Such awful news from Japan today about a massive earthquake and the tsunamis it is generating reminds me of repeat, giant tidal wave dreams I’ve experienced all my life.
These nightmares are part of my earliest memories and feature gargantuan waves hundreds of feet tall rolling toward me with incredible speed, and I am powerless to do anything about such an aberrant force of nature.
One dream is set atop a towering dune cliff at the Cape Cod beach where I swam every summer. In it, an enormous wave heads furiously toward me, and, as a child of 6 or 7, I can’t do anything except sit by the edge and wait. Then, just when the terror peaks, and the wave is ready to swallow me, it recedes – inches before it hits me.
In another, I’m on the rocky shore of a popular beach that really doesn’t exist, when a series of giant waves appear in the distance. I run in a crush of humanity to get to higher ground, but am unable to move fast enough. Again, as the waves approach, they break, but narrowly miss me.
And in a third, and perhaps the scariest of all, I am walking along a lovely, placid shoreline alone when a giant wave rears up out of nowhere and towers over me. When I turn to run? Another is coming from the other direction and when the two meet, land will be covered. Then I wake up.
My fear hasn’t been helped by the movies I’ve seen, like in 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, and even The 10 Commandments, where giant walls of water cause destruction and death. I am horrified by those images, and today’s, but still drawn to them in spite of, and maybe because of, my fears.
I’ve tried to analyze why these dreams have plagued me for so long. I remember being stuck in a wave’s undertow when I was really young and feeling close to drowning. Or maybe I’ve felt like I was drowning in my life.
Whatever it is, the feeling came back today as I was keeping up with the news on my laptop. I’m hoping I can get a grip on the dreams and the reasons behind them, before I have another one. But I do realize that any horror I experience exists only in my unconscious, and eventually I am lucky enough to wake up.
I can’t imagine what it must have been like for those poor souls today.