A flash of insight comes to me trying to formulate the idea of what I see as happening.
Best describes what I see as having happened with dreams I have had. It has to do with how we remember things. How we remember places and people. How our minds change views of our past.
In early March of this year, I lost my job in the factory I worked in for 43 years. Since then I have had many dreams about that place. I had a dream related to it last night that was darker than others. It nagged at me, the tone of it. It was like going from black and white or color to a sepia-toned dream. The emotional feeling of it seemed to have its own tone/color. A few minutes ago I had a flash of insight about THAT dream and other dream places and people in my life. I realized that over the years the same thing has happened with dreams. I think NOW as I write this, the best analogy is that of a rusting object. Or a place that was once vibrant metallic dulling with rust. A decay of memory of places and people. Memory fatigue, just as there is fatigue of metal with age and weathering. The weathering of memories, of people and places. The mind distorts them and changes them. Bored with what you have kept and want to change it? I am guessing is all. I see in a flash of realization how the farther the pieces of memories are in my past used in my present memory dreams, the more worn, ragged and yes RUSTY they are. I recall how nightmares were so VIVID when I was young and now so much is mildly alarming but not a screaming horror show that wakes me silently screaming or loudly (as it did when I was a child).
At times I try to test my memory of that loved and hated factory I worked in for so many years. I try to walk through it remembering it, remembering parts of it before those last weeks of tearing its guts out (literally). Already those memories are getting frayed around the edges. It is like an old love I want to remember so much but cringe from at the same time because the memories are so bitter-sweet.
I think with time, dreams become like movies on old decaying film. Parts rip out and the dreams become much more patchworked and nonsensical that way. People try to find some deep meaning in them but what great meaning is a quilt made of decaying frayed fading fabric?