Thursday, September 09, 2004

Vivid dreams

It doesn't take someone skilled in dream analysis to explain the nightmare that woke me this morning.

The scene was far northwest Oklahoma City, a few years ago, before developers started building new subdivisions out that direction. At the time there was a small feed store near Portland (State Highway 74) and Edmond Road. It was an old place, reminiscent of a 1940s family grocery store. The roof ridge was adorned with the old saddles of once-loved horses who had gone to the big ranch in the sky. Colorful grain signs decorated the sides and advertised the wares within.

In the dream, chaos overtook this bucolic setting. Where horsemen's boots normally crunched across the gravel parking lot, emergency workers were trying to contain spilled diesel fuel.

The late afternoon sky was filled with smoke and the sound of endless sirens.

The roof of the feed store, once a testament to a rural lifestyle, now was pierced by the cockpit of a passenger jet. The plane was snapped at an angle; the front part pushing through the building and resting on the ground, the tail still high in the air, showing the angle at which the plane hit the building.

The point that puzzled me, even in my sleep, was the lack of people around the scene. Of course all those in the plane had been killed, as had anyone who had been on the ground. But in the aftermath, the only people present were a cleanup crew of about a dozen men, a couple of nearby property owners who just happened to be passing by, and a photographer from the newspaper, who was parked on Portland right in front of me. The photographer, Doug, and I have known each other since college days.

There were no other spectators, no television news crews, no helicopters or police.

The cleanup crew seemed to include firemen and oilfield experts. One burly guy used a giant grader to build a berm to contain the jet fuel while others brought in hoses to siphon it off. A few bulldozers were along the periphery, ready to remove contaminated soil.

I remember standing on the roadway, leaning against the hood of my car, watching Doug shoot a few photos. I was surprised at his casual approach -- he was staying at his car rather than moving closer to the action, which is not like any of the news photographers I know. It was as if he were shooting snapshots for a personal photo album.

The grader moved off to the west side of the scene as the team moved in closer with hoses and other equipment. A man with a bullhorn was narrating the action and directing the work. The workers moved almost mechanically, like they did this every day.

Just as they moved in, under the belly of the elevated part of the plane, the narrator's voice came over the bullhorn and calmly said "Gentlemen, an explosion is imminent. The fuel line has ignited."

At that statement, all the men in fire suits formed a tighter mass, futilely trying to put foam where the fuel had sparked. With the whole crew now in one small area, an electric blue fireball engulfed an area covering several acres.

A blinding white mushroom cloud followed the initial blast, filling the blue and purple sky. In a matter of moments the sky returned to its usual appearance, but nothing else was as it had been.

Now, the earth was barren and cratered. There was no evidence of anything that had been there two minutes earlier. There was no fire, no smoke. No building, no plane.

No people.

Even Doug was gone, as was his car.

The few land owners who saw what happened ran to the dusty brown crater to search for the wounded and dead. It was a pointless search as everything simply evaporated.

I noticed a figure moving west of the crash site -- it was the grader operator. I ran across the highway to see if he was injured. Physically he was fine, but he fell to the ground, sobbing. I joined him.

There was nothing more we could do; the alarm clock was playing Alan Jackson's "Where Were You When the Earth Stopped Turning?"

14 comments:

TECH said...

"I woke up screaming and discovered it wasn't a dream."

Vividly written and scary. I hope the rest of your dreams are better.

Erudite Redneck said...

Incredible. I hardly ever have dreams that aren't like, cubist, or some other form of surreality. That, or they're very simple recurring dreamlets-- bein' naked in the choir loft at church comes around once in a while. And I used to have a dream where a cassock-wearing priest drivin' a Model T is chasing me, at about 5 mph, through a heavily wooded but urban city park with skyscrapers all around; that one started in fifth grade aftr I read "The Exorcist." Tonight, I will be dreamin' of a blank map of Europe and me not bein' able to find the Seine, or the Elbe, or the Loire, or the Main or the Tagus or any other dang river but the Danube, which is hard to miss once you "see" it; but then it's the Mississippi of Europe, it looks like. (Hee hee: I just semi-tested myself on yer blog!) Wish me luck and prayers: From 11 to 11:50 a.m. Friday. I haven't had to take a test since the summer of ought-2, and I don;t think I ever had this kind of a map test. :)

Erudite Redneck said...

"We've traced the calls. They're coming from inside your head!" SIGH. I'm glad I'm so busy, otherwise I might relapse into this hopeless paranoia that like to crippled me in the early '80s, with Reagan rattlin' his saber, the Soviets making their noise, the unfortunate assignment to read and write about "Alas, Babylon" for college freshman English, followed by watching "The Day After." Oh, and at the same time, more or less actively deconstructing my faith in a survey of the New Testament class at OSU, which left me especially vulnerable to fear. It's a wonder I survived.

Trixie said...

Boy, ThePress, I don't know whether to recommend therapy or a nice, long nap....
Probably therapy, because now I am afraid you might have bad dreams.

I've gotten pretty good at "lucid" dreaming, where you realize you are having a dream and you learn how to direct it. It's a very useful tool for putting a stop to recurring dreams.

One that frequently visits me is being in my car and trying to make it to an appointment in Dallas. The key points that pop up every time are:

1. Sometime during the dream I will be sitting in the back seat while someone else is driving my car. (Very symbolic of losing control over the direction of my life.)

2. I will wind up in some cloverleaf, making endless circles around the loops trying to find the right exit to my destination. (Lack of direction, perhaps?)

3. It gets dark. (Running out of time?)

4. I arrive somewhere I didn't know existed and meet people who have some input into why I missed my appointment. Usually it's someplace like a zoo or botanical garden or amusement park. (The chattering heads.)

Boy, I sure hope there are no therapists reading this!

Teditor said...

Man, this Blue color is killing my eyes. =)

When my momma was sick, I'd have some pretty scary dreams, at least in my eyes. Shortly after she died, I'd see visions of her thin, dying body and wake up in a heap.

About eight months later, though, I purged the images of her frailness from the cubicles in my skull and saw the happy and healthy Mom I hope to always remember. She visits every now and then in my sleep, and I enjoy the time we have. I'll wake up and say, "Thanks for stopping by, Mommy."

FrenziedFeline said...

Wow, Trixie. That makes me glad I rarely remember my dreams--or maybe I rarely dream?

I wish all of you sweet(er) dreams tonight!

Trixie said...

Frenzied!!! So glad to see you!! We've been missing your blog. What happened to it??????

Teditor, I completely understand your dreams about your mom and give you a big "way to go" for redirecting it to happier times.

Everyone, have sweet dreams tonight and a great day tomorrow!

Trixie said...

Oh yeah, Teditor, don't dis my blue. It's "Dodger Blue." I like it better than the orange color this template came with.

FrenziedFeline said...

Hi Trixie--I took my blog down, just wasn't happy with some of it. I'm going to rethink it and may just re-post the old posts I'm okay with having up. That way they'll at least be in the archive.

I'll just read you guys for a while. ;)

TECH said...

FF, we miss you! Come back to Blogland! :)

FrenziedFeline said...

Gee, thanks, Tech. Will you still miss me knowing I'm Republican AND Mormon?? ;)

I'll be back--just need a regrouping of my mind. I guess I could have just deleted the articles I was unhappy with, oh well. I'll get it back up soon.

FrenziedFeline said...

By the way, Trixie, why "Dodger Blue?" Is there a link between blue and dodgers other than The Dodgers baseball team? Being in the Dodgers backyard, I'm curious if you are a fan of a California team. :)

TECH said...

FFeline, my roommate and best friend is Mormon and serves as Young Men's President in his branch as well as being Second Counselor, and my brother is an Assembly of God pastor and past chairman of his county's Republican party. I think I can handle ya! :) So blog, would ya? We miss you.

Trixie said...

Oh yes, Frenzied, BLOG! Please BLOG! There's plenty of room in all of our lives for our friends and their points of view and interests.

No, Dodger Blue doesn't really mean much except I liked the color as much as I disliked the orange. Little did I know I'd get complaints! ;)

Down the road I may experiment with a different combination but I'm not quite ready to redecorate.