Fish Dreams

photo by Lel4nd

I still sleep with my hands curled like they are holding a pushpole.  It started when I was fishing so much that I developed a permanent tension in my hands.  I mentioned it to Steve Huff once a long time ago and he said, “Funny, I do the same thing.”  Maybe this sleeping life is closer to the real thing than we realize.

Louis Cahill’s recent blog post on fish dreams–or more specifically on if fish dream, and if they do, why–got me pondering my own fish dreams today.

Ever since getting off the water full-time I’ve been blessed with dreams that alternate between swimming (migrating?) big distances–often swimming from Key West to the Marquesas–and some epic story that involves an underwater landscape.  Both can be explained.  The epic swimming dream is probably an answer to trying to get into the heads of fish: the mantra “be the fish” is a near-nuff tag line to that one.  Dreaming of an underwater landscape without water is a bit more obtuse.  But I’m sure it comes from a need to perceive the topography of the flats without water–something you truly need to do to understand hydrology and fish behavior.

Pretty cool that dreams can draw in all this stuff we learn and re-present it in stories.  Do they mean anything at all?  Do they help us solve problems or, as Cahill suggests, file information? Maybe so.  But the dream is a reward in itself, especially if it is filled with reminders of all the mysteries we’ve engaged with.