Dream On: of anxieties and aspirations
(With thanks to Jane (airyfairy))
Yesterday I attended a meeting in Sheffield which is a seven hour train trip away from my home town. I travelled north on Sunday and write this as I travel home today. The two night stay in a comfy, if slightly faded hotel, was fine even though the images on the limited-channel TV were grainy to say the least and the pillows not quite scrunchy enough.
Last night I had a dream. I’ve been dreaming quite regularly recently. I’m no expert but I appreciate that these night-time adventures are sometimes an expression of day-time anxiety. In my dream I was travelling to Falmouth (home) from Sheffield and at the beginning of my journey boarded the wrong train. I didn’t realise for a while and when I did nobody on the train was able to tell me where we were going. In the next scene – I generally experience dreams as films that I’m part of and watching at the same time – I’m on a coach which arrived at a village green (somewhere, anywhere) as light rain began to fall. Why I got on the coach was not clear; especially as it is took me further away from home. The only way I could get back to the railway station was in a taxi which I booked from the barman in the village’s only pub. Having been given a pre-trip quote and receipt for £41(my dreams don't always contain such small details) my driver, who strongly resembled the seventy-something woman who served me breakfast yesterday and today, emerged from a back room and smiled at me. Just before waking my, ever-present, writer self, thought ‘well this gives me something to write about tomorrow’. Finding myself still tucked up in bed I felt too anxious – ‘churned-up’ my mum would have said – to make the most of the hour or so I had left before I needed to get up. Yet, I’m pretty sure, no certain, that it was not worries about my journey playing out in my sleeping consciousness.
As I regular traveller I’m often delayed or re-routed; have to stand and cope with broken or smelly loos; wait for minutes and hours on cold, overpopulated or desolate stations; experience mild feelings of nausea on replacement bus services and have even a couple of times got on the wrong train. I’ve always made it home safely eventually and I am resolved to not getting too upset about travel mishaps. Worrying about such misfortunes before they happen would only waste more of my time and I have and do enjoy very many journeys. Inevitably, given the amount of time I spend on the track, I’ve had a few less routine train experiences. Among the most memorable is the time I ran through several carriages in pursuit of a couple of lads who had stolen the purse of a woman sitting near me. And I’ll never forget the occasion my mum and I were travelling with my mother-in-law (then in her late eighties) who blocked the train doors with her walking frame resulting in the taxi driver and station manager having to travel with us on the 11 minute trip from Redruth to Truro and get a lift back with the transport police. There were further excitements on that journey but I’ll leave it there for now.
It was another aspect of my dream that, I feel sure, came from and stimulated further anxiety. On arrival at the unknown village I got off the coach, only then realising that I knew some of my fellow passengers. ‘Are you here for the rally?’ one asked me. I wasn’t of course and felt both disappointed and guilty that I wasn’t staying to support my comrades. Walking towards the pub I turned to see musicians and dancers arriving to join the assembling crowd; the rain and the mud clearly not putting anyone off or dampening the mood. The planned event clearly a celebration as well as campaign activity.
Anyone kind enough to read my work – including memoir, fiction and other more opinion focused pieces – will be aware of my concerns about and criticism of our current government. I have written previously, many times, about, what I, and I know many others, believe to be, rising levels of inequality and injustice in our society and about some of the attacks on those who are working hard to make things better. All this makes me anxious as does my own, strongly felt, inadequacy. My ego is not so big that I think that I can change the world. But knowing that I can’t doesn’t stop me wanting to, or stop me feeling the need to. Yesterday, I posted a piece on ABCtales highlighting my take on some of the issues that we are currently facing https://www.abctales.com/story/gletherby/way-things-have-always-been. Along with a couple of lovely cherries I received a comment from airyfairy who used the analogy of a tug-of-war to describe the tensions in the country at the moment. I found this very helpful. Last night’s dream was, I think, one manifestation of my anxiety about the political tug-of-war we find ourselves in and my small part within one of the teams.
15th January was Martin Luther King Jr Day. A day when we are reminded of other meanings of the word dream(s). In addition to being thoughts, images and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep dreams are also cherished ambitions, aspirations and ideals. And so …. I’d say… my personal struggle within and following the night-time dream reported here is a small price to pay for the aspirational dreams of a team I’m proud to be a member off.
As well as posting to ABCtales I also write a blog (where I publish some of the same pieces plus additional stuff) https://arwenackcerebrals.blogspot.co.uk/