a dream project

I have been collecting brief descriptions of recent actual dreams, all of which are included here. I am not interested in analyzing them, but simply curious about the experiences we have while our minds and bodies are at rest.

In the process of collecting these dream stories, I was inspired to make A Thousand Threads, a limited edition, screen-printed book. It contains short, meditative poems I wrote by interweaving the dream fragments of others with my own dream imagery.

This project was part of The Spaces in Between, a solo exhibition curated by Susanna Meiers, February 14 – March 11, 2011, at the El Camino College Art Gallery in Torrance, CA.

To see all of the book pages or contribute a dream story, please go to www.betsylohrerhall.com. Thanks!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cheryl Bennett - Runaway Train

Somehow I ended up as the engineer of a runaway railroad train.  The engineer wasn’t there and I had no knowledge of how to run a train.  The tracks for this train went across the ocean and were even slightly submerged under the sea water.  The waves were very rough.  I sat in the engineer’s car which was actually more like being in a luxury cruise ship captain’s chambers.  His seat looked out onto the tracks ahead.  We were going at a fast pace but we stayed on the tracks.   I finally found a ship-to-shore communication device.  I kept leaving messages about my situation, always keeping a calm voice but no one was calling me back.

At one point men were working on the tracks and assumed I would stop but I couldn’t.  I heard the train hit two of them and they were bumped into the ocean.

At one point,  a woman told me that someone had left me a 20 minute message of how to stop the train when we got to our designation, which was my big concern all along. I don’t know why I could hear her but not the message but I didn’t know how to retrieve it.

Somehow I came to the knowledge that the train had fallen off the tracks.  I think I could see that we were total engulfed in ocean water through the windows and that we were sinking downward.  That didn’t seem right to me as we weren’t filling up with water.

Then I noticed through the video image of our train, which now looked more like an oval with points (kinda like the Beatles “Yellow Submarine” but not so fancy), that we had fallen off the tracks.  BUT there was a rope in view that someone was trying to lasso the vessel with.  It finally caught and was pulling us.

At this point I knew I needed to talk to the passengers.  I had to confide in one person to help me locate the intercom, so I left the captain’s quarters.  The first room I came to had about six people playing handball.  I asked for help and a 30-something man offered.  He came with me.  Getting to him had been straight-forward: out of my cabin, into the hall and into the big room (athletic room).  Once we were walking back into my cabin it was if we were in an emergency room.  We had to keep walking past nurses and I had to shut a curtain to privately talk with him but then somehow we were in the captain’s quarters again and all that was shut out.

The intercom wasn’t where I had been sitting with all the equipment.  It was built into a round table in the middle of the room.  It was just a black faceplate where one part was a circle with holes.  I saw us go by icebergs and asked someone on the mike if we were in Alaska.

As we were getting off what had now become a cruise ship, I remarked to someone that this is why I never wanted to take a cruise; I was always worried about drowning.

As I got off, no one knew who I was, which felt a little empty. Off to the right of the indoor hallway ramp (kinda like at the Los Angeles Airport where you  walk up a carpeted ramp to get to some of the terminals), I noticed a body covered in a sheet and thought, “I didn’t know anyone had died because of this experience.”  But before I could think anything else, there was a young black boy on a stretcher with an IV and oxygen.  He was next to the body.  I knelt by him and asked if he okay.  He said he was.  Still kneeling I turned away from him and started crying.

I then told whoever I was walking with that I would have to go visit the wives of the two men I had bumped into the ocean.  In the dream I think I was saying it because it cast me in the “right light” to do it, not because I was moved to the point of feeling I needed to help the wives feel better.

Cheryl Bennett

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