Tidal Wave
By: Jo Edmondson

About six years ago I started having a recurring dream that I was in the path of a massive tidal wave. Every time, just before the wave would hit me, I would wake up. This dream came to me at least once a week.

On my recent trip to Iceland, there was a moment when we drove past a glacier and I truly thought this dream was coming to life. The immense ice walls seemed to come closer and closer as we drove along windy roads. My hands gripped the steering wheel as our 200,000-mile Nissan sedan slowly sputtered over one-way bridges. As the glacier loomed in the distance, becoming bigger and bigger as we inched our way closer, I could feel my breath shortening. My hands shook. The car shook. My heart shook. Years of dreaming, of bolting awake in the middle of the night just as the flashes of water were about to shock my body, it all came rushing back. In that moment, I could feel it all.

I never understood where these dreams came from. Apparently, in dreams water symbolizes our emotions and feelings. When you dream of a tidal wave it signifies that those feelings and emotions have welled up and are getting out of control. Tidal wave dreams indicate that there is a major emotional imbalance, and if you don’t face it, it will burst out inevitably.

Water has always terrified me. As a child, I would migrate towards the sand and away from the water, refusing to take swim lessons. I remember learning how to dive into a pool and thinking it seemed like some sort of punishment to have to do such a thing. Sometimes I get nervous floating in my tub. I am made of water and I need water to survive. I know this, and yet I am scared of it. Why am I so afraid? Maybe it’s because I was born in Arizona and the desert is what makes my heart feel alive. Maybe in a past life something tragic happened… involving mermaids. Maybe I have a trauma from being in the womb. Whatever it is, that fear of water is real to me. More real than any other fear in my life.

Being in Iceland this summer was an intense experience for me because water is everywhere there. Huge waterfalls flooding down mountainsides. Glacial rivers flowing under the highways, tiny one-way bridges every few miles. Crystal clear ocean waters, towering ice caps, snaking rivers, massive glaciers, epic fog. It was everywhere. Being so close to water for two weeks on that trip made me extremely uncomfortable. But it also did wonders for my curly hair, and for that, I am grateful.

As we drove past the glacier that day in Iceland, I remember having the most overwhelming feeling of emotions. It was as if everything I had ever felt before in my life—good or bad—was confronting me in that moment. I couldn’t ignore it and I couldn’t see past it. I just had to be with it. The bright blue horizon line that marked a frozen wall of water, getting closer and closer to me. Feelings of rejection, depression, loss, pure joy, and immeasurable love were all racing towards me. The silence in the car was deafening, the air crisp and brittle. Each mile the wall got closer and closer, the panic frozen in my heart. Finally, we were there. I got out of the car and came face to face with my glacier friend. I touched it, tasted it, listened to the hollow walls. My feet crushed the ice and my heart started to soften. I could feel all the agony and panic and fear start to go somewhere else. As I stood and sat and walked along this magical giant crystal, it didn’t confront me or shove me like I feared it might. It held me and showed me not to fear the magic of life, but to accept the things I can’t imagine seeing.

Since leaving the glacier that day, I have yet to dream of another tidal wave.


Josephine Edmondson is a yogi, artist, and the original babelord who is currently traversing the deserts of Southern Utah.