Dream, 12th May, Anonymous

I had a thrilling dream about the Northern Lights which being in New York I missed and felt excluded. 

I was being driven along a country road. We were in several cars. My mother was there, and P H,  the novelist and harsh literary critic. I think P represents to me the established idea of what a novel is, and as the gatekeeper to such a world. In the dream we were getting along very well, though I think in the end he was one of the first to leave the scene of the spectacle of the Northern Lights. It was the middle of the night and I think he wanted or had to get back to London. 

I suggested to my mother that we seek out a local village hostel. This was at the end of the dream. I woke up wondering if we’d find a place that was open, and whether my mother and I would be able to sleep in the car together. But the main part of the dream was stopping to see the Northern Lights. I was the first to see them, and said, ‘What’s that?’ as a patch of the sky glowed, for a few moments, fluorescent green and then dramatically turned red. We stopped the car and the other cars followed suit. The display of lights grew ever more spectacular. 

What I hadn’t realised, I said to myself in the dream, was that there would also be these dramatic accompanying soundscapes that followed on from each burst of visual activity: an extraordinary rush of sound like wind, but without the air itself moving, complex sounds like music but somehow monotonic. 

The world felt different, not more threatening nor kindlier, but as if we had been granted a gift that came unadulterated by promise: it just was what it was. I really felt as if I truly was seeing this phenomenon, though when I woke, I realised that the experience had surely been greater than it could possibly ever be in ‘real’ life. In waking life, I had been feeling as if I were missing out. And now after the dream, I don’t. I haven’t described the light displays in detail because I think they are beyond my capabilities. They, too, were what they were … outside of words.