Time Passages & Fears Emergent
A few months ago I had this dream. I’m driving alone at highway speed on a causeway over a large body of water. The road was just a few feet higher than the rippling waves. Suddenly, I noticed a black mini-van about fifty yards to my left, bobbing on the water’s surface. The hood and front wheels were submerged and its tail-end began to rise as the vehicle sank in a manner similar to the scene from Titanic – it was going down bow first.
As I was processing what I saw to my left, the next thing I knew I was in the water myself. The road was gone and I was sinking. My first thought was: “Shit! I lost my rig”. Next, I thought it must have been some sort of catastrophic event. Tsunami? Meteor? Earthquake? And my final considerations had to do with exiting the vehicle before I drowned. I recalled once reading survival procedures for that exact situation. Stay cool. Release my seat-belt. Make sure the driver’s door is unlocked. The electric windows will still power down for a time even under the water – and they must be lowered first so the vehicle’s interior can be filled. This will equalize the pressure so the door can be opened in order to escape and swim to the surface.
So that’s exactly what I set out to do. But as the water was violently entering the vehicle, I realized it would take some time to fill and by then I would be on or near the bottom. I was sinking fast. And that’s when I woke up.
My heart was pounding and I was sweating. It seemed so real; like a premonition. In any case, the dream made enough of an impression that I told a few people about it later in the day. Honestly, it haunts me still.
Then, a few weeks later, my wife and I were taking an evening walk after supper when she told me about her dream the night before. It was very similar to mine but we were together in the rig, with me driving, and we drove off a bridge and into a river instead. As she described the nightmare, her eyes watered and I could see she was as profoundly disturbed at its realism as I was with my own dream.
Now imagine my angst when I realized that for a June trip we had scheduled back in January, I would have to pick up my oldest kid who, at that time, would be in a location where I would be forced to drive a rented car across a causeway over a large body of water on four separate occasions – two of them with my entire family, once with just my oldest kid, and once by myself.
Upon that discovery, and given the emotional impact of the dreams described heretofore, I almost cancelled the whole deal.
I didn’t, though, and we survived. But I will tell you this: Our first trek across that causeway occurred at night in a blinding rain and on the last jaunt, alone, I was shaken to my core at how similar everything matched to my dream: The shade of the water, the sky’s tint, and the whitish-gray concrete side-rails. I saw it all months before – of an area where I’ve never been.
So, what did it mean? In retrospect, the only thing I can think of is this: In nearly all cases, what we fear never happens. Or, at least, it never happens in the exact way we feared it might. Even in a metaphysical universe, where every occurrence sets off an infinite number of variations on separate timelines, the ones where I drove off that causeway were certainly outnumbered by the arcs where nothing bad occurred.