Visiting a foreign land: the past

An image from the opening scenes of the film "Waltz with Bashir."

An image from the opening scene to the film “Waltz with Bashir,” directed by Ari Folman.

Memory is dynamic, it appears, and fills in the gaps as best it can.

That’s me paraphrasing a line from the film “Waltz with Bashir,” in which an Israeli veteran of the First Lebanon War confronts his own suppressed memories about his involvement in that conflict.

I can remember plenty about my time in Iraq and Afghanistan. But, strangely, when I dream about those experiences the images that come back to me are never vivid.

Instead, my dreams usually involve little activity other than me wandering down some dusty track, with suspicious or indifferent eyes attending my hesitant steps.

There’s never an obvious sense of immediate threat, rather, far more unsettling in this twilight dimension is an overwhelmingly sense of being acutely lost or unable to achieve a simple task.

In my last military-related dream I lost my SA80 A2 rifle and checked the hand grips of the other soldiers’ rifles–where a rifle number was typically written in permanent marker–as I looked for Number 16.

I couldn’t find it before I woke up.