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Hebrides II (Revisited): Week 4 – 9 March

Hamlet once said that he could be “bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams”. And I feel much the same. Not that I could necessarily be bounded in a nutshell—I think there’d be quite a lot left over, not to mention something of a mess to clean up—but about the dreams. Why is it that when I remember my dreams, they’re always disturbing?

Stacks of Duncansby

Anxiety has been a constant companion throughout my life. A few days before I took my driving test, aged 18, I dreamt I’d taken it and failed. So powerful was the dream that it took most of the following morning before I realised that the actual test was still in the future, the failure as yet only hypothetical. (I passed first time, by the way: as Linus from Peanuts would say, “I wasted a good worry”.) Just last night I dreamt that I was lying on the floor, helpless and dying after some unspecified disaster, possibly a heart attack. This was actually an improvement on another dream a few months ago, when I dreamt I had just died, and my spirit was detached from my body, occupying the space in the room, wondering what came next. Another time I dreamt that half my face was missing. Every time I read that one of the most commonly reported dreams is turning up to work naked, I think, hey, that sounds interesting; as if even in my subconscious I’m missing all the fun.

Friendly Fenceposts

I don’t dream about ganseys, and given how the rest of my dreams work out that’s probably a good thing. Excitingly, I’ve just reached the point where front and back divides: the semi-gussets are ready to go on their holders, and the foundations of the yoke pattern have been laid. There’s just a narrow diamond border to separate the body from the yoke; I had to condense the band because the body is slightly shorter than the ganseys I knit for myself. It’s fun to be knitting a Hebridean pattern again—they’re such a riot of patterns the whole fabric seems to come alive, like a knitted Book of Kells.

Swan on the Grand Union Canal

And in other news, spring seems to have finally, tentatively, arrived even in Caithness. (As King Solomon once observed, the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; though after watching Finding Nemo I presume the voice of the turtle mostly says, “Woaaah, dude”.) So here’s one of my favourite Japanese poems to celebrate. It’s by Ome Shushiki (1668-1725), on the hope that spring brings, even to dry dreamers such as I:

Dead my old fine hopes
And dry my dreaming, but still…
Iris, blue each spring.

6 comments to Hebrides II (Revisited): Week 4 – 9 March

  • =Tamar

    My anxiety dream once was that the entire next day had gone completely wrong. I spent the morning being completely depressed, until something factual contradicted the dream happenings. What a relief!

    The gansey is looking good.

    • Gordon Reid

      Hi Tamar, you’d think I’d feel relief when I discover that the dreams aren’t real. But no! Somehow the dread they instil carries through the day, so that while the events weren’t real, the post-traumatic stress they cause apparently is. (This doesn’t seem entirely fair…)

  • Cam

    During one of my worst office jobs, every night I would dream the whole miserable day over again. Small wonder that I absolutely adore being retired! And expecting two cones of Frangipani Red in today’s mail — to make Carol Sunday’s Shakespeare in Love. Life is good!

    • Gordon

      Hi Cam, that seems a bit harsh – one of my few compensations is knowing that each bad day is at least behind me. This was always one of the things I dreaded when I read the scientific theory that the universe – and time – was currently expanding forwards, but one day it would contract, and everything would happen again, and so on, again and again, on into infinity. The thought that the universe exists just so I can take my driving test an infinite number of times is enough to shake one’s convictions in a beneficent deity…

  • Laura Kinnane-Brew

    It is looking amazing Gordon!

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