Two nights ago I had one of those half-awake-half-asleep dreams where the content kept me from resting easy.
My sailboat had run aground in some marshy part of the Bay during low tide. I had to leave it unattended, but knew high tide was coming and wasn’t sure if I had anchored. Not knowing whether my boat would still be there when I got back, my subconscious didn’t let me go to sleep completely.
Then, the dream happened in real life. I went out to do my new “deep work” routine — out of the harbor, through the pier, and around to the other side to the wind-shielded South Sailing Basin — where I anchor for a couple of hours, take a swim, and try to do my best distraction-free thinking.
I figured I had a few hours before the ebbing tide put me at risk of running aground on the shallow shoals, but when I went up on deck after some quality work to get ready to leave, I found the rudder firmly stuck. That meant the keel was probably a good 8 inches deep in the mud.
I tried all of my usual tricks like jumping overboard and pushing, hanging off the side to get the keel to swing diagonally, and raising the main to get the wind to do the heavy lifting for me. No luck.
It was getting to be evening, and I had to be back on land in an hour for a meeting that I secretary on Wednesday nights.
Fortunately, walking back to shore with my phone, wallet, and car keys over my head was an option at such low tide.
My dream had warned about setting an anchor, so my boat wouldn’t drift away once the flood tide came in an hour or so later.
I figured I could come back around 8pm, walk back to the boat, and then motor off the shallows. Upon finding my boat in the same place I left it, I breathed a sigh of relief and took off swimming from the nearest point on land (no phone or keys this time). Swimming allowed me to avoid walking again across the disgusting swampy bay floor. The ground in South Sailing Basin is a squishy mixture of bird poop, live worms, and broken mollusk shells.
I could see that my boat was already rocking back and forth in the flood tide. It was easy enough to pull anchor and motor out under the full moon. It delayed my dinner, and was something of a detour, but hardly a disaster. Being forced to improvise seems to be one of the keys to neurogenesis — the creation of new brain cells and neural passageways. God knows I need all the neurogenesis I can get.
Now, here I am trying to going to sleep and all my subconscious can do is replay the events over and over in slight variations on what happened.
Sometimes the boat is anchored firmly, but with too long a swing radius, putting it at risk of crashing into the rocks.
Other times I am on the boat, motoring in the wrong direction — toward even more shallow waters — or unable to turn in the mud as the boat careens toward shore. Then I’m back in the water, feeling the worms beneath my scraped-up feet, pushing and pulling.
The mud is everywhere. Initially it’s just on the anchor, but then it’s on the sails, and the deck, my hands, my clothes. Now it’s in my eyes, and all over my sheets. How on earth did the mud get in my bed?!
I imagine that my mind received so much information in such a short amount of time that the only way it can sort it all out is in a dream-state. My conscious brain can’t assimilate everything that my senses picked up today about the land-and-sea-scape, nor can it figure out how to best avoid danger in the future. It’s like I’m running risk analysis software in my head — playing out every possible scenario to accelerate my learning. That’s the hope anyway.
This wasn’t the first time I ran aground, and it likely won’t be the last. I do wonder what lessons my subconscious is learning, and how my dreams are helping me adjust course both on the three-dimensional plane of sailing, and in the other dimensions where dreams intersect with waking life.
It’s late. I will try to sleep again. Back to my muddy bed.
Here’s an hour and 44 minutes of Delta Louisiana Blues: