Sea Port Dreaming

The day was like a dream. The air, the atmosphere, the ambiance had the quality of a dream. As if one was within the world and simultaneously outside it. Words were needed to describe this dream but dreams and words and words and dreams are different things. They operate in different ways and exist in different times and spaces.

There is no emotion in a dream, with the exception of fear. There is no sense of like or dislike or love or hate. The scene changes, inside an enormous train, looking for someone but it’s not clear who. The train moves, the scene changes, now trying to climb a steep hillside. The landscape is familiar from another dream.

On water, inside a vast port complex. The buildings are deserted, they have been closed down, the dockers gone but there are ships on the water. The water is the colour of muddy sand. Walking up a staircase inside the dock buildings, there are papers scattered on the ground, the air of dereliction. A familiar feeling of where this dream will move to next.

But words cannot describe a dream and sometimes inside a dream I try to read some text. It’s clear that this is text, there are black printed shapes on the paper, but it is impossible to read much inside a dream. Words and dreams have strange relationships.

The dream quality was intense as I walked down the steep stone passage way. On one side a flint wall surrounds the school, on the other a steel fence with the tough vegetation which grows anywhere; sturdy enough to survive the hands of passing children, the lash of their tools and weapons, the raking of leaves and the sweeping up of rubbish. The sort of vegetation which if left unchecked will crack and break the mass of concrete, glass and stone, will rise up ever higher, stronger, indestructible. When the folly of people is finally over such vegetation will heal the earth.

Fast moving traffic, a conveyor belt of cars, the sound of badly tuned exhausts, a police car indifference to anything but a certain sort of crime. What do they know of what goes on? Both more, and less, than you might think.

The dream is gone. A few fragments, scraps of words on a notebook, in scrawling hand writing, the paper is crumpled from being inside a pocket, slightly torn. The words barely legible.

The sky is a grey wash with no depth or shape. The very light feels grey. It is not unpleasant but makes one wish at times for the yellow light of the sun or a blue sky. The tipping point will come and the world will tip. And perhaps the grey air will be triumphant and yellow light and blue sky will never be seen again. Grey eyes sparkle, grey wash provides a subtle mood, grey sea laps against the cliffs on both sides of the channel, it may merge into silver or lighten out into an indeterminate white. This is a moderate light and it will disappear soon to be replaced by the black skies of night.

I love all the movement of light, the light house beams, the on-off green-red lights of the marker buoys, the ships, the Varne lightship.

Across the channel it is possible to see the lights of France. Calais and the lights of the motorway. Red lights in an arc, perhaps a bridge of part of the port infrastructure. There are lights on the French hills, tripping out towards Wimereux and Boulogne sur Mer. To the north the lights of Dunkirk. In the channel the lights of a ship and now a circle of silver light as the moon reflects upon the sea.

The lights across the channel provide an intimacy of production and distribution. Calais and its surrounds and the other towns and villages seem closer. It all feels more a single totality. As if the nation-state and boundaries and borders have faded and disappeared and there is left harmony, peace, interconnected fibre optic cables carrying billions of packets of data, switching here and there, to France, Germany, Poland, Russia, Hong Kong, Australia; to the United States of America and Morocco, Spain, Italy, Egypt, Iran, Iraq; what’s left of Afghanistan and Syria.

It is one landscape, one sea. The territorial waters cannot be distinguished from one another. It is not clear where the air space of the United Kingdom and of France stand in tension and opposition to each other.

The promenade was empty. The announcements in French, German, Polish and English could be heard from the ferry port. But how frail these electronic voices seem. War is in the air, war is everywhere, war is coming soon. The interconnected ferries, the packet switching data, the fibre optic cables will be severed. Hate and fear and modern machine weapons will buffer up against the borders. Has nothing been learned?

I’m thinking of writing a book with the working title of Sea Port Dreaming. Or rather producing a book. It needs photographs – of a higher quality than I can make – and images, graphic design, an eye catching type face, the clever use of fonts, high quality paper of just a certain sort.

I can see the book in my mind’s eye. That’s a dream too.

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