Usually, a day does not go by that some passing thought during waking hours becomes a trigger for a loosely related dream during sleep. The thought must be very brief and quickly forgotten for it to successfully dwell in subconscious memory until it is dredged up as theme for a dream. If I ponder the thought at all, it has no chance of triggering a dream. Such dreams are unusually vivid and never become lucid, immersing me in a virtual reality replete with every sensation of waking life.
Frequently, these dreams contribute positively somehow in one or more projects I'm currently involved in or will be working on in the future. Not premonitions. I've never been able to buy into such magical stuff. But they may be intuition at work on some metaphysical level we don't yet understand. My sister once dreamed of a boy she had dated in high school who drowned with two friends after accidentally driving his recently purchased sports car into a newly built reservoir near Foss, Oklahoma. A few years after their mysterious, as yet unsolved, disappearance, she had dreamed of him in a car underwater with moss in his hair while she and her husband were driving along I-40 past the reservoir in 1973. I don't think Jimmy was communicating to her from afterlife. I think her deep intuition was hashing out what might have actually happened to the three Sayre teenagers who vanished without a trace in 1970. I'm convinced our dreams can be powerfully influential in our lives if we just pay more attention to them. So I always do.
Yesterday's beautiful weather outside the studio brought a fleeting memory of time spent hiking in Kananaskis country of Alberta, Canada. Something about the light and fragrance of the forest air was similar to that trekking event and was all that was needed as trigger for a dream last night. In the dream, I was several kilometers in from the trail head I had parked at and happened to turn left off trail to explore a small box canyon. Hiking along the right hand slope through lush, green ground cover as I entered the canyon I happened to look up and behind me toward what appeared to be a large shelter cave and saw long, sinuous tendrils of mist intermittently flowing out of its wide, shadowy mouth.
The mist was thick and white and hugged the ground as it flowed out, indicating it was heavier than the air around it. I had heard that there were ice caves in the Kananaskis and wondered if this might be one of them. I began fumbling with my camera to capture photos and video of the mist flows as they appeared and disappeared at random intervals of several seconds as though they were being regurgitated by the cave. Each time the flow stopped, I fretted that it was the last of them and the wonderful natural phenomenon I was lucky enough to witness would cease, never to happen again in my lifetime. Fortunately, I was rewarded with half a dozen flows after I managed to start shooting.
Then the mist flows did finally end as I feared they would. Nothing so enchanting could possibly last forever, I thought, and cautiously approached the cave entrance, all too aware that Kananaskis was unfamiliar country. No telling what dangers caves in the area harbored. I suspected the mist might be carbon dioxide gas mixed with slightly condensed water vapor and approached slowly, monitoring my rate of breathing and sense of balance in case I walked into a concentrated pocket of the gas and suddenly became disoriented due to lack of oxygen. But my breathing stayed steady and head remained clear as I stepped into the cave to find a large chamber full of limestone formations glistening with moisture. A live cave. Glancing down at my feet to check footing purchase on the slick floor, a thin ribbon of vapor briefly formed and dissipated, a tiny remnant of the more dramatic vapor flows observed from outside.
Looking up into the chamber as my eyes adjusted to its twilight illumination, I was startled to see the air in front and just to my right ripple and curl before my eyes, warping and distorting the cave walls and formations beyond, and my olfactory nerves picked up the distinct odor of rotten eggs. A brief recognition and thought of how toxic hydrogen sulfide gas is brought memory of my father warning me that you are a dead man by the time you can smell it.
Then I woke up with a start and the dream lingering vividly on my mind's virtual reality view screen. No telling how it's going to influence life ahead.