War Dream

I had many dreams last night but the one I am going to tell you about involves me going off to war. I was liv­ing on a plan­et that might as well have been Earth but wasn’t. I say that it might as well have been Earth because if you had been born into that world it would have been Earth to you. I say it wasn’t Earth because I had to go to war in some inhos­pitable [I had to wear a breath­ing appa­ra­tus] region of the plan­et and fight impos­ing insec­to­beasts. I nev­er actu­al­ly saw any of this, but I knew it from tele­vi­sion in the dream. I nev­er actu­al­ly watched tele­vi­sion in the dream but I still had this infor­ma­tion from tele­vi­sion as a sort of dream back­sto­ry. I find this inter­est­ing; a dream past, dream mem­o­ries, strange. The war had been going on for a very long time.

I was in front of my mother’s old work­place with a group of oth­er recruits and we were all say­ing good­bye. The only per­son there with me was my grand­fa­ther. We were talk­ing about fish­ing, not fight­ing. When the call came for us to get on our trans­port [accom­pa­nied by a deaf­en­ing roar as it start­ed up] I sud­den­ly felt pan­icked about what I was get­ting into and I hadn’t said good­bye. I turned and looked at my grand­fa­ther but didn’t say any­thing. Nei­ther did he. We wouldn’t have been able to hear each oth­er in any case. He just looked at me, a scared young punk kid, and that was enough to calm me and give me a sense of resolve.

The look that my grand­fa­ther gave me is what I find most inter­est­ing in this dream. That, and why it affect­ed me so much. It was one of the most pow­er­ful dream moments I’ve ever had. I’m sure much of the pow­er comes from my close kin­ship and friend­ship with my grand­pa. When­ev­er we went fish­ing togeth­er was a great time. I’m sure part of it has to do with my engage­ment in the civics of Robert Heinlein’s Star­ship Troop­ers, which helped me final­ly under­stand what most like­ly moti­vat­ed my grand­fa­ther to fight in World War II. Which is prob­a­bly why the look was so pow­er­ful. My grand­fa­ther under­stood what it meant to go to a far off place and fight to not die. Even though he was old when he saw me off, he prob­a­bly saw his face over­laid on his young punk grand­son. There prob­a­bly wasn’t any­thing to say in that sit­u­a­tion. Con­vey­ing com­plete under­stand­ing through that one look was prob­a­bly the best thing my dream could have done.

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