Dreaming about houses and water.

I have two recurring dreams.

Or, not so much recurring dreams so much as recurring themes in my dreams. The first is houses and the second is water.

I have had two kinds of recurring house dreams. The first I don’t have anymore, but did for a while. Those are what I called, in my head, the “big cool house with something wrong inside it” dreams.

The name (paraphrased from a song in the musical The Secret Garden) pretty much says it all. In those dreams, I was visiting or living in a house. It was usually big and interesting and I liked things about it, but there was something wrong with it that prevented it from being the great house it could otherwise be. The “something wrong” was never anything as concrete as a ghost in the attic or a zombie in the basement, and I never encountered it directly, though sometimes I think I knew where it was located: maybe underground or in a dark wing of the house. It was just something that felt wrong—moldy, unwholesome, malevolent. Those dreams were unpleasant, and I woke up feeling bad.

I still have the second type of house dream, and it’s not scary at all.

In these dreams, I’m either looking for a new place to live or I’ve just moved into a new place. I almost always like the new house or apartment and the neighborhood I’m looking in quite in a bit. Occasionally I’m looking but it is too hard to find an apartment, because the neighborhood is too expensive or there are too few vacancies. Usually my new or prospective home is in a city, but once it was on a long strip of land beside some blue water at the edge of a city, and recently it was in a small green college town. My dream dwellings are never in a place that actually exists, and even during the dream, I often wonder why I’ve overlooked living there before.

Unlike the other kind of house dream, I don’t wake up from these dreams upset, just a little wistful.

My water dreams aren’t as narratively coherent as my house dreams. The water–a nice play to swim with pools of clear blue water–is more of a recurring image. The landscape tends to be brown or yellow, not lush green like in the Pacific Northwest. Sometimes in my dream, I remember visiting the water but I either can’t find it again or I don’t have time.

I love swimming in my waking life, and I’ve been to a few places that come pretty close to my dream swimming hole: some hot springs outside Mammoth, California; parts of Pedernales State Park and Barton Creek in Texas; some caves with a stream running through in New Zealand. (The cave that the pirate ship is in at the end of Goonies also comes to mind.) But it’s never quite right.

Lencois Maranhenses

Lately I’ve been brainstorming for my next vacation and I’ve been thinking about trying find a place with water like in my dreams. I just saw a picture of a place called Lencois Maranhenses in Brazil. It looks like a desert but it gets flooded during the rainy season, creating fresh-water lagoons. I think it looks amazing but I’m not sure I can convince my husband to accompany me on a weird pilgrimage to a remote corner of Brazil where there is nothing to do but wander through dunes, swim, and get sunburned.


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