Whenever I dream about my hometown Chattanooga, those dreams are invariably located in one of two places: the Wilkes T. Thrasher Bridge over Lake Chickamauga (always travelling in the same direction) and Brainerd Baptist Church (specifically the old church sanctuary and the warren of rooms underneath). Both the bridge and the church seem sinister, creepy, even if nothing particularly scary happens in the dream. It’s the location that sets the creep-tone. And I’m aware of this as I dream.
“Ah, here’s the bridge. I know how this dream is going to make me feel.” Or, “Uh-oh, I’m in the old Sunday School room in the basement. The dream is already disturbing.”
Last night it was the bridge.
I am not afraid of bridges. Living in Manhattan, I'd be in big fat trouble if I were. But there is something about this particular bridge that works its way into the fog of my dreams three or four times a year. As a kid I’d been over it hundreds of times. As a teenager, I’d driven across it. It didn’t scare me then - or maybe it did a little, but not enough to stop me from crossing it. I’ve even driven across it several times as a full-blown adult - aware of the dreams - but the reality and the dreams don't seem to connect. Just a big ol' harmless bridge is the reality.
Still, I dream about this bridge. Whenever I think about the dreams, I feel unsettled and a little scared. I’ve looked at pictures of it taken the 1950’s and 60’s, trying to remember how it felt to cross it. What did I look at as we drove across? What was the sensation of moving from one side to the other? But nothing comes to mind that would be the root cause of these odd dreams.
Guess a therapist would have a field day. Too bad. It ain't worth $100 bucks an hour to me to find out why a perfectly normal bridge pops up in my dreams as a scary place. Still. Hm. (Now, the church-thing is whole different story . . . )