The interpretation of dreams

The interpretation of dreams I have three dreams which have stayed with me in all their vivid monochrome simplicity through the years.

There is the rare but recurring one, which wakes me up in the night. I am driving at speed along a mountain road, a sheer drop to the side, the view a haze. I lose control as I turn the corner, and it is the stomach churning horror of certain catastrophe which drags me awake when the front tyres leave the road.

In my twenties, after many months of struggling in a deep black dreamless place following the sudden death of my boyfriend, I woke to an easing of the grief after a night’s dreaming. I wrote what I remembered of it down, as it seemed important to me. I feel the need to preface this next part by saying that I am an atheist, although a believer in gods might choose to interpret this otherwise:

“We queued quietly and calmly – there were many of us – outside the entrance of the cave that we all knew led to where we were to die. Each of us had muslin that we were to bind around our bodies, and each had a special thickened pad that would cover our faces. We weren’t frightened because we knew what we were going to. Once inside, we found passages that led to caves, and from these passages led onto further caves. There were people sitting quietly, waiting at the edges – occasionally there would be one small swathed body. We looked for somewhere to be alone. And then suddenly we were out in the light again, on a great terrace made of stone, and we knew that there was life, and we wanted to go back. But we couldn’t, it was too late, so once more we made our way back to the terrace, and we were happy”.

My third dream is from very early on, I may have been as young as six or seven. I have a snapshot memory of crouching and running along the ground in the dark, dodging fire, and trying to help people to safety. The ground was an enormous airport runway, possibly in a foreign country. I felt as if I was looking into the future.

Belief in love and hope. Fear of falling or failing. Being part of a community. The terror behind everything. Freud did a good job of waking us up to the possibilities of interpreting our own dreams.

I was reminded of the runway dream on Tuesday when J and I had to walk from our plane to the terminal at Luton Airport. I always feel a light frisson of anxiety when I have to do this, trying to make sense of hieroglyphic markings on the ground, aware of planes and baggage trucks moving around us, dependent on the arm waving airport staff as they guide us to the terminal doors. Behind the anxiety is the dream.

This time though, the dream was pushed back into my subconscious by a curious sight. J was the first to spot her. “It’s Silvana, Mum”. Then again “Look, it’s Silvana”. I turned to see our cleaner, hurrying across the tarmac, accompanied by a member of the airport staff, heading in the direction we had just come from. I was bemused, a little shocked, back in the moment, asking myself questions.

Exactly as if I had just that moment woken from a dream.



  1. This is a nice piece with a dangerously mysterious last moment. Do we get a resolution sometime?

    1. Thank you Peter. It is in fact still a mystery to me…. No word from her!

  2. That’s an interesting post. No doubt one of your dreams will weave into mine now I have read it 🙂 I regularly dream I can fly, and I did last night, but I kept having a swerve to the left which took me further and further from my destination.

    1. Oh my, I wish I dreamt I could fly. How exhilarating! May you have a good smooth tailwind for your forthcoming flight(s) to Europe, and the projects you plan while you are over here. No swerving allowed 🙂
      Also, thank you so much for tagging me in the Writing Process Tour – I am thrilled though a little daunted. You set the benchmark very high at !

  3. locksands · · Reply

    I virtually never have dreams I can remember but I can feel so sad about your lost boyfriend. But I feel life has turned out well for you.

    1. Thank you, it was a hard time, and life transforming in its own way for me. But you are right, although this is not how I envisioned my life when I was in my twenties, I would not have it any other way. Very happy!

      1. locksands · · Reply

        My sister died last night after a long drawn out fight with cancer. No real shock involved, but still a sort of numb emptiness. Three cheers for grandchildren I say.

        1. I am so sorry to read this. You always write about your family with such warmth and generosity and this will be tough for you I am sure. It is marvellous though that you can celebrate new life with the birth of your new granddaughter in the midst of this. Such highs and lows. Isobel x

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