In my dream, the Sardine and I are walking together in some sort of murky underworld. I find it hard to pin down any features, as the world seems to slide away when I look at it. I find that if I look sideways, just out of the corner of my eye, sometimes I see strange, twisted trees and misshapen rocks. Everything is grey and foggy around us, and the path seems to be made of oystershell, or maybe bone, so it cracks underneath our feet. It is cold and clammy, a dark chill.
Either I have grown very small or the Sardine has grown very large.
We do not talk, the Sardine and I, as we pick our way along the path, but we are hand in hand.
I am reminded of the scene in The Horse and His Boy, when one of the characters walks through the fog and the darkness with Aslan by his side. Unbeknownst to the character, Aslan stands between him and a great abyss, ensuring that he will not fall while the two discuss philosophy, and right and wrong.
“‘Who are you?’ asked Shasta.
‘Myself,’ said the Voice, very clear and low so that the earth shook: and again ‘Myself,’ loud and clear and gay: and then the third time ‘Myself,’ whispered so softly you could hardly hear it…”
The Sardine does not appear to be afraid, and I wonder why I am afraid. Of the darkness? The cold? The slippery world which defies my quest for boundaries and hard, crisp edges which I can grasp? I think, in the dream, that I am afraid because I think that we may be the last people on Earth, but I am not sure, because this dream seems to be confused with other dreams, like bright ribbons of fortune cookies kept in a keepsake jar.
The smart thing to do is to start trusting your intuition.
My intuition says that this is my dream, and therefore I ought to possess some measure of control over it. I wonder if I can will color and shapes into being, or if some greater danger will be revealed if I brush the fog away. Is it better to live in a cloud of uncertainty, or in a harsh light of reality?
“Perch,” I say. “Tuna. Salmon. Monkfish. Squid.”
“Yes,” says the Sardine, and then the fog is melting away and I have slipped into consciousness. Dreams always feel so insubstantial and meaningless when you wake up, despite the fact that they may have terrified you or felt heavy with symbolism. Upon committing them to paper, they seem even smaller and less important. The note in my dream diary says:
“sardine. Fog/squid? Narnia,
Dante,, seashell/bone path. Very grey, myself, Myself. mirrors [or maybe minnows, my handwriting is challenging to read at the best of times], reality vrs. blissful ignorance.”
As I think on my dreams during the day, I find that they change. Is this because my mind slowly fleshes out the gaps in order to create artificial bridges of meaning, or because my mind remembers? Sometimes I find the memory of a dream strongly triggered by something like a scent, a sound, or a sudden moment, like deja vu with pieces of a puzzle clicking together. Sometimes this happens at awkward moments, and I feel like I have gone away for an instant. I wonder if people notice, or if a moment which feels like an eternity is really just a few seconds?