

You might think I'd say that the sound of marching troops was nothing more than an approaching deer which would be a nice, although predictable, twist in this story. But the deer were not moving and Damion, who was with me that morning, made no reaction that would indicate he had seen or heard anything. Squirrels had not yet descended trees in search of food and the raccoons had long before left their nighttime tree perches and wandered off.

I can't say what it was that made me have that experience. I had not watched any war movies anytime immediately or even distantly prior, nor had I been influenced by noises or sights around me at the time. It was more like two different time periods somehow intersected briefly on that hillside, and apparently only on my side of the hill as Damion never said he felt anything similar unless, of course, he isn't saying.

Perhaps this was an experience from a previous life, which would mean I would have to believe in reincarnation and while I admit that could happen, I am not certain I am convinced it does. If it was a throwback to a previous life, I had been sent to conduct a dangerous mission without a high probability of a successful outcome for me, which makes the dream a bit more like a nightmare.

Then again, it may have simply been a firing of synapses in my brain triggered by an overactive writer's imagination and a fully engaged subconscious mixed with some very sleepy eyes.

You choose the ending to this story.