I must write this down, before I forget. I got up yesterday morning and told my husband, “Dear, I dreamed about giant crabs.”
Now, one of my favorite films is called “Dreams” (Yume). Directed by the iconic Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa in 1990, the film has just the right combination of surreal images, discordant messages, and troubled emotions – all filmed in dazzlingly bright colors. Kurosawa on steroids – no, he has always been on steroids – rather, on an acid trip. There is a foxes’ wedding procession; there are dolls and mountains and demons and windmills and a nuclear meltdown. It is broken up into eight segments – interspersed with the comment “and I dreamed this, too…” Another Academy Award-winning film director, Martin Scorsese (another of my very favorites, too) appears, oddly, as a very crochety Vincent Van Gogh (he had just cut off his ear). Just as, in dreams, people you know often appear as someone completely different – familiar, and yet not.
Well, back to my dream, now. We were in Jamaica (by “we” I mean my husband and myself, and a few other shadowy figures, possibly family members), and we had visitors from overseas. We were showing them around. “We must take a walk along this beautiful river,” we told our visitor. One of them I recognized clearly as an old friend of my sister’s family, whom we had met again recently in the UK.
And so we set off, in single file, along a well-worn pathway beside a sweetly flowing river. The water was cerulean blue, and the vegetation on either side was as green as the enhanced color that I set when I am taking a photograph sometimes – almost acidic. The landscape was gorgeous, and as we walked along we chatted. Then, for some reason, the river seemed to disappear. It ran into the ground, soaking down through gravel and pebbles. The riverbed remained, and we continued to walk – this appeared to be perfectly normal to us. I stepped down into the riverbed and found small pools of water. “Look, here is some water!” I told the others. I paddled my feet in it (I had no shoes on and seemed to be wearing a long dress, so I lifted up my skirts to avoid getting them wet). I seemed to find this quite enchanting. The water was cold and clear.
Then I noticed that the ground was shifting and trembling slightly beneath my feet. I went back to the path and joined the others, who I saw were suddenly filled with terror.
For lo and behold, ahead of us what we thought was a boulder in the riverbed was lifting itself up and as it did so, it revealed the beady eyes and twitching proboscis of a huge crab beneath. And then its huge legs unfolded, groping in the air, like something from an old monster movie. And this crab was a carnivore, and hungry.
You know what it’s like in dreams. When you want to move – especially to run away from something that fills you with fear and dread – your legs feel like lead. You cannot move – or only extremely slowly, like an astronaut in those heavy boots on the moon. And yes, there were more crabs. And yes, one of our visitors became a victim. Kicking and screaming, he was slowly devoured by the first crab. It appeared that other crabs masquerading as rocks in the riverbed were also intent on having us for supper.
At this point I woke up, gasping for air. Our lovely sight-seeing trip had gone badly wrong. And those crabs were seriously out to get us. If I hadn’t woken up, I fear I would have been eaten, along with my husband and all our happy tourists.
So there you have it. You dream interpreters can have fun with this one. I wonder if the setting of the dream was connected to an autumn walk I took back in September with my brother, along the Wey & Arun Canal in Sussex. You can find the photos of that quiet, melancholy English afternoon on my Flickr photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/bananakatie/.
I do know that in every dream that I remember, there is always water – the sea, a river, a pond, a lake. I believe Water means simply Life. That explains quite a lot.
And another time I will write more about the awesomeness of Mr. Kurosawa. As a former student of Japanese, his work looms large in my consciousness… Waking or dreaming.
- TMT: Ran at the Royal (le0pard13.com)
- http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9C0CE5D7103AF937A1575BC0A966958260 (New York Times review: Kurosawa’s “Dreams”)
- Watch Kurosawa’s Rashomon Free Online, the Film That Introduced Japanese Cinema to the West (openculture.com)
- http://www.weyandarun.co.uk (Wey and Arun Canal)