In My Wildest Dreams
“In both writing and sleeping, we learn to be physically still at the same time we are encouraging our minds to unlock from the humdrum rational thinking of our daytime lives.”
Diana is a senior at SUNY-ESF majoring in environmental studies and minoring in environmental writing and rhetoric, and recreation resources and protected area management. She is an intern for the ESF Writing Resource Center and the assistant field coordinator for the Young Naturalist Program in Manlius. She has three birds–Charming, Bruce, and Bentley.
It was me–or at least I think it was. My hands gripped the smooth brown feathers laced up the eagle’s back. Its wingspan stretched far beyond the boundary of my high school’s football field.
It was a different time, a different world. It felt prehistoric, only with a peculiar modern twist. With everything now coming to focus, I realized I was on a tour. It was like a bus tour, but the eagle was my bus, taking me somewhere I did not yet know. Looking down, I saw an old-school orange disposable camera attached to my high school lanyard, which was hanging around my neck.
The eagle and I soared over a waterfall that surpassed the beauty and force of any waterfall I have ever seen.
My brother appeared in front of me. He yelled, “Hold on!” just as the eagle dove down parallel to the falls. Grabbing my camera, my face and fingers becoming wet in the misty air, I tried to take a picture of the scene.
We were close to the base of the falls when the red telephone booths began to materialize in the sky. Floating above us, they became filled with people making urgent phone calls to loved ones.
Then, a bright flash. The eagle disappeared; I disappeared.
And I woke up.
Dreams are peculiar things. They alter and skew reality until it becomes something entirely new. Going to sleep and letting your mind take over and rewrite the past, create the future, and transport you to faraway places is undoubtedly one of the most incredible opportunities life gives you.
It’s like we are stuck in the passenger seat of a car racing through time and the wheel is just out of reach. We are powerless, yet we can do anything. Be anyone. Go anywhere. It is a place where we can surpass the limitations set by the real world. A place where our fear is real, but we are blessed with the impossibility of physical harm.
There are a few of us out there who have accomplished the art of lucid dreaming, which is when you are aware you are dreaming and, in some instances, capable of taking control of the situation at hand. Dream researcher Jayne Gackenbach found a connection between lucid dreaming and gaming. He discovered that playing video games is correlated with a higher probability of being able to take control of your dream world. The reason for this? Playing several hours of videogames a day places the mind into a virtual reality that it can control. In a sense, playing video games is like a practice run for lucid dreaming.
We construct worlds in our dreams that delicately bridge fantasy with reality. In dreams, our minds create improbable series of bizarre scenarios that play out as if they were an ordinary part of life. It isn’t until we wake up and remember the fragments of our dreams that we see the impracticality and irrationality of it all.
For centuries people have theorized about what function dreams serve and what they mean. While there are many theories, nobody really knows their purpose. Are they governed by the desires and motivations of our subconscious where reality stretches beyond normality? A place where we can feel truly liberated from the constraints our society places on us?
All I know is come 10 p.m., I am excited to close my eyes and see where my mind takes me.