Mine usually include bits and pieces from the last two or three waking periods. It’s probably part of memory consolidation to make room for new stuff. Data compression.
Part of this data compression is creating stories as I suppose narrative is a preferred format for memory perhaps?
Dream stories lack context though and so they do the best they can, which ends up with what waking us think of as metaphorical / allegory / analogy / symbolic.
Mine are as if my dream brain is doing a big Dad Joke on me with the bad puns and it’s up to me to figure them out within a few moments of waking up.
So as part of last night’s dream adventure featured an old red glass theater spotlight filter.
It’s a Fresnel lens which can magnify and at one point I was holding the big heavy red lens in front of my face and walking around, the dream world suddenly being all red.
But it was a heavy old filter that wasn’t good for its original purpose anymore, which was for being part of a spotlight on a play happening in a theater highlighting an important character or communicating a mood for the audience.
When I woke up, I went over the dream really quickly at the stories and symbolism (there was more) and when I got to the filter, I remembered a stray thought yesterday that I’d been filtering my concepts using other people’s old ontologies that were designed for heavier purposes (such as classifying university knowledge).
IN short, a spotlight that was designed for an audience in a theater and I’d been using it “out of context” (out of the theater) with an audience (so far) of one – myself, me holding the old filter in front of my face and looking through it.
It was heavy and unnecessary although it was fun.