Beginning In 1992 ...
On December 31, 1993, I became obsessed with a dream I had the previous night. Some connection had been made with a previous dream I had several months, perhaps a year before. It was late in the day when I began to write. I was not certain why, but for the whole day I had actively avoided writing about them.
I believe it was because I realized that in each of three dreams over the past year, the tornado had come successively closer. And that scared me.
In the first dream, I saw the tornado from high above as it churned through a town, perhaps at the foot of a hill upon which I wasstanding. In the second, the tornado was two blocks away to my left, and I kept trying to drive away from it at right angles. It was very close.
The third dream took place in an open field. It was behind me as I ran to escape. I kept trying to angle out of its path, but I would get confused when I looked back and could not tell which way it was moving. I realized, then, that it was coming right at me. The dream ended with the tornado passing within a few feet of me, lying in a shallow depression barely the depth of my prone body.
In the fourth dream, I was in a hotel as I saw a truly monstrous tornado tearing up houses and buildings to the southwest – a black and gray wall of whirling debris. I found shelter in a restroom, selected because it had one high window, while the rest of the hotel was covered with huge floor-to-ceiling windows.
When the tornado struck the building, the room began to tilt, rocking gently, growing ever darker. The air in the room moved, almost breathing. Boards creaked and groaned, straining in the walls.
As the storm passed, the room lit gently, like a leaf caught in a raging river, swept into a backwash and came to rest. Everything of the room, except the wall against my back, had been ripped away.
In the fifth dream, January 1995, the tornado destroyed the mobile home in which I was living (in reality, I did not live in one). My family survived unharmed. But the primary focus of the dream was not the storm, but the aftermath. I awoke with an 'upbeat' feeling. From the Journal: 'We were totally wiped out. Nothing we owned remained. Yet, we were happy; almost relieved, in fact. It felt good to start over.'
Then, between January and April, 1996 (I failed to record one nearly forgotten dream until the following August), another tornado dream occurred. At that time, all I could remember was being in a building. Looking around, I found a particular handle – a lever, which I pulled. I went outside and saw a vortex forming in the sky directly above. A tornado was being created as I watched.
Thinking quickly, I ran back inside and switched the lever off. Outside, the vortex began to dissipate. It seems that in this dream, I had some control over the tornado.
During the summer of 1997, I dreamed I was in a car with some friends in the country. I was in the back seat, looking backward as we sat in a wooded city or state park. A small tornado was moving from right to left, probably a few hundred yards away. It was not headed in our direction, but we left the park very quickly.
Something about these particular dreams made it difficult for me to analyze them. Perhaps I saw them as too personal; perhaps too threatening or difficult. All were full to overflowing with other, more clear symbols. However, I am certain that they do not predict actual events. One thing was clear, however: the tornados are part of me.
Finally, after yet another dream in November 1997, I decided once and for all to face the challenge. It had taken too long, but near the end of November, I sat down, determined not to get up again until I understood these dreams and the meaning of the tornados.
credits: College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Penn State University (www.ems.psu.edu).
Photos by photographers of The Weather Channel.
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