When I was young and times were tough, living with one parent or the other, I used to have a set of recurring dreams. In these dreams, I’d be dealing with life at my mom’s, or the extended step-family at my dad’s, and when things would start to sour, somehow I would figure out that I could fly.
The symbolism of this obvious escape mechanism is clear: The going gets tough, the kid gets going, albeit through the air.
The last couple of months, however, the dream has returned. Sometimes it’s one of the same exact dreams that I had when I was a child/teenager (although now, I know how the whole thing is going to turn out, which is nice in a way); other times, it’s this incredibly complex and detailed situation where I can wake up remembering most of it and thinking I should have been an architect because of the grand structures my mind is capable of building.
Last night my dream was Old Southern Plantation meets Wizard of Oz. At one point, I was swept down a raging river on a raft with my two step-brothers, and when we hit the peak of a high wave, we all took flight as the raft fell from beneath us.
The flight dreams are probably the result of society (war, prejudice, urban crime and working too hard, all played out on the silver screen of my mind), but I also think that I’m starting to figure life out (or at least scratch the surface). So maybe my taking flight in my dreams isn’t an escape mechanism as much as it is a release – a way of soaring above the day-to-day suffering and seeing a positive alternative about life. Who knows.