When Weird Dreams Feel Weirdly Real

Last night I dreamed that I had been signed up to compete in a 32 mile swim. From the get-go, you'd think I'd question this, but Dream Robin accepted the assignment with minimal examination. Other swimmers showed up to the event wearing streamlined wetsuits. I wore jeans. I also wore only one shoe. Naturally.

Did I show any concern that my jeans would be heavy when submersed in water, making them a highly unsuitable clothing choice to swim 32 miles? No. Did I wonder why I had only one shoe? No. Did I at least have a sensible backstory to explain where I lost the other shoe? Also no. Despite this shocking lack of awareness, while I was standing on the bank of the nameless river waiting for my turn to jump in and start swimming, I do recall being quite upset that I didn't have a pair of goggles. I asked the swimmer beside me if there was a Wal-Mart nearby where I could buy a pair of those plastic mask goggles that cover your nose and leave an oval imprint on your face when you lift them up to clear out the fogginess. They shook their head, then looked away from me without a word.

I don't blame this dream person. I wouldn't know how to converse with me in this situation, either.

I'm not a great swimmer in real life. Technically, I'm safe enough to not drown in the deep end of a pool, but nobody's going to confuse me with a skilled open-ocean swimmer. Yet somehow, Dream Robin didn't seem daunted by this 32-mile challenge, even though I hadn't trained and only found out about the race that morning. 

In the ways that dreams morph without explanation and refuse to adhere to either reality or physics, the river ran up a mountain and then shifted into a muddy creek where the water only came to my waist. I waded this section with my arms aloft, somehow now hoisting a military bag above my head to keep it out of the water. At one point during the race, I had to float feet-first through rapids. At another point, I was required to get out of the water, hike a steep section of the Appalachian Trail, then restart swimming in the Pacific Ocean. (Geography doesn't matter in dreams, either.)

I was still in the water when my alarm went off. It's weird when you wake up tired because you were swimming all night. 

Perhaps there's some symbolism buried in this dream that pertains to my life right now. Maybe it's a strange parable about steadfastness when the waters are murky, or perseverance when the tides want to pull you under, or grit in the face of adversity, or the simple truth that progress comes with every step (or every stroke), no matter how small or tough.

Or maybe, it's just a reminder to make sure I'm wearing both shoes before I leave the house.

No comments

Back to Top