The Bookend Dreams

It could mean so many things. Or nothing at all. Photo by Erich Veith

It could mean so many things. Or nothing at all. Photo by Erich Veith

I woke suddenly and sat up. Terror reverberating throughout every piece of me.

Breathe.

I looked over. My five-year-old son had crawled into my bed at some point during the night. That’s not uncommon.

Just breathe.

He’s okay.

I’m okay.

In. Then, out.

At some point a little over a year ago, I stopped remembering my dreams.

I remember some. But almost never anymore. This sticks out to me because I’ve spent most of my life having very vivid and memorable dreams.

I can remember reoccurring ones from my youth. Some frightening. Some happy. Some sad.

I can remember some sexually explicit dreams. Basically, if you’re female and we’re not related, my subconscious has had sex with you while I was sleeping.

  1. I’m sorry.
  2. I hope Fake You liked it.

But this week, I’ve had two dreams that have REALLY resonated with me.

They are different than any dream I can ever remember having before. And I want to be open-minded about what that might mean.

Dream #1

The night after reading this post by a lovely wife and mother that goes by K—and who says nicer things about me than anyone who is not my grandmother—I had a dream about an owl.

A white owl.

It was huge. I was in a strange house. The kitchen in this house was sectioned off by a large L-shaped island with overhead cabinets.

And looking through the gap between the cabinets and the counter below, I could see the owl.

Gigantic.

Majestic.

Beautiful.

But I was afraid. So afraid.

I didn’t want it to know I was there.

Still. So still.

Then it turned its head toward me.

Eye contact.

white owl

And then I awoke.

Weird.

“To see an owl in your dream symbolizes wisdom, insight, magic, expanded awareness and virtue,” according to Dream Moods. “You are highly connected to your intuitive senses and psychic power. The owl is also synonymous with death, darkness and the subconscious. The appearance of an owl may be telling you to let go of the past or certain negative behaviors.”

Dream #2

First I was walking the streets of a foreign town. Asia, maybe? Street vendors. The kind I’ve only seen on television.

And then, as dreams often shift suddenly, I find myself on a commercial jet, flying home.

I was in the front row. Alone, on the left side.

There is so much talking. Talking. Talking. Talking.

And then most of it stopped. And it sounded like it does on red-eye flights in the middle of the night.

Dark. Just the hum of the engines and air conditioning system.

I turned around, surprised that the talking had stopped suddenly.

Everyone had bags over their heads. Everyone for as far as I could see. Bags like this.

bags on head

I turned to my right. There was one other person sitting up in the row opposite me. Then he leaned forward and covered himself with his coat.

I looked in front of me.

Even though there’s no way it could ever happen in real life, I could somehow see into the cockpit. And through the windshield into the lit sky.

And then the plane dove. Hard.

Straight down.

As if the pilots had done so intentionally.

No one screamed.

Like they knew it was coming. Like I was the only one to get on the plane without realizing it would never arrive at its destination.

I knew I was going to die. I accepted it more easily than I would in real life.

“Father, forgive me.”

Then, before the lights went out…

Awake.

Breathe. Just breathe.

Still alive.

Your son is safe.

“To dream that a plane crashes signifies that you have set overly high and unrealistic goals for yourself. You are in danger of having those goals come crashing down,” Dream Moods said. “Alternatively, the crashing airplane represents your lack of confidence, self-defeating attitude and self-doubt. You do not believe in your own ability to achieve those goals. Loss of power and uncertainty in achieving your goals are also signified.

“To wake up before you crash in your dream may simply be the anticipation of the crash that jolts you awake. It is similar to the notion of waking up before you hit the ground from a fall.”

Maybe there’s some truth there.

After all, it’s not hard to recognize because it often hurts.

But I didn’t like the part suggesting I don’t believe in my ability to achieve my goals. Because I do believe I can.

And I don’t like the part where both dreams signify death.

Because I’m not ready. There’s so much left to do.

But we don’t control that. The hourglass balance is what it is and none of us will know until those final grains of sand hit the bottom.

All we can do is make the best of right now. Today. This moment.

So that’s what I’m going to do.

Because I woke up this morning thinking I was going to die.

But I didn’t.

My child, sleeping peacefully at my side.

Breathe.

In, then out.

Still alive.

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94 thoughts on “The Bookend Dreams

  1. Awesome post. Dreams are elusive in their meaning and sometimes meaningless, but they definitely have their own gravity that makes us believe that they’re reality.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Thank you.

      I’m always impressed at our brains ability to convince us we are somewhere we’re not or experience things we’re not.

      It’s fascinating.

      Appreciate this note very much.

      Like

  2. I watched this video last night. Funny you should write about this today. When you have about 10 minutes, you should really read it. The Owl seems to represent your shadow. As the man in the ted talk says, you should face and embrace that feared owl. Good stuff.

    Like

    • *watch* not read. My B

      Like

    • Matt says:

      It was so strange that I was afraid of the owl. I don’t believe I’d be particularly scared of an owl in real life.

      Thank you so much for sharing this, Lara. I can’t wait to watch it.

      Please have a great weekend.

      Like

    • knace says:

      This IS good stuff. Big fan of TED.=)

      I’ve had the rare lucid dream but usually as soon as I realize it’s a dream I can’t maintain it.

      And, wow Matt, thank you. I guess great minds dream alike. ;) I think my owl dream must be about facing things I am afraid of facing. I have a plane crash dream also, but mine is I’m watching a plane take off and know it’s not going to make it. I stand there helpless as gravity pulls it back to earth. *shudders* I think I much prefer the fear of failing analysis as opposed to the premonition one – although I have had a few premonition dreams.

      Here’s to waking up safe and sound in our beds and making friends with our shadows in the year ahead.

      Like

      • Matt says:

        :)

        Cheers, K.

        That sounds perfect.

        Like

      • Here here!

        Dreams are a glimpse into ourselves that sometimes we will just never completely figure out. Carl Jung once said dreams consist of both signs and symbols. The signs are easy to figure out because they are, well, signs. But symbols in our dreams are more difficult and sometimes take another person to help you figure them out. But if you think hard enough about you dreams, they’re metaphorical much of the time. Dreaming that you’re falling, flying, running from something, etc.

        …..And then sometimes you can have dreams that just seem like your brain is passing gas. I had a dream a few months ago that there was a cow in my swimming pool. LOL must have been the ice cream I ate before bed.

        Cheers to weird dreams!

        Like

  3. Jack Chaser says:

    Brother, I had a dream once that I was trapped in an inflatable bouncy castle in a rain storm. Not one of the cheap ones you see in front yards now. Oh no. One of the old school giant red and white ones. Can’t even walk by them at fairs now.

    Like

  4. I have the plane crash dream – obviously not the same – but generally it comes down. But more frequently it’s a bus out of control and goes over. I’m on the top deck of a double decker. Guess that’s means my high expectations that are unachievable – aren’t that high ;-)

    Like

  5. April says:

    You know, sometimes I think those dream interpretations that talk about death could mean the end of something. Maybe the end of a certain belief, a job, moving, changing your mind about something. Instead of death of the physical body, perhaps it is the death of something that has been happening in your life that you want to change.

    But what do I know, before my daughter was born, I dreamed I had a litter of kittens. Wonder what the heck that meant? :D

    Like

    • Matt says:

      You may be right. I’m not sure how much stock I can put in a dream-interpretation website.

      Do you by any chance REALLY like balls of yarn and chasing small creatures?

      Like

      • April says:

        I don’t put much stock in dream interpretation, but if I think about what’s going on in my life at the time, the dream makes some sense. Maybe some bizarre sense, but it’s there.

        I love yarn, I’m a compulsive knitter. :)

        Like

  6. amcmulin914 says:

    I really enjoyed your post, beautiful and scary stuff.

    Like

  7. DailyMusings says:

    I believe our dreams definitely have meaning in our waking life – and can help us look deeper into what is really going on beneath the surface, if we care to take the time to do it. I think you’ve pretty much done that. Great post Matt.

    Like

  8. jessiesgirl says:

    If you’re open to interpretation, I’d like to take a stab at the airplane dream. I think it represents your thoughts and fears about this blog. All the other people on the plane with the bags over their heads? That’s us, your readers. We bought our tickets and are along for this wonderful ride called MBTTTR. We have bags over our heads because, while we are real people, you’ve never met us in real life so we are faceless strangers. The crashing? That’s your unfounded fears and insecurities that maybe some day we will stop reading and you’ll lose your audience, your digital support system.

    The owl dream? I dunno. That was freakin’ creepy!

    I’d love to get your thoughts on a crazy dream I had a few months ago: http://ishouldntcomplain.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/paging-dr-freud/

    Like

    • Rocquelaire says:

      This sounds very possible – especially with being featured on freshly pressed this week. Maybe you’re worried about the exposure Matt? Either way, keep breathing!

      Like

    • Aamiene says:

      Jessiesgirl you took the words right out of my mouth. That was my interpretation of Matt’s airplane dream too :)
      And if you ask me it would be a perfectly normal dream to have under the circumstances of Matt’s sudden, and well deserved rise to blogging fame :)

      I totally understand how you feel Matt. When you feel like no one is reading your work, if you get busy and can’t post you kinda think it doesn’t really matter cos no one will notice – but once you know you have a real audience – that’s a lot of pressure right there.

      But it’s easy to see that you have a lot of caring and supportive people right here who will help you along the way, just as your stories are helping us.

      I had a plane crash dream this week too. Different from yours obviously. But mine was because I’m a bit afraid of flying and we had to fly to another city and back on Wednesday for a meeting and it’s been terribly windy here lately. Windy enough to brake branches off some of our trees. So I was pretty nervous. As it turned out, apart from one slightly bumpy landing, we had great flights both ways.

      Like

  9. I’ve had dreams like both of these for as long as I can remember. I even wrote about a recent dream I had in a blog post titled, Smoke and Mirrors. Oh, and I’m a huge owl nut (read my About. It goes much farther back than owls being incrediy in vogue right now.) Just wanted to say,
    you’re here,
    you’re fine,
    keep breathin ;)

    Like

  10. Katalina4 says:

    Amazing dreams! Fascinating. The owl one sounds beautiful. All that crazy owl wisdom is inside you, inside the cooking cupboards, and of course you’re scared, who wouldn’t be scared? But it’s all good. In fact, it’s majestic.

    Like

  11. Some may say dreams are meaningless, but I beg to differ with the significance of some dreams actually coming into reality. There were slight differences, but the majority of the dreams that have come into play have been eerily on target.

    However, dreams are interpreted and experienced differently from person to person. My suggestion is to take heed of them.

    I’ve been writing them out, loosely, because I want to remember them (my “In-Between” posts). I am a bit behind, but am catching up slowly but surely. Last night, I had a dream about a huge white alligator loose in the neighborhood, but I got a hold of it and tied it up. Not sure what it means, but my fear in the dream was defeated by this success.

    Keep dreaming, man. No matter what happens, positive or negative references, you’ll always end up on top.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      I’m a huge believer in having “dreams,” as in goals.

      I’ll chase the hell out of those.

      But I’m perfectly okay with not having any more dreams like these. :)

      Have a good weekend, Chris. Hope all is well.

      Like

  12. LK says:

    Love how certain dreams stand out to you the next day and make you think what they are trying to tell you or what they might represent. I find them fascinating too and I have had a couple that have really given me pause and completely represented what was going on in my life at that moment.

    In fact, I think you have inspired me–maybe start a blog visually capturing my dreams..hmmm. Thanks! keep dreaming!

    Like

  13. garden2day says:

    Totally scared me like a thrill ride! Cool… In my opinion, dreams are our minds trying to make sense of reality. It gets crazy sometimes like the same dream for years repeated over and over–trying to find a bathroom in a HUGE house… My theory: if I find it, my bed will be wet. :D Have a good one!

    Like

    • jessiesgirl says:

      Ha, that’s funny…I have a similar recurring dream! Except in my dream, I can always find a bathroom but it’s disgusting…I mean, beyond belief disgusting with water, TP, excrement, etc. all over the toilets, stalls, and floor. I have the same theory — it’s my mind’s way of trying to wake me up because my body is telling it I really have to go to the bathroom. The disgusting-ness of it all is so I don’t let loose in my dream…and in my bed!

      Like

    • Matt says:

      That’s funny!

      Thank you for taking the time to read. Appreciate this note very much.

      Like

  14. jadedwildcat says:

    Um…
    So I read through all the other comments first to see if anyone else said this but no one has, which is odd.
    You do realize that to dream so significantly of a white owl usually means you’ve been abducted by aliens right?
    lol
    Not to creep you out further but… there’s this thing I’ve known about since I was young, about how the brain cannot ‘process’ the image of an extra terrestrial and that in almost all cases of supposed abduction, the human brain substitutes an image of a WHITE owl in its place.

    So uh yeah, lol obviously doesn’t have to be true but it did alarm me to hear about it, as well as to read of your jarred reaction! O_O

    Like

    • Matt says:

      That’s bullshit! If they’re going to abduct me, they should at least let me remember it so I can blog about it.

      I imagine that would be some pretty good reading.

      *puts on tinfoil hat*

      Thanks for sharing!

      Like

      • jadedwildcat says:

        lol! =) Hah! A very good point, hehe. And I bet you look hot in a tinfoil hat!
        *wink*!
        =p

        I tend to dream pretty intensely myself and about a variety of things but not once have I ever had the white owl feature in any of them. I think just because I KNOW this bit of trivia, it would scare the bajeezes out of me if I did dream of one. Hmmm…

        Like

        • Matt says:

          Let’s just be glad I didn’t have sex with the white owl.

          That could have gotten weird.

          I mean that both in a beastiality AND alien-abduction sense.

          Like

          • jadedwildcat says:

            You’d have sex with anything wouldn’t you?! Hehe your subconscious is more sordid than mine – and believe me, my Dream Journal could send most people running for the hills! Hahah.

            You know, some people have an alien-abduction ‘fantasy’ right? =p
            Don’t worry; I ain’t one of ’em.

            Like

            • Matt says:

              Honestly?

              I was so scared of that owl that even if it was the sexiest owl in the history of winged animals, AND I’d been drinking heavily, I bet I still wouldn’t have fooled around with it.

              *shrug*

              Like

              • jadedwildcat says:

                Lol gosh you’re funny =D
                Even still, eh??

                Well that’s kinda bad though since it does reinforce (for me) that whole thing about it being an alien!!! Abductees talk about the owl being the most frightening manifestation they’ve *ever* seen.
                …..Were you uh, sore in any particular places – orifices – the morning after?? =p

                Like

    • jessiesgirl says:

      Okay, the mere thought of the alien thing really, really creeps me out…I’ve got goosebumps!

      I followed the link to K’s story about the owl and was struck by this line in her post: “My little mammal heart shivered at the thought of that owl perched somewhere watching, it’s bird heart beating in steady alien-like tolerance of the deep sub zero cold.”

      Alien-like!?!? Coincidence? Or is the truth really out there, Mulder? Now I’m doubly freaked out! ;-)

      Like

  15. giselacarmona says:

    I’m a new follower of your blog and definitely love the way you write… your words are so genuine that I feel as comfortable as if I knew you for a long time… I could totally relate to this post since most of my dreams are very vivid and full of emotion… Thanks for sharing your dreams!

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Thank you so much. I’ve been swamped with kindness for the past 48 hours, and it’s almost more than I know how to deal with.

      Everyone has been extraordinarily kind. I’m so grateful you took time to read something. :)

      Like

  16. v0brien says:

    Yeppers, excellent post! Rarely do I recall a dream. But when I have one, it’s always weird.

    Like

  17. Totally freaky! And, uh, you aren’t the only one that tends to have sex with people in their dreams. My problem is that my big mouth goes off and tells them “Oh my goodness, I had a weird dream last night, needless to say, you and I are never allowed to do body shots. In fact, lets just take tequila off the table!”
    Yes, I know there was more to the post than the sex, but well, that’s what I took from it! :)

    Like

  18. It’s been ages since I’ve remembered one of my dreams! That’s a bummer, too, because they’re usually bizarre in a totally awesome way, like my high school friends and I are all fish swimming upstream, or I’m with the band Loverboy and we’re being chased across a huge amusement park by fans.

    I don’t know that I buy the standard meanings so much, though. Sometimes I think it’s just your brain processing random nonsense. You might have seen a Nat Geo commercial with an owl in it that you don’t consciously remember seeing. Congrats on remembering them in the first place, though! Gotta start somewhere!

    Like

  19. sarahmae says:

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing!
    Keep smiling!

    Like

  20. julitownsend says:

    Dreams are one of my favourite subjects, and in discussions with others I’ve come to the conclusion that dying or death in dreams indicates that there is some aspect of ourselves that we see as a negative that we are choosing to leave behind. It’s a good thing! I had one about my son about fifteen years ago, and he’s still alive. I’ve had a few dreams like your plane crash dream.

    I admire the fact that you’re replying to every comment on your popular blog, however, now it has become even more popular, maybe it is something you will need to leave behind for your sanity’s sake. I’ll forgive you for not responding to this one. :-)

    Like

    • Matt says:

      I still haven’t caught up from the other day!

      And yes. There would conceivably come a day where I’d have to stop replying to everyone. But not today. :)

      Thank you for the reassurance. I’d rather not die soon.

      Like

  21. I love the way you pictured your dreams making us see through your eyes. I’ve always believed dreams are as a result of the multitudes of the day’s business, however off the target as they may be (The Bible Backs this). I’m no Joseph (Expert) as far as this is concerned but I can tell you really believe in your ability to do great after accepting response-ability!
    Love your Blog.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      That means a lot to me. Thank you. I do a lot of the self-deprecating schtick. And sometimes it comes off like I don’t have a lot of faith in myself. I wish that wasn’t the case.

      Thank you so much for reading. For saying nice things. And for saying that you see some self-belief amidst all the laughing at myself.

      Really glad you took the time to write that.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Dawn says:

    I got into trying to figure out what my dreams meant many many years ago. Bought a dream interpretation book for myself too. I refer to it often. Rarely do I get some major Ah Ha moment…however it often does bring a lot of thoughts and feelings together. Gives me something to work on if need be, or be grateful for if I’m not already. The mind and body are both wondrous and fascinating…
    I haven’t been able to remember one in months. Me thinks I might be in a bit of denial. LOL

    Like

  23. alienorajt says:

    Vividly expressed, Matt – and fascinating to read. Death can also relate to change – and I think it very significant that the other passengers all had bogs over their heads, as if either refusing to face death/change or being forced into the role of blinded ‘witness’. It seemed (if I have understood it correctly) that you were the only clear-sighted passenger, and that you faced the death/change conundrum despite your terror. Owls can also symbolise the Higher Self – and the fact that eye contact was made, to me speaks volumes.
    Now following you!
    Alienora

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Thank you very much for spinning my tale of woe into a tale of hope.

      That means a lot.

      I hope it means good things. I want it to. No matter what, I promise to keep trying. :)

      Like

      • alienorajt says:

        My instinct is saying that it does mean good things – and, having reading your latest post, Matt, I think you are well on your way. Without wishing in any way to rake up bad things, I do wonder if the ‘death’ inherent in your marital break-up (so sorry to hear of it, by the way) has, actually, opened the door to life-enhancing change: you have, metaphorically, survived the eye of the owl and the plane crash and can now walk tall from the rubble. Alienora

        Like

  24. Those are interesting dreams, indeed, Matt. Thank you for the enthralling read!

    It seems to be the time of busy dreams. People all around me are having them. I have them, too. Usually I can remember at least some bits. Recently it gets so busy in dream-land that I can hardly bring any details back – but vague feelings.

    I had a thought about the death interpretations:
    In many cultures death is seen as transition and symbols of death can simply indicate a transformation of some kind rather than an actual physical death.
    – Im just seeing, now, that this was already pointed out in at least one of the comments above… I stand by what I’ve written, anyways and may add that this also matches my personal experience.

    Much love,
    Steffi

    Like

  25. Sandy Sue says:

    The best advice I ever got about dream interpretation is that the symbology is yours. You determine what the dream means. Parts of a dream will stick out more than other parts, feel more important. They *are* more important to *you*. The feelings a dreamer has in dreaming are also worth paying attention to.

    Like

  26. Matt says:

    Thanks. I don’t know that I believe it means anything at all. But I’m hopeful if it does, that it’s nothing bad.

    Like

  27. moi says:

    The Plane dream seems more scary than the owl dream as I read it although the owl was unnerving. the owl seems to mean both good and bad so I guess it is just down to how you want to interpret it.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      The plane dream was a lot scarier.

      I’ll remain hopeful some of the more positive theories submitted might be the truth.

      No matter what, just gonna keep pushing forward.

      Appreciate you reading and leaving this note. Thank you very much.

      Like

  28. Robin Hietz says:

    Nice post. If you don’t do it yet, write your dreams down when you remember them – as a result, you’ll remember dreams more often (in my experience).

    Like

  29. dorothyemyers says:

    Awesome comments, you’ve got good commenters. Awesome post, very human. I anxiously dreamed about trying to interpret your dreams, woke this morning, read everyone’s comments, kinda covered it…What’s left to say? Regardless the journey or challenge or accomplishments, and as you frankly and humorously experience your life, you woke to being there for your son and being a good father.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      People are incredible. Thank you for noticing. And yes. That was my reality anchor. My son. Sleeping peacefully. And bringing me back to Earth.

      Everything is going to be okay.

      Thanks for saying hi. :)

      Like

  30. thatnavaword says:

    Most people do not remember their dreams, which is normal, but sometimes the weird ones stick. Most often, they have little meaning, it’s just your ‘background data’ shifting through random information. But sometimes there’s that one dream that just wont go away. The one that you remember with such clarity, as if it really happened. And that’s the dream that wont go away until you acknowledge and dissect it. I had recurring dream once. I was a woman in a concentration camp. There was no war. There was no reason, but i was chained and beaten and my hair shaved off and in the back of my mind i knew the sexual assault was there too. It wasn’t until i dessected that dream that i realized i was trapped and chained to a relationship with a man that never wanted me, but didn’t want to let go of me either. The dream only made me realize that i KNEW i didn’t belong there that i needed to walk away.

    and that is what those dreams are for. You know what you battles are, y ou know your solutions, but you do not acknowledge them

    Like

  31. I, like you, dream vividly every night. I had an awful one about a plane crash once. It plummeted, broke in half and exploded on impact in my backyard. My youngest son was screaming, in the lounge area with his brother. I could not comfort him. When I woke I could still see the flames and smell the burning plane fuel. I always thought this dream had some meaning, symbolic. My youngest son left to live with his father following this dream and always had a sense it was to do with this. I had severe depression at the time. It broke me as well as him. Owls are beautiful, but frightening to me. Maybe your subconscious was thinking of Harry Potter? That would be more cheerful wouldn’t it. Anyway, excuse me from prattling on about my dreams, am suddenly very aware I have just exposed some of my deepest painful memories on the internet. I think dreams are unique and personal to the person who has the dream. I’ve seen different stuff in books that has freaked me out. I came to the conclusion that my dreams were just that, mine. Some parts were rubbish, some elements of truth and a lot of fear. I prayed about mine. I used to write mine down, thinking maybe I could turn them into short horror movies. :)

    Like

  32. Living in the moment… that’s what I try to do! No way to change the past, as for the future… it’s good to have dreams and plans but no good wasting the present trying to get there! :)

    Like

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