Late Afternoon Run Dream

A few nights ago I had a vivid dream which has stayed with me. These are the details:

I am driving my car down various dirt roads along the side of a picturesque mountain. I am looking for a place to run before it gets too dark. I keep looking at the analog clock in the dashboard, and I am anxious about the time. When I see that the sun in the distance is sliding closer to the horizon, I almost give up on the search.

Finally, I see what may be an unpaved parking area and the start of a trail. I park the car, and I start to run at a brisk pace down the trail. At first, the trail winds around the thick trees and vines of a dark forest. The setting sun bleeds just enough through the foliage to cast everything in a disturbing reddish hue. It is like a magical forest claimed by old, watchful demons. I sense their eyes staring at me from behind a thorn bush or a wall of dried up leaves. Still, I press on with my run, for I know that I am not going to discover any other trails before the night.

The trail leaves the magical forest behind after awhile. It gets considerably wider, and it opens into a vast green area with planted hedges. There is a gazebo in the center of the green area, and I sense the ghosts of a band playing instruments inside the gazebo and of Victorian ladies in oversized hats and ruffled dresses leisurely enjoying the scene. For the ghosts, the day is summer bright and endless. For me, as I run on this wide, dirt trail along the perimeter of the abandoned park, the weather is cooling, and the day is almost over. The wind picks up by the time I am running down the other side of the green area, and I can smell manicured lawn and orange marmalade in the breeze. Since there is no one else out there, I presume that this smell is from the past. It is a kind of ghost hinting at a world long abandoned to the march of time. I pick up my stride, because when I am moving faster I am taking in more air, and that allows me to breathe in this scent all the more. Perhaps, if I move fast enough, I shall capture a glimpse of that splendid park day.

The trail curves as a horseshoe around the green area. As I get to the bottom, I see that I can turn down a connector trail that will send me back quickly into the magical forest from which I came. Or I can take the trail that juts off to the right, and continue my run into unexplored territory. Even though it is late, I choose the trail that juts off to the right and away from the park wraparound trail. I am again running through a darkened forest. Because the sun is so low now in the sky, the reddish hue has given way to a thick, cool purple. The trees have much less foliage. They look like spindly limbs quivering in wind gusts. I run fast enough so that the skeletal tree fingers never manage to scratch me. I am nevertheless very much aware of how dangerous this patch of forest is. There is an oppressive evil out here waiting to pounce on the slow and the weak, and so I am very careful to keep my pace up.

The trail opens into a paved parking lot. There are no vehicles on the lot at present. On the other side of the lot is an old Bauhaus structure against the backdrop of a forested mountain. I step into the building, and realize that it is a museum. Just passed the foyer is a tall, white, marble statue of Julius Caesar. The ceiling at this point is several stories high. The top of Caesar’s head almost touches the ceiling. His imposing frame glistens beautifully in the setting sun that is now shining through the enormous wall windows. I walk around the statue close to the luminescent wall windows, so that I am able to see Caesar from every vantage point.

Suddenly, Greg Gutfeld, the FOX News personality, steps up to me. He is the first person I have seen since starting out on my run, and so I am a little surprised. He appears to be the museum curator. He is dressed in a child’s Halloween dinosaur costume. He is nice enough, but tells me that it is time for me to go. He hands me a bite size, soft, chocolate chip cookie as a kind of consolation prize. I enjoy the cookie, even though I am thinking that the calories are counterproductive to the run I just did. I step outside, and I see that a few work trucks have arrived. Workmen will be doing maintenance inside the museum all night, so indeed it is time for me to go.

I hurry back along the trail to where I parked my car. It is now pitch black, but in a way it is less menacing. Without the eerie sunlight from the setting sun, the night feels lifeless and altogether forgettable. Still, it is late, and I want to get back on the road as soon as I can. I awaken from my dream before getting back to where I had parked my car.

Published by Michael Sean Erickson

I write, act, and produce films in Los Angeles. Everything else is conjecture.

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