Last night I fell asleep early and slept a hard, lousy sleep. The kind of sleep of the half-dead wandering in the wilderness forty years, finally felled to respite on a stone tablet of some sort. Sleep that in some ways may be the best after forty waking years, but is colored by resting one’s temple directly on unforgiving rock.
As one might expect from such sleep (or from me, at least), there were dreams. Several of them were far-ranging colorful swirls of mayhem, but the last two were calmer, more sober, and vividly memorable.
The first was set in an igloo, starring documentarian Morgan Spurlock and his wife, who were presumably spending the next thirty days living there. I got inside the igloo and immediately realized how enclosing the space felt, how solid and impenetrable the iceblock walls. It immediately occurred to me: “If someone wanted to kill you, all they’d have to do is block up the entrance with snow, right?”
Morgan and Alex laughed and shrugged this off, and I pointed out something about having a backup ventilation system, like a chimney. They mentioned that the howling winds of the Arctic (we’re in the Arctic, interesting) make the cross-flow of air from two openings unbearably cold. They seemed really nervous when I went out to go to the bathroom and I assume got more so (I guess I sort of somehow knew they were getting more nervous in the dream, even though I couldn’t see them) when I took my time getting back. They were worried I was thinking about blocking up the igloo once they fell asleep, but really I was just afraid of going back in and making myself vulnerable to someone else doing the same.
The second dream was more concretely explicable and pretty much impossible to misinterpret. I was at a fair or festival of some kind with friends who felt vaguely close and comfortable, but who I could never quite identify or see. There was a handmade sign for horse-riding and people asked if I wanted to go. Why not? How hard could it be?
So we clamored up on horses, but one of my friends wanted to walk alongside me rather than board a horse himself (I could somehow detect his gender). He expressed concern for my safety. I got some aerial views of the parade ground for the horses as we were all marching in a line, feeling vaguely reminiscent of mules in the Grand Canyon (without the precipitous drops or elevation changes of any sort). Then back to first-person, whereon I was having a great time, but kept sliding forward in my saddle. Which somehow moved me not towards the mane of the beast, but toward the tail. I was facing the wrong way on the horse, but it was still moving in the direction I was facing. And this didn’t yet occur to me as the slightest bit odd, it was just frustrating that I kept getting jostled forward (backward on the horse that was walking backward), almost thrown over its rear.
Finally we came to some sort of traffic jam, wherein horses all held up and whinnied a bit at the sudden stoppage. My horse reared up on its forelegs, almost pitching me backwards and off, then did the opposite and almost ditched me the other way. I was clinging to nothing (there had never been any reigns) but somehow holding on while my friend insistently urged me to dismount before I got hurt. It occurred to me that people could be seriously injured or even killed by getting thrown from a horse and I had never once really internalized the danger of this process, especially since my horse now seemed to be utterly out of control. This feeling felt exactly like realizing I could be blocked up and asphyxiated in an igloo, and I woke up having somehow tied these twin realizations in a knot of new fear of the world around me.