Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bridge of Whys

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 . . . )


Winston said...

Now I'm very concerned about you, MaryB. Have you quit taking your medication? Perhaps it's time to speak to the doc about increasing the dosage. May even be time to go back into a facility for a while. Maybe more elecric shock treatments...

Tamar said...

Think about the symbolism of a bridge and what that could mean for you. And also, try and remember how you felt physically in your dream when that bridge came up and think when else you have ever felt that way. Those suggestions have sometimes helped me figure out why I might be thinking of something like that. And, of course, if it doesn't move you in any way ... well, it can't hurt! Interesting that it is always in the same direction, though. I mean, interesting to me.

MaryB said...

Darn, Winston! I knew I was forgetting something! Now, where'd I put those meds?

Tamar, certainly "bridge" can represent all kinds of things. Usually, I just think "Hm, here it is again. Weird," before moving on and forgetting about it until the next time. And I, too, find it interesting that I'm always headed in the same direction (away from the more familiar shore).

Peter (the other) said...

Mary, I found I had grown a "fear" of bridges, almost panic attacks, in recent years, and then I discovered it was just a case of aging eyes. I can't refocus too well, so when I drive over a bridge now, instead of enjoying the view, I keep my eyes on the road/car ahead, and all is fine. But I love the imagery of your bridge, mysterious and beautiful. One wants to find out where it leads to. No bridges in my dreams though (schwew, I'd hate to have to do that ECT stuff again!).