One journalist's musings about the beautiful, bizarre world in which we live
Two nights ago, I was one of several magicians flying around, trying to catch Voldemort-like henchmen that were closing in on our hot air balloon. We conjured a net, but one magician decided to create a net of mines. We argued about how that would kill both the evil-doers and us, but I fell from the sky before the discussion ended. On landing, I decided to redo that whole scenario.
Last night, there were demons in my purse. A friend was supposed to walk beside me until we reached a place to get rid of them. Instead, she decided to watch television and the demons started acting up. They started attacking me.
This morning, a few Ottawan friends came to visit me. We were walking through a green, green jungle…
And I forget the rest.
Since arriving in La Paz, I’ve been woken while whimpering, crying and boiling up to a scream.
I wouldn’t say nightmares are rousing me from slumber, but neither would I say they are rainbow-filled happy dazes. And I have never had so many of these crazy nighttime adventures in a row.
They’re something I like to call “vividreams.” They’re colourful, and they feel like they’re real. Even hours after I wake, I am still affected by them. It took until this afternoon, for instance, before I could get close to my purse without hesitation.
What is it about high altitude that affects the brain in this way?
I couldn’t find much on the topic, other than people’s personal experiences. I liked this letter though, from Jill Abery in the Sept. 18, 1986 edition of New Scientist:
Reading Stan Armington’s Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya, I gathered that vivid dreams are common at high altitudes, as also is a heightened sensitivity to alcohol. Presumably these are both symptoms of oxygen starvation of the brain, the dreams being a nocturnal form of hallucination.
We were disappointed not to hallucinate a yeti, or better still to actually photograph whatever tore to pieces a yak at one of our camping sites.
Well, I for one wouldn’t like to come across either of these things in my mind.
But I don’t really mind these vivid dreams. They certainly make a day interesting.