A Midsummer Night's Dream

I've never been the type of person to give a whole lot of credit to my dreams. While I know many people spend countless hours contemplating the odd events that occur in the brain in the wee hours of the night, this pursuit has always seemed to me a bit futile by nature.

I recently dreamt, for instance, that I fell off a roof feet first, grappled frantically with a handkerchief to use as a parachute, and at the very last moment when I was certain I was going to die I landed softly in a body of water. My rationale tells me that this set of events is indicative of a whole range of internal issues I regularly face starting with insecurity and ending with resourcefulness. But then how do you explain the dream I had shortly thereafter in which (please excuse my inability to say this in a more genteel manner) I pooped out a pair of mismatched shoes and a rotisserie chicken? I simply can't come up with a good explanation for that.

Over the course of the last week however, some rather compelling dreams have led me to rethink my approach to the workings of the sleeping subconscious. I had a series of three dreams each in a different setting with completely normal yet varying circumstances, and all three as equally uneventful...except for one thing. In each one of the dreams I was happily married to a person I have never seen in my life. And I stress that in each of the dreams it was the same exact person, looking and acting in precisely the same way he had in the preceding dreams. Who is this mystery man and why did he suddenly appear?

As you well know there are many great philosophers, theorists, poets and artists that have weighed in on this issue from Aristotle to Dali. After having brushed up on a few of their various opinions in order to find my answer, I felt even more confused than I did when I started.

If Sigmund Freud is right, for example, then our dreams are simply a means for wish-fulfillment. But Christopher Riche Evans and Edgar Arthur Newman theorized that dreams are our brains way of tidying the mind, moving short term memory into the long term file, and has nothing to do with our desires. Then Francis Crick and Graeme Mitchison came along and countered that while dreams are a way of cleaning house it’s actually our brain’s way of completely erasing unnecessary memories that clog our neocortex (don’t even get me started on my neocortex).

I have a friend who believes in reincarnation that once told me that recurring dreams are visions of things that have already happened. And while I have yet to reach a decision about the particular subject of reincarnation, my optimism leaves me hoping that my dream is instead an omen of happy things to come (which happens to be the least discussed option).

I told one of my sisters about all this last night and she exclaimed that it must be the week of dreams. Not only had she had some vivid and strange dreams, but her friends had too [I often remember my dreams, but she noted that she rarely does so this was a departure from the norm]. It was then that my internal ancestral pagan nudged me in the ribs and I casually noted that perhaps it had something to do with the summer solstice.

Whether or not my happy dreams have anything to do with what already happened, or things to come, whether they’re a reflection of a romantic wish I carry or simply my mind in the process of defragmenting, I have reached my own lovely conclusion that leaves me feeling settled on the matter. The weather is warm, there is a lovely breeze, the waxing crescent moon will rise tonight to compliment the bright gleam of Venus in the western sky, and summer is embracing us once more – I believe I simply had midsummer night’s dreams.