Friday, January 8, 2010

Invading my Dreams

The army is having an odd impact on my ability to remember my dreams. Science insists that we dream every night, no matter what we remember the next morning. Most folks, I imagine, have two or three dreams a week that stick in their memory. I have only one, and for my first three weeks in the army it followed the same pattern. Every Friday night, after a long week of lights out snoozing, I would wake Shabbat morning with a vivid dream. All of them were variations on the same theme, documenting in different settings my commitment to be serving in my unit.

All well and good. Until this past week, when my routine was interrupted by a terrifyingly life-like dream that had nothing at all to do with anything. Batman, script rewrites and murderous siblings... The moment I awoke the memories began to fade and it was all I could do to scribble down what I could remember of the drama that had accompanied me through the night. My scribbles threw off my morning schedule and sure enough, I was late for the morning formation. It was difficult not to smile when my commander asked me with a scowl why I was late. Its a long story, I told him, most of which I don't remember.


  1. Murderous siblings????? Do tell!

  2. Much as I never thought I would, I really miss the pregnant, carcinogenic air of Ba"h Naha"l. The place occupies a weird space in my chronological memory, as if it were not just a location or physical place I had occasion to pass through, but a state of mind--better yet, an alternate universe.

    You're not yourself when you enter the Ba"h. There's an effect where, as at the Gates of Mordor, even looking at the Shin-Gimel rouses all those familiar emotions - anticipation, fear, uncertainty, powerlessness, desperation, fear again, frustration, loneliness - foreshadowing the experience that awaits within.

    And then once inside, you can cut the atmosphere with a knife -- time seems to move both slower and faster, and the changes of pace and environment leave you paralyzed and disoriented.

    I always found it impossible to even think thoughts of the outside world when on the Ba"h. Your life is so present, so here-and-now, so in-your-face that no outside stimulus is enough to whip you through the mental confines of the Ba" and into your normal consciousness of the outside world.

    All this in response to your observation about dreams; but it's not just dreams that the army disrupts, it's your (my) entire ability to conceive of a world beyond the mitvachim, humans or civilizations that might exist only a few kilometrim past where we turned around on our last masa.

    And so I thought of you a couple days ago when the earthquake hit, because I remember that very misdar mahlakah, right before sa'apash, only about a month more than 5 years ago today, when my mem-mem solemnly announced, with no introduction or conclusion, no sense of absurd context - like the hand of God reaching through a rupture in time itself to shake each soldier back to lucid awareness - that more than 800,000 Indonesians had likely died in a tsunami.

    So Shabbat Shalom, shmirah ne'imah and....halomot metukim ;)