Tornado dreams

That's a funnel cloud lowering behind me in Colorado, summer 2012.

That’s a funnel cloud lowering behind me in Colorado, summer 2012.

I had one of my periodic tornado dreams last night. It was, as these dreams tend to be, vivid, dramatic, but not at all scary.

In this dream, I was at some type of a program, hosted in a multi-level, homey-type building, when I looked out the window and saw funnels lowering toward the ground. Even though one of the tornadoes passed directly over us, there was no real damage and no one was hurt.

I have been fascinated by tornadoes since I was a child growing up in northwest Indiana, and I’ve been having variations of these dreams for as long as I can remember. As I wrote here last spring, in recent years I’ve even gone on storm chase tours to see the real thing. One of the most exciting days of my life was the first day of my first chase tour in 2008, when our group encountered a single supercell in northern Oklahoma that spawned multiple tornadoes throughout the afternoon and early evening.

Anyway, back to the tornado dreams. I know what some people might say: These dreams have a deeper meaning. I did a quick search — “dreams about tornadoes” — and found what I largely expected, such as an entry from asking if I am experiencing “emotional upheaval,” “destructive behavior,” or “sudden change.”

In my case, these dreams haven’t correlated with acute emotional episodes of my life. However, if there is a consistent theme in them, it’s that I’m girded for, but not frightened by, a tornado coming toward me. In fact, I’m utterly captivated. So maybe these dreams are telling me that I’ve got more capacity for change than the comparatively stable life of a professor might suggest.

Of course, my tornado dreams may be more transparent than that. The look and power of these storms have had a hold on me for decades. Maybe that fascination simply follows me into dreamland.

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