It'll be interesting (to me at least) to see if I can manage to explain this without getting myself wrapped up in knots, or leaving myself sounding like I need to take a very long lie down in a darkened room. I'm not at all satisfied with how I've written this but I'm posting it all the same.
So, this is all about dreams and real life. About what goes on in my head sometimes, and finding some vivid connections with the outside world. I'll try and tell you what I mean.
My dreams (when I have them) have tended to be very strong visually, and also in terms of having quite a clearly defined sense of place: or to be more accurate, being descriptive of a certain kind of space. So much so that I often get a sense of what I assume might be described as deja vu, say when I enter a room or building, or external space for the first time. I'm definitely not saying it is deja vu though, I'm just trying to put across how strongly evocative the feeling is.
I remember three particular dreams from childhood, and when I recall one of them I always recall the other two. They're primarily visual, and full of a very loaded kind of atmosphere that is difficult to describe, so I know damn well I'll never do them justice with words. In fact, I've done drawing after drawing and painting after painting trying to capture the atmosphere of two of them in different ways (I've not gone as far as the guy in Close Encounters, I've never tried to sculpt them out of mashed potato).
Still, I'll give a very basic, cursory explanation of them. The first one was of a long road, slightly curved, and stretching into the distance in either direction. It was wide enough for a central reservation, on which I and a few other people stood. On the reservation was a curious structure, almost like scaffolding, with a couple of platforms on it. It was a beautiful late evening in summer, and everyone was in silhouette against the deep golden glow of what seemed like an eternal sunset. The atmosphere seemed to be one of timelessness - the road stretching on forever, the evening not getting any later. A sense of stillness prevailed, although there was constant flux due to cars passing and heading into the distance: this distance, what lay over the horizon, seemed mysterious and tantalizing.
The second dream revisited this from a slightly different perspective - that of me looking upon the scene more as an observer rather than a participant. The two were intricately linked though.
Aged 18 I was doing a lot of photography and stumbled, one summer evening, across a dual carriageway stretching through the countryside near home. Here was that startling effect then, since it immediately linked me with the atmosphere and space of that first dream. The late evening light, the strangely complementary feelings of stillness and motion. I stood there for ages, no doubt looking a bit odd since I remained there on the central reservation for a good while, trying to take in this huge sense of resonance.
A couple of weeks later I was out taking photographs again, and had a friend in tow. I was telling him about all this (and he was wondering what the hell I was on about), and in my enthusiasm I took him to where it had struck me as I just described. As I stood there prattling on, I suddenly felt the same strong connection to the second dream, since here I was acting more as an observer, and from a slightly different angle. Not that I told my mate about this, he thought I was mad enough already.
Now I'm not trying to suggest any element of precognition to the above. I'm sceptical about such things. For me it's more about happening upon the kind of places or events which one has a predisposition towards. Not the best analogy here, but I see it in the same way that you can meet someone and feel like you've known them for years; or the way that a few notes of music can completely change your mood and demand your whole attention, because they connect with something within you.
If they carry any meaning I think it will be within the realms of the purely personal and symbolic, rather than carrying any objective truth.
The third dream was different: it had a similar atmosphere, the golden glow of the late evening sun and what have you, but it was in an entirely different place. It was more of an urban space, a number of tall, shiny, glass buildings quite close together in a certain formation. Another link is the scaffolding-type structure which was evoked this time in the buildings themselves. As with the other two dreams, it has remained with me since childhood. It too has an atmosphere, something very loaded, which is hard to describe.
A couple of weeks ago I was walking through town on my way home from work, and suddenly found myself looking up at a spot where some building work is in a state of near-completion. Once again things suddenly slotted into place: the space created by this building and the ones which loom nearby, are immediately and vividly evocative, and I now cannot walk there without this other dream coming straight to mind. It's just as startling, and it's odd to have something trigger off a recollection of the workings of my subconscious mind stretching back more than three decades.
Like I say, it may be silly looking for any objective meaning in this, but I'm still bound to wonder about it on a personal or symbolic level. As I wander through there I wonder why this place carries such a resonance, why I've only just become aware of it, and whether I can do anything useful with that information.