Saturday night I flew swiftly from a deep sleep into a wide-eyed sitting position. A gasp of air, a desperate swallow to make sure I still could.
I’d been dreaming. And in the dream something had frightened me, and with a sharp intake of air, I swallowed something large and oval. A rock? I don’t remember what it was, only that it went abruptly down my throat and lodged solidly in a spot just above my collar bone, near the base of my neck.
There was immediate panic as I realized I couldn’t talk or breathe. I couldn’t cough it back out. The more I struggled, the tighter and larger the object seemed to get. It was this feeling of doom that forced me abruptly awake.
As is usually the case with awakening suddenly from a frightening dream, I still felt the constriction and pain in my throat and the panic over no one being there to help me.
As is my usual style, I wondered what this all meant. Am I swallowing back my feelings or words or both? What is being cut off? Constricted? Held back?
Was there significance in the dream that there was no one available to do the Heimlich maneuver or stab a ballpoint pen cartridge through my neck for an emergency tracheotomy?
Could it have something to do with not writing enough? I have felt angry with myself for not producing more, of not sticking to my intentions and letting other things push me off course.
So many words and ideas go through my head. Too many, too fast, notes jotted in all sorts of places – on my phone’s notepad application, my USB drive, some are on my computer in Word, some are quickly jotted in Notepad. Some I email to myself. They hide in layers of folders. I keep wondering what my filing logic was on any given day. Some bits and pieces of story are even flying somewhere in a cloud!
When I want these seeds of masterpieces, when I’m ready to pull them together and fill in the gaps, these brilliant pieces of prose are nowhere to be found!
But what does that have to do with a choking, can’t breathe, and there is no one there to rescue me kind of dream?
I don’t know and the questions don’t matter so much as finding a blasted answer!
I tried to catch ducks in flight this weekend. The ducks were flying but I was not so clearly catching.
It was a good metaphor for the thoughts in my mind – birds whizzing by, me bringing up my camera and not seeing them, moving my lens all over trying to hone in, only to find they’d already splashed down.
It also made me wish for a stronger telephoto lens, a closer look, more detail, and to have had my tripod with me to steady myself — another metaphor for my feeling of a weak and unsteady vision. Perhaps I’m too hard on myself, and I am the one doing the choking. Another possibility…