This is a long dream entry, and perhaps not especially exciting to the reader. But the felt sense was very elevated, excited, ambitious, and primitive. And the trajectory of events is quite curious.
I find myself working in an unusual church. A service will shortly begin. The staff seem very confused and disorganised. The woman in charge, in particular, seems to lack any skill or sense of purpose.
The service starts before we are ready. A hymn begins, but the congregation is missing hymn books and stumble awkwardly over the words.
I glance around the space. The church is a mess. The fittings are outdated and in disrepair. I ponder how the space could be updated, painted, decorated. And how the community could be reinvigorated through improved services, activities and community engagement. I feel a keen enthusiasm for the task. What if I were to raise my hand to plan a refurbishment of the church? It seems an unlikely role for an agnostic like myself, but somehow feels right.
The building is an enormous rectangular box, more akin to a warehouse than a church. The ceiling is perhaps twenty metres above. The walls and ceiling are flat, concrete, painted white, and mostly free from decoration.
Along one of the building’s long walls are bookcases reaching almost to the ceiling, filled with old books that appear to have gone untouched for decades. I imagine relocating most of these into storage. It seems pointless to leave them there gathering dust and cluttering the space. But perhaps, I wonder, they have a purpose I’m unaware of. Maybe they are important to the community. I need to be cautious and respectful. Yet it does seem excessive, and the upper shelves are clearly inaccessible.
“I presume this is used as some sort of library?”, I ask the manager. She seems to sense my interest in making changes, and finds this idea suspicious.
I notice that the opposite long wall of the building, where the entrance is located, has wall to wall glass windows along its upper half, allowing a tremendous glow of natural light. I notice an obscure metal structure through the windows, partially shading the building. I am again filled with excitement at the possibilities for re-enchanting this space.
At this moment the tone and perspective of the dream shifts.
I find myself outside the church, ascending skyward along an arc as if carried by an enormous Ferris wheel with its base station at the church. I notice that the church is situated between the legs of the Eiffel Tower, which rises high into the sky above.
My trajectory soon becomes horizontal. I am relaxed and tired. I am hovering metres above a freeway, my face poking out of a little window in the cabin. A couple in a car below gesture to me to keep my head inside.
I suddenly realise that the cabin is no longer tethered to the Ferris wheel and I need to control it. I pull over on the freeway and consult a laptop, which I sense has led me the wrong way.
At this moment the dream shifts again into an entirely new setting.
I am in the Australian desert. Two indigenous Australians sit at a distance from each other, each with his own fire. I notice they are cooking chunks of wood which, when heated, crack open to reveal an edible core. I have some, too, however mine seem inedible, or else I do not have a fire to prepare them over.
I ask one of the men if I can use his fire, or have some of his food. I feel vulnerable, and humble. I feel I need help, that help is necessary, but that it is wrong for me to depend entirely on the man.
The man is sucking on the last half inch of a cigarette of sorts. He offers it to me, smiling, and suggests in a friendly manner that I go and make my own fire, and that I will know what to do.
I walk a little way, sucking gently on the cigarette to keep it alight. I feel excited to be venturing to learn this new skill, to look after myself in the wild, to reinhabit the animal in me. Though I am conscious that I really don’t know what to do.
I find a patch of mossy ground and set myself down. I understand the moss to be essential for the creation of a proper fire. I am lacking firewood, however. I see shrubbery nearby, but this is no good.
I return to the man for his guidance. He advises gently but firmly that I will need to search for it. He suggests searching over by the other man. I feel excited to have to really work for my own survival. I reflect on the likelihood that, although I will lose weight, I will feel strong.
I notice a small group of white people nearby. I suspect they may be put out by my endeavours, that they might expect me to return to help them. But I continue unperturbed.
My final memory, as I search for wood, is coming across a jovial chap, leading some sort of indigenous dancing ceremony.