Down — A Dream

Built within a natural cavern, this enormous, sub-terranean facility spreads as far as the eye can see, recedes into shadow. A vast metal structure is anchored to the ceiling far above from which depend industrial light fixtures strung at intervals from thick cables. Highly polished floors gleam bright white. The horizontal aspect is interrupted only by a handful of lectern-style stations scattered about the otherwise empty space. Uniformed workers in hard hats move between the stations to monitor them, adjusting dials and switches, pressing flashing buttons. Though my companion and I look utterly out of place in our jeans and t-shirts, the workers do not deviate from their tasks as we pass. Our footsteps throb and echo.

We soon reach the object of our search — a large free-standing structure that resembles a sleek, stainless-steel armoire. On closer inspection, I realize it is a free-standing elevator. My companion presses a raised button on a burnished panel, and the elevator’s thick glass doors slide open noiselessly. Once we have entered, my companion again presses another button. The doors seal shut, and the elevator begins its descent.  We head far, far below, to the facility’s power source — the heart of a nuclear reactor.

The elevator gathers speed with each second of its descent. Soon, my ears are filled with a faint “whooshing” sound. A dull red light begins to fill the downward shaft. I glance at my companion. He is silent, hands in his pockets, his gaze fixed above the glass doors to read the flash of numbers indicating our plunge. His apparent calm does nothing to alleviate my growing panic, which soon escalates to hysteria. Heart pounding, breath restricted, I spring at the burnished panel, indiscriminately punch buttons. When the elevator shudders and groans, interior lights flickering, I find the faintly luminous “up” arrow and lean the heel of my hand against it.

The elevator responds — agonizingly slowly. Reversing course. Beginning its initial ascent. Gathering speed. My panic is similarly slow to depart.



“Down” — C.Birde, 7/16


3 thoughts on “Down — A Dream

  1. When you say your footsteps throb, do you mean you feel the vibrations of the machinery?

    ‘Sounds like Willy Wonka and the Glass Elevator crossed with one of those stories about the city built underground to makeup for what was lost on the surface.

    So, you have fears of something moving too fast in a bad direction with a glimmer of hope for reversing or changing course in a positive direction. Something small is an anchor of hope in your life in a time when things seem to be slowly veering toward disaster.

    Could this be a fear of where the nation is going?


    • I often dream of fully-realized “places” deep underground — landscapes, towns, homes; in this case, an industrial lab or factory. The subterranean is symbolic of the subconscious. Given that, this dream indicates my reluctance to seize or claim my personal power. This has been a recurring theme recently.


      • Perhaps underground is your source of escape/zen. I would be suffocated by such. I prefer to think of lofty places either in the clouds or high in treetops where I do not look down lest I fear falling. It’s been a while since I had such a dream, though. I recall one dream I had where I could fly like Peter Pan by clicking my heels together and swimming toward the sky. More often, I imagine a night scene and me moving through it beyond my control.

        So, you are feeling outside pressure to be more than you are, to be yourself “to the fullest.” You partially desire achieving this while retracting into your comfort zone, in part, because it’s what you know. If you push yourself too far in any other direction, you worry you may become someone else, someone you don’t like or someone worked too hard. Right?


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