Soliloquy: Sometimes it’s not all just a dream

Farm Forum

Have you ever had trouble telling reality from fantasy, a conscious state from a dream state?

Until recently, I knew the difference. At least when awake, I’d know I was awake.

Now, the line between dream and wake states occasionally blurs.

I’ve had dreams where I’m engaged in a thoroughly reasonable conversation with someone, only to wake and realize the person has been dead for many years. Or I’m involved in a perfectly mundane deal with a landlord to rent an apartment, only to wake up and slowly remember I’ve been a homeowner for the last 20 years.

Recently, I woke not out of, but into, a dreamlike state.

While sleeping, I dreamed I was caught up into a tornado and was spinning round and round, my eyes tightly closed. My husband — spinning along next to me — told me to relax, open my eyes and look up, so I did.

Above me was not a towering thunderhead but a clear, spectacular night sky, glittering with stars. No nail-studded beams careened toward me. No glass shards, flying vehicles or lightning posed a danger.

Despite continual spinning, the scene was peaceful. It was all a matter of perspective. Relax and look up, and all is beauty and peace. Crunch eyes closed, and all is noise and danger.

Then suddenly, fireworks! Clamorous, popping fireworks, followed by sparkly waves of crackling swooshes.

And here is where dream and reality blurred.

It was a week after July 4, and it was 6:30 a.m. Anything is possible in our neighborhood, even fireworks at strange times.

Sometime before July 4, I’d looked out my window to discover a huge array of professional fireworks shooting into the sky. What was going on? Turned out the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired was putting on a fireworks display after 10 p.m. But fireworks at 6:30 a.m.? How likely was that? Was I dreaming? Was I awake?

I asked my husband, “What is that sound?”

It sounded explosive. It sounded crackly, sparkly.

It did not sound organic.

“Sounds like a tree falling,” he said.

Then came bright flashes of light and more popping. Then crackly swooshing sounds and more light flashes.

Though I did wonder once or twice if I was still dreaming, I managed to clamber out of bed and look out the window. Our neighbor’s large tree still stood, and I saw no sign of anything amiss.

But when I peered out another window, I saw that my husband’s guess was right. This is amazing in itself, considering the state of my husband’s hearing. Maybe I was dreaming after all.

Our large ash tree split nearly in half, much of it fallen onto the main power line to our house. A live wire was popping and flashing in the back yard.

Quick! 911! But the cordless phone was dead. I asked my husband to find a working phone, while, half-dressed, I rushed upstairs to wake the kids in case of fire.

The image of my groggy husband groping for his glasses in slow motion seemed dreamlike, but was it a dream? The power line had stopped flashing and popping. Maybe it all had been a dream after all.

Hard to tell. Waking up to explosive snapping in the yard was about as unreal as it gets. But the tree was down, the power was out and there was no question reality had crowded out the serene sky of my tornado dream.

Maybe, whether dreaming or awake, my best bet is to open my eyes, look up and seek clear skies.

Donna Marmorstein writes and lives in Aberdeen. You can contact her at