I was in a barn, cradling my wife and daughter with all my strength as the tornado passed over. I was barefoot, and rattlesnakes covered the floor.

What a crazy dream.

I am no psychiatrist or dream expert, but I think dreams are your brain’s way of de-fragmentizing your thoughts and experiences so that they can be filed.

This weekend I watched the flurry of tornadoes that hit the midwest, because my hometown in Emporia, Kansas was right in their path. I was a weatherman again, studying doppler radar images and keeping in touch with my family there. (They spent a few hours in the basement with sirens blaring, but made it through fine.)

The night before my dream, I listened to Lt. Col. Barry Bridger, a decorated veteran and former Hanoi Hilton resident talk about the life of a Prisoner of War. In one story, he talked about communicating through a wall with John McCain, who was sharing a cell with a snake.

A couple of days ago, my wife and I were talking about living on a farm one day. I talked to my daughter about barns.

So you see? My brain was taking all those random experiences and thoughts and trying to make some sense out of it all. It’s like the supercomputers that compile billions of bits of information and turn them all into a predictive model – weather, economic, military, you name it.

Not that my mind is a supercomputer – more like a 1970’s vintage hand-held calculator. But why is it coming to the conclusion that of all the experiences of the last two days, they should all be organized into the storyline that I am in a barn, hiding from a tornado and dodging snakes? Will that data file become a memory? Will it become a story I will tell one day to my grandchildren? What is my head trying to tell me?

Weird. But you know what is weirder?

I can’t find my shoes.


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