"In Xanadu did Kublai Khan..."

Most readers are familiar with the opening words to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's celebrated poem. A poem he claims he remembered upon waking from an opium-induced sleep. But then that report shouldn't be so surprising when we consider how artists from Seneca to Edgar Allen Poe to my Uncle Harry have claimed similar experiences. Well, OK, you may not know about Uncle Harry, and that's probably just as well.

Here's the point.

Dreams have been of compelling interest to the human race ever since the race started to consider itself human. Be they induced by drugs, brought on by exhaustion, sent to us by Heaven, or simply little visual bursts in the middle of a mid-day nap by an aging mind. Poets, philosophers, psychiatrists and The National Enquirer alike have submitted theories.

Here's an unabashedly unscientific octogenarian one.....

Dreams are small escapes from out of one world and into another. The mind's motives may range from release to revelation. Release from the tensions in this world; revelation from the lessons in that other world. Either way, either route, the journey is usually encrypted.

Some studies have shown some dreamers can consciously control some of their dreaming. They can pre-plan the experience in order to actually stand outside their dreams and observe their meaning. That sounds pretty nifty, especially if you enjoy electrodes on your head just before you tuck yourself into bed. Most of us octogenarians, however, will opt for simple comfort to exotic circuitry under our covers.

Uncle Harry was always the family pragmatist: "Be careful what you wear to bed at night, you never know who you'll meet in your dreams." The way I look at it: "Joan laughs at my dreams, but I dream about her laughter." Then there's the way Judy sang it: "Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue, where the dreams you dream really do come true."

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