I dream constantly. After I close my eyes at night, my world becomes filled with action movies and psychedelic colours, and probably some of the most interesting storylines that have never been written. My sleep patterns have been wrecked for as long as I can remember. Besides the restless nights of tossing and turning and those when I’m up like a bolt between 2.30 and 3am without fail, there are the dream-filled, REM-filled nights, when, despite the fact that my eyes stayed shut all night, I will wake up feeling more exhausted than when I actually went to bed.
I think I read somewhere that everybody has recurring dreams, some of which are kindly dreams that return every so often and take you to a place never ventured. In my case, occasionally, my dreams take me into flight, offering a brief but incredible experience unobtainable during the waking hours.
In those dreams, if I think hard enough and believe strongly enough (yes, I know it all sounds a bit Peter Pan-ish) I can levitate myself off the ground, and, to varying degrees of success, I find that I can fly. Not in a growing-wings-and-flapping kind of way, but in an outstretched-arms-and-glide kind of way. The success of each flight would appear to be governed by the accompanying atmosphere and mood in my life at the time. More recently, there have been dreams in which I can raise myself off the ground, but never quite high enough to be out of reach of seemingly grotesquely tall people who grab at me and try to drag me back down. I have had other dreams where I can fly, but I am confined to the interior of rather grand buildings. As much as I try, I can’t seem to find a suitable escape route, even though no one can actually reach me. But the nature of the dream demands that I have to stay in flight away from those below, and I become progressively more exhausted the longer I stay up there. And then there’s the dream when I fly so high and so fast I can’t control where it leads me, often taking me so far into oblivion that the dream becomes scary and I’m lost, alone, and out of control.
But every now and then – not often, and certainly not lately – I have one of those flight dreams where it all seems so beautiful. I raise myself from the ground and simply soar through the clouds, feeling the warmth on my face and the wind in my hair. I have full control over my speed, movements and direction. I fly over fields and countryside, watching everything below me and disturbing nothing. I can swoop and climb at will, and I can go wherever I please. During one of these dreams, I remember that I flew over the Thames at night (no idea why, because I don’t live in London…), dancing amongst the reflections of the city, skimming so close above the water I could see my own smiling self looking back at me, then looping above and beneath bridges straddling the river.
These are the dreams I hope for every night. They don’t occur nearly often enough – but when they do, it is enough to lift my spirits for the rest of the day ahead and beyond.