My dreams often have swimming pools in them. They are usually not like any pools I have ever really seen. You may recall the last one was out in front of a hotel and had ducks swimming in it. When the swimming pool is central to my dream as this one is, there are usually many different pools, with different levels where the water cascades from the upper pools into the lower ones.* I’ve searched the internet to see if any such thing really exists somewhere without much luck. You know, you can find fountains that cascade into a pool or raised hot tubs, but nothing architecturally elaborate like the pools I dream about. I did find pictures of a natural waterfall in Maui that reminds me of them a little. Sometimes the pools are configured differently depending on what I am dreaming. In this dream, there are two upper pools, one of which is the diving pool, and a set of smaller pools surrounding one large lower one where everyone is swimming. A high wall of light brown masonry encloses the pool area with recreation, dressing and shower rooms all in a single building at one end.
I am walking barefoot up a textured ramp much like a gangplank with no rails. I’m wearing a pink and green floral bikini, but I’m also wearing large flannel man’s pajamas over it. I’m only about thirteen in the dream and not old enough for them to belong to my boyfriend or anything, I’m just wearing them. The water is heavily chlorinated, and the smell is so strong it almost stings my sinuses. The upper pools are adjacent to an all white pump station that has two visible walls. One wall has nothing but a heavy reinforced door that is always locked. I saw a door that looked just like it on a lighthouse once. The other wall has a ladder made of steel rods like rebar, the kind you might see on the side of a water storage tank. It rises up to an observatory window, but I don’t see any way in. Along the wall next to the ladder is a row of all white life preservers with white ropes.
I have a camera in my right hand. On the other side of the pool enclosure there is an amusement park in the distance. I think I was actually at the amusement park in another dream a couple of days ago, but I don’t remember very much about that one and what I do I obviously chose not to write about. There is a row of trees along the outside of the amusement park and there is someone sunbathing at the very top of one of the trees. They are lying on a big pink and orange striped beach towel with a boom box type radio by their head and I think it is such a funny sight, I am trying to get to the highest vantage point at the top of the diving board to take a picture. It’s very far away, and my camera seems like just an ordinary little compact, but I seem confident that I’m going to get a great shot.
The ramp leads me up to the pool that isn’t the diving pool. No one swims there. It has a large platform floating in the middle of it that looks like it should support me. I don’t see any other way around so I hop out onto it. It sinks under my feet, only a little but my pajamas get wet and I get mad because I should have taken them off. As long as the camera doesn’t get wet, it doesn’t really matter. I walk across the platform and I am going to jump to the other side, but the platform sinks out from under me and I plunge into the water. Instantly, I reach my camera hand up and start kicking to keep from going under, but my momentum carries me down too far before I kick back up again. My camera gets wet and now I am really mad. I shake it quickly as it emerges from the water and swim one-handed to the edge. The camera seems to be okay but I don’t have anything to dry it off with so I blow on it. I set it down and pull myself out of the pool. I take off my soaking pajamas, leave them lying there, and I walk over toward the diving board.
Another girl a little younger than me in a deep blue one-piece climbs out of the water from the other side of the diving board and moves behind me as I step onto the diving board ladder. She looks frightened. “Have you dove off here before?” she asks me. I turn to look at her. She is very thin with a pretty face and sandy blonde hair tied behind her head that seems to be dry even though she has just climbed out of the pool. I nod my head. “Lots of times,” I tell her. “It’s no big deal.” She is shaking, probably from fear more than chills, and starting to climb directly up behind me. “I’ve never dove off a diving board before,” she says, “but I have to. My friends keep calling me a chicken.” She gestures toward them down at the other pool. I think to myself that she doesn’t need to do anything just because her friends are stupid, but I want her to jump so I don’t say anything. I look up the ladder and back down at her. It’s only a fifteen foot ladder but to her it probably looks like a mile. “You’ll be fine,” I assure her. “Just jump feet first the first time and look up instead of down. Do you want to go ahead of me?” She shakes her head no emphatically. I imagine us trying to squeeze past each other at the top of the diving board and I envision her hand slipping off the rail and her falling to the cement below. “You might want to wait for me at the bottom then,” I say. “I’m not going to be jumping with my camera.” I show it to her. She seems thankful for the excuse to wait and steps back down.
I climb up the ladder to the board and walk out on it. I’ve spent plenty of time on diving boards, but never taking pictures. I hold the camera up and turn it on. The lens pops out with a little robotic sound. When I look through the viewfinder though, I immediately get nauseous and lose my balance. Suddenly I have no equilibrium at all and I am as afraid up there as the poor girl waiting below. I get down on wobbly knees and then sit safely on the board with my legs hanging over either side. I pick the camera up again, but I can’t remember anymore what I climbed up to take a picture of. I search through the viewfinder thinking that the closer view will help remind me, but all I can think about now is how I might fall. I lock my legs underneath the diving board and the last thing I remember is staring at a lady sunbathing on the top of a tree and not thinking there is anything funny about that at all.
© 2010 Anne Schilde
* Link added 8/24/12: Time is my friend. Click it!