Shortly after my husband died, I had a dream that alerted me to the problem solving ability of dreams and also to the connection between dreams and waking life events.

The day before the dream, a neighbour had come around to do some odd jobs on the property we had and had asked if I had any two stroke fuel for the chain saw.  I felt sure there was some in the shed as Roger had stores of most of what he needed but I couldn’t find any among the various drums of oils and fuels.  That night I had the following dream:

Doctor Ford has come to give me a hand around the property with some work that needs doing.  As thanks I siphon some petrol out of one of our cars to give him.

When I woke I thought it was strange that I had dreamt of our doctor doing the work someone else had in fact done the previous day.  I noted the fact that his name was the same as the make of car I had siphoned the petrol from in the dream, a Ford Cortina but as I couldn’t make any sense of it, gave it no more thought.

Later that day another friend dropped by who used to work with Roger from time to time and I asked him if he knew where Roger kept the two stroke fuel.  He said that he would siphon the petrol out of the car and mix it with oil he kept on hand and then took me down to the shed to show me where the oil and the hand siphon pump was kept.  I recognised it as the very same pump I had used in the dream by its red handle and though the car he used to take the petrol from wasn’t the one in the dream, as that was on gas, the car he used to take it from was also a Ford.

I had no conscious knowledge of Roger having mixed the fuel in this way and I certainly had never siphoned petrol myself out of any car ever, or indeed ever used a siphon pump in any way.

The thing that impressed me most about this dream, once I understood it, was its attempt at problem solving.  The clues to the solution of the problem were in the dream– the similarity to the previous day’s events, the doctor’s name being the same as the make of car that supplied the fuel and the specificity of the action of siphoning out the fuel.  Our friend turning up the following day enabled the simultaneous solving of the riddle of the fuel and the riddle of the dream.

There are of course many other ways of looking at this dream but it was one of those rare dreams that had such an obvious literal interpretation, even to a complete novice, that there was no need to even attempt to unpack it at a symbolic level, then or now. Another interesting aspect of the dream is that its imagery has stayed with me all this time – 17 years later at the time of writing – and I never wrote it down as I would eventually learn to do with my dreams.

I never did figure out why the dream didn’t have me siphoning the petrol out of the actual car Roger used to take it from but that is the enigmatic nature of dreams and one thing you have to quickly learn in order to avoid getting bogged down in unnecessary details is that most dreams have an unfathomable depth to them.  Rest assured that if there is something that needs attention it will show up again – and again.