Carol and I were just talking about dreams because she has had a few strange ones just recently.
I have had a number of odd dreams over the years and our conversation came round to the fact that while I know that I have had many dreams, there is only one that I can clearly remember. Carol said “The ice flow?” It was the ice flow dream, and I can remember it so clearly even now (many, many years later) that I could make a movie about it without having to guess the details!
To understand the impact of this dream ……….
When I was in school, swimming lessons at the local outdoor pool were mandatory. We would be around 11-12 yrs old, and all made to line up at the shallow end; hold hands, and jump in. The water was not heated, and so was invariably a bit of a shock, and the only way to get us all in fast was the “hold hands and jump” routine.
Over the course of a few lessons, I could “doggy paddle” across the width which was all that was expected. Once we had proved that we could do that we could do pretty much whatever we wanted, as the teacher’s focus would be on those still having difficulties.
The later years in school replaced the swimming class with academics so I rarely went to the pool again. Swimming was a lot of frantic effort to get across a pool which I could walk around in a fraction of the time, and in considerably more comfort!
Interestingly, being able to swim was not mandatory when I went to nautical college*. I can only assume that given all the potential problems that one could encounter on a cargo ship, the ability to swim without a flotation device was a very low priority. I never attempted to swim again until around 30-35 yrs later (in Canada) when I met a couple who had their own pool! They were both very competent swimmers and included lifeguard experience in their background. My history of swimming came up in a conversation and they offered to teach me how to swim!
It failed miserably! They were both quite exasperated because “You seem to be doing everything right, but you keep sinking!” I have always been of a lean build and so we concluded that my fat level was so low as to provide little buoyancy. My reality now is that I cannot swim….. and so the dream….
Just imagine suddenly feeling very exposed, cold and vulnerable. It is quite light so you know that it is day time, and then you realize that you are laying on an ice flow which is gently moving. You look around but can see nothing but mist and then your hear it… the sound of water lightly splashing on something. You know that you must be in Lake Ontario, and perhaps the water splashing is coming from the shore? You don’t want to risk trying to stand up on the moving ice under you, so you crawl towards the sound of water.
After a few moments, you come to the edge and can see small waves breaking over the ice flow. That must have been the sound that you heard. You peer into the mist but you can only see a few yards/metres of water, and no shoreline. The ice beneath you is starting to move a little more aggressively, possibly because you are near its edge, or possibly because it is moving further into the lake?
You slide yourself around, and crawl back to where you think you started from but soon you are once again at an edge. You realize that the ice flow is probably getting smaller. The mist starts to lift off the lake and you can see perhaps a hundred yards/metres now. There is no shoreline in any direction.
You can clearly see that the waves are getting bigger. The ice flow is becoming smaller and less stable . You cannot swim. The end seems to be inevitable.
Do you accelerate your destiny by sliding off the ice flow and into the frigid water, or do you wait until nature takes its seemingly inevitable course? Does it really matter whether you chose your timing, or whether you just wait?
The mist has lifted further; there is no land, and no boats, in sight. You wake up.
*See “Dear Diary” – Pages 50, 56 and 57