Thunder Only Happens When It's Raining (Your Dreams)

I’ve had a couple dreams that have stayed with me over the years. One was a Stephen-King-esque story-dream, complete with ghosts apparently re-creating an old suicide, and it hasn’t faded in my memory in 20 years. It was rich in detail in backstory; almost ready for transcription to screenplay.

I used to dream a lot as a teenager. As a middle-aged man, not so much (I should say, I guess, that as a teenager I remembered many of my dreams upon waking; as a middle-aged man, not so much.)

Have you noticed, with age, a change in how you dream, what you dream, and how long you remember dreams?

I have noticed the following patterns with my dreams:

  1. I do not have them on any sort of a regular basis.

  2. They tend to be short in length, or at least to seem that way.

  3. They tend to be rather mundane.

  4. I can never remember specific details about my dreams for very long.

To answer the question, these facts have not changed any over the years.

I remember my dreams being much more story-like in my youth. Whether they were scary, pleasant, quirky or pornographic, at least they made sense. Sometimes the same dream would recur over several nights but not consecutively, just every so often. Many times I realized the next morning that my mind had just been making sense of or processing and drawing conclusions from events of the day.

For a couple of years during my late 30s, they sometimes turned downright hilarious. I’d tell myself jokes in my sleep and would laugh so hard I’d wake my wife.

During the last couple of years sometimes I’ve found them to be incredibly frustrating because every so often they’ll become obsessively focused on some minute detail and can be endlessly repetitious without actually resolving anything. Those I hate and awake feeling quite unrefreshed.

I’d just like to add that once, many, many years ago I had a dream where I fell into a very deep pit. I fell for what seemed like hundreds of feet and then I hit bottom!

Obviously putting the lie to the old legend that if you actually do this in a dream you will die. But it only happened that once. Still remember it though.

Or, maybe I’m a zombie?

I almost always dream in what I used to call the Boremare Universe, but as I’ve
refined my perception I’ve noticed other deeper undercurrents in this alternate

It started about 15 years ago with what on the surface appeared to be a very
mundane world, where nothing ever happens and nothing really matters (1) but as I
intimated over time I’ve noticed a deeper barely detectable numinous undercurrent.
It’s kind of like our world, but (for example): the central part of the country, where
the Appalachians are, is a series of huge lakes crisscrossed by causeways. I often
would be driving there in the dream, trying to get to someplace, any place, which
contains Genuine Meaning, instead of endless empty vistas. Often I would get
hopelessly lost or sidetracked.

I know part of me is attracted to this existential purgatory as another part of me is
repulsed. I hardly, hardly dream of any other setting anymore. On a couple of
occasions my consciousness would become more lucid and I would DEMAND from
TPTB that they strip away this phony facade and reveal the deep undercurrent in
all its transcendent glory, but so far I have been unable to breach the barrier.

[1] Quick quiz for anyone able to name the band/song this line comes from.

About ten years ago, I had a dream. Very surreal sort of thing, but at the same time, it felt VERY realistic – so much so that when I woke up, I lay in bed for a moment, trying to decide if it had actually happened or not.

I was with a friend of mine, an on-and-off girlfriend. We were driving along a mountain sort of road – think Colorado driving from Boulder to Nederland, that sort of terrain.

We are trying to find “Vista Verde.”

We see signs along the road: ‘Vista Verde 6’

Then ‘Vista Verde 4’

‘Vista Verde 2’

Then… ‘Vista Verde 4’

“What the heck? Did we miss a turn?”

So I turn the car around… drive back the other way.

‘Vista Verde 4’

‘Vista Verde 2’

‘Vista Verde 4’

Keep going.

‘Vista Verde 6’

It was so weird. We turned around again. There were no other roads. Yet the damn numbers would get down to 2 and then start going up again.

I remember that dream clearly.

I wonder why.

There are cities I visit in my dreams that do not exist. They recur in dream after dream. I am often slightly puzzled to find myself in one, then remember it slowly from other dreams.
Someday I will actually find myself in one, and know which way the Street of the Weavers leads away from the house of my ancestors…

My dreams are quite vivid and detailed. I usually remember them when I wake up, but they fade as the day passes.

Last night I dreamt that the Eagles would defeat the Steelers in their pre-season game. The score was 27-0. (OK, that isn’t particularly interesting, but I wanted to record it so that we can see how precient it is come August.)

I’m not gonig to get into detail with my dreams only because I have limited time. But I almost never remember them. If I find myself consistently remembering them I know I am stressed about something, and should soul-search a bit and see what it is. That hasn’t changed one whit since my teen years,.

I’ve always had intense dreams (including a very memorable one from when I was 6 years old, where a giant lobster appeared in my backyard and cut off my arm with his ginormous claw and when I looked at my stump it had all kinds of wires sticking out) but when I was about 25 I started having intense flying dreams and lucid dreaming.

In my first lucid dream I was running through my childhood home trying to get away from robbers, and as I ran into my dad’s workshop, I realized I was cornered, so I made a trapdoor in the floor and escaped into this gigantic underground room.

I often have dreams where I am flying, and if I dream I am falling I am able to take control and usually start spiraling down to slow down and land.

Last night after I landed in a lake, a giant came and helped me fight this evil doll-man that was trying to kill me. The doll was pushing me under water and I was biting his fingers as hard as I could. Finally the giant overpowered the doll and as I came up to the surface, I realized I wasn’t going to make it - I took a breath under water…and woke up with a start.

When I have dreams that I remember, they almost always integrate real people and real things going on in my life in weird ways.


One day I got off work at Target* and walked out to my car which was parked in a parking garage . I got in my car and started driving down the ramp when I got rear-ended.*** I got out of the car and walked back to talk to the other driver, and determined that the other driver was someone I knew. **** I ended up having my car towed, because the light which indicates low transmission fluid had been blinking on, and now that car had been scrunched it just seemed prudent.*****

*where I worked at the time in real life

**Only in the dream was that Target two or more stories high with a parking garage.
***My one and only car accident in which I was driving involved me being rear-ended in the rain, probably 6 months before–albeit not at night, and not in a parking garage or after getting off work.
****Knew, but not well. We’d spent 3 weeks together as part of a group tour of South Africa. She doesn’t live near me, and she doesn’t drive. Even in the dream I knew it was illogical for her to be there, and for her to be driving a car.
*****Low transmission fluid levels had caused this light to go on in my car about 4 months before. I took it in, got it topped off, and a few days later they replaced whatever was causing the leak. When I had my accident, I was able to drive away–the other car wasn’t.
This is a fairly average degree of convolutedness for my dreams that I remember. Although this one requires more explaination from me as to why it isn’t plausible than some. What human dentist in her right mind would drive 14 hours for just a weekend to tend to an owl, and thus be unavailable for human tooth emergencies?

It is probably just as well that I only have one about every six months.

Most of my dreams occur in a number of places I always dream about, and I change the dreams to what I want to happen or where I want to go that night. I usually have to save everybody, and I can fly by willing it, or change the suroundings to make it safe. I found that in my thirties I would wake up and know what to do about things in the physical world, that had been a problem before the dream. I’ve had some dreams that I did something and felt bad for weeks, because it was so real. For some reason I had a dream where I had to kill somebody after stopping him from killing my family like 30 times. I knew the only way to be safe was kill him. I dispossed of the body in the dream, and the next two weeks I caught when they found the body. I bothered me a lot longer. I guess it’s better to work out morel delimas that way.

My dreams come in three flavors: Lucid, not-quite-nightmare, and impossible.

The lucid dreams are my favorite. I can controll myself completely and make myself do anything, but the enviroment is beyond my controll. The first one I ever had went like this: I was walking around a neighborhood across town. I had to go to the bathroom realy badly, so I broke into a house and took a piss. As I was finishing up, I heard the houses resident coming in. I panicked (I had broken into their house, after all). Then I realized that it was my dream. I turned invisible and walked through the walls. Then I made wings grow out of my back (which hurt) and flew away. I had this dream when I was thirteen or fourteen, and they have occurred ever since. Now (6-7 years later) they usually involve moving in between farmilliar scenes with no transitions or explainations.

A typical example of the not-quite-nightmare types is the one I had a few nights ago. I was driving home from the library and got rear-ended. Because of this I had to spend a few nights in the town jail.

The impossible types are just plain wierd. I had one where I was at a Rage Against the Machine concert in ancient Carthage. This happened about a month after RATM broke up. In another one I was falling into the floor. Not into holes in the floor, or on the floor, but into the floor itself. Wierd.

I have a series of recurring dreams in which I have to get somewhere, but things keep conspiring to make me late. I don’t know where it is I have to be… maybe it’s an airport. I’ve had these dreams for 20 years before I was ever on a plane, and I still have them. There are different scenarios, but they all tie together by the fact that I am running late for getting to this unknown (to my conscious self) place. I’ll be hitchhiking in one, always on the same stretch of road. I’ll be trying to get to the bus terminal before the bus leaves, but I get lost trying to find a restaurant bathroom (it’s always the same restaurant), or I can’t find my change at the subway booth. If I could have these dreams in sequence, I’m pretty sure they’d tell me something. Dunno what, but my mind wants to play out this story. I wish it’d let me in on what it is!

Also, I seem to have lived a different life in a place where I’ve never been, to my knowledge. I’ve been having dreams for decades about being in a fairly crummy apartment. I can see the image of it in my head now. I can see the colors, where the furniture is, I know that inside the coat closet in the hall there’s a hole in the floor, and I can see into the apartment below. I can see the view from the window - the apartment is several floors up. I don’t know what’s supposed to happen in this dream. I know I’ve never been to the place, if it exists. Yet I still dream about it often enough that I could draw you a picture of the room.

I have very vivid dreams, extremely varied in plot and detail, and yet after I wake up it’s hard to describe them. I dream about doing things at work (though it’s never work the way it looks in real life), about being chased, about being back inb school, about scary things, happy things, erotic things, you name it. But afterwards they never seem to quite make sense, because they jump from situation to situation, plot to plot in a surreal way.

I know this is supposed to be impossible, but I remember a dream like this from when I was very young. Very young-- I couldn’t have been more than a toddler, because in my dream I fell from the sky and landed in my crib, waking the moment I “hit”. I’ve described the room the crib was in (down to which wall it rested against) and my mother says yes, that is what the house looked like, and we moved from there when I was no more than four years old.

Everyone tells me it’s impossible that I remember a dream from when I was that young, but to this day it’s so clear I can tell you what color my blanket was.

I’m still a vivid, movie-like dreamer at age 28. I think it my case it may be because I write stories in my head all day long and when I’m trying to get to sleep. Maybe my brain has just been trained to present everything in narrative form. I’m presently working on a novel which I dreamed on night. The characters stuck with me so much that the first thing I did the next morning was start writing.

All my life I’ve dreamed of work shops run by water and belts, and steam engines (trains) and stuff from that era. It shouldn’t supprise anybody that I love to read books from back then either. The dreams came first though.

I’ve pretty much always had the same problem - if I don’t write it down or review it immediately, I will unfortunately forget it pretty soon. These days, I guess I’m less likely to remember them because I have to get to work.

I’ve always been a very vivid dreamer. Sometimes, however, the dream is out of focus, like I don’t have my glasses on, but I can still sort of tell what’s going on, and there’s usually the fear involved because I can’t see.

I’ve only ever had one recurring dream. It lasted from childhood until just recently - I was a baby, in a car seat, and suddenly the world was upside down, and then I was laying in a pile of leaves with loud noises. This stopped when my parents were talking about a car accident my father was involved with when I was about four to six months old - he flipped the car while drunk (luckily he got paranoid when drunk and had ROPED my car seat into the seat). He pulled me out of the car in case it exploded (thanks, dad), put me in a pile of leaves on the side of the road, and passed out. Ever since my parents talked about it, I’ve stopped having that dream.

Incidentally, I was taken away from my dad and they wouldn’t hand me over to my mom for three days, and I had quite the fear of leaves until about the age of two and a half.

I’ve had some very weird dreams before, a lot of them having turned into stories. I remember one in which I was a girl driving a car, but it wasn’t me, and there were three boys in the car with me - I got the feeling that it was sometime between 1950 and 1970, because it definitely wasn’t present day, and it was an older car. It’s raining outside, and a deer dashes in front of me. I try to swerve to avoid it, but the car doesn’t have power steering, and it somehow flips. The boy that had been sitting next to me looked like a very young John Lennon. When I climb out of the car, there’s deer meat all over the front of the car, and the two boys in the back seat climb out as well, but the boy from the front seat didn’t. We look in and there’s his body - minus his head. Apparently the car didn’t have safety glass, cuz a shard of it had smashed through his neck and his head was laying about two feet away from his body. In my dream I recalled something about dentists being able to put teeth back in if you still have the tooth, and it made some sort of sick sense to me, so I picked up the head (which, in my dream, seemed pretty heavy for such a small appendage) and tried to put it back on the neck, and then I puked. The end. I woke up crying, it was such an intense, weird dream. Anyway, yeah, I started a story based on that dream and it’s going pretty good.

I hope my intense dreaming doesn’t go away with age (I’m 21) because it’s quite interesting to see what my brain comes up with at night.