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Dream fragment: 9.21.15

September 22, 2015

I didn’t remember much of any of my dreams when I woke up Monday. Late that evening, I was reading a passage in a book where the author talked about driving from Chico to Berkeley, and I suddenly flashed on an image from a forgotten dream.

I dreamed I was wandering around Berkeley, California, on foot. I think I was in a residential neighborhood, although whatever houses there were, were set way back from the street. I guess I was on a street, but it looked more like a wide path in a (very large) garden. At intervals, there were these… nooks… sort of like (above-ground) swimming pools, but without water. Square-shaped, with square-shaped tiles, mostly ivory; a border of dark blue tiles at the top. There were trees all around the square tiled areas.

There was something weird about the trees. They all had round crowns of foliage, approximately the same height. They all somehow seemed to be… waist-height. Except they weren’t bonsais, nor topiaries. So maybe my dream-self was extremely tall, but that doesn’t seem right either. My dream-self’s relationship to the trees was Escher-like, so that even I cannot parse what it was, sensibly. I remember it, but I can’t describe it, nor can I think through how it must have been.

At some point, there was also a man with me (no one I know in waking life). Short in stature, with red curly hair. Tricksy. He kept being amused by things; I wasn’t always sure what they were, or why they were funny.


Someone I used to know, R, was born and raised in Berkeley, but has lived all over the country. She was in Ohio when I met her; I don’t know where she lives now.

I’ve never been to Berkeley. (I didn’t even know it was near San Francisco Bay until I Googled it just now.)

San Francisco Bay is one of ‘my’ estuaries, which is to say, one of the ones I proposed visiting for the purpose of learning about, when I applied for the Gift of Freedom Award from AROHO in late 2012. The others are Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound (Washington state), and the Mobile-Tensaw Delta (Alabama).

I think about, and imagine, ‘my’ estuaries periodically, even though the only one I’ve seen in person is Chesapeake Bay.

(I also think about Prince William Sound in Alaska sometimes, as well as Long Island Sound. I have been to both of those places.)

If my dream was somehow about San Francisco Bay, though, why wasn’t there any water in the dream?

I got very very close to applying to the Stanford-Stegner writing fellowship a few years back, but that’s at Stanford, not Berkeley.

I’ve almost applied for a residency at Djerassi, which is on the west of San Francisco Bay — Berkeley’s on the east side.

I was thinking that Spouse and I went to Point Reyes National Seashore when we were last in California some years back, but looking at Google Maps that can’t be right. We flew into San Jose, not San Francisco, and then we drove down to the Monterey/Big Sur area, where we were staying. Maybe it was Spouse who visited Point Reyes when he was in San Francisco on a business trip — I wasn’t with him.

I’m just really puzzled here. I could see dreaming about California itself, or SF Bay, or the Pacific Ocean. I could see dreaming about Stanford, or Djerassi. But a place I’ve never been and never thought of going?

Why the tiled square areas?

What kind of trees were they? Nothing I recognized, which is kind of weird actually.

The winding paths I was on, now that I think on’t, were kind of like a maze. Kind of. I didn’t know where they went, nor did I know where I’d come from.

And there’s the trickster guy… I was mostly bemused by him.

What could uncanny trees + square tiled Escher-like areas + Berkeley + winding paths + a red-haired male trickster have to do with each other? With me?

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