A contemplative evening led to a restless night.
where you twist and turn, throw the covers off and pull them back on,
continually shift your sleeping position and your head on the pillow;
in short suffer a mild bout of insomnia before seeming to drift into
the land of nod and the beginnings of a very strange dream.
down, people say. But I think they mean when I immediately wake, and
not sometime during the course of the next day. Why would you keep a
pen and pad beside your bed? For this purpose, you imbecile. Yes, but
even if I did, I wouldn't think to reach for it straight away. Who
has the time or the mental capacity for that matter when your brain's
coming to? Obviously not you.
case you're wondering, this conversation is not aimed directly at
you, the reader. It's an internal dialogue being held between I
assume the left and right hemisphere. I can't think who else would be
doing the talking... unless it's my stomach, the seat of emotion,
conversing with my soul, wherever the latter lodges.
what was I saying?
dreams and how to catch them. How I try to catch those that I can't
shake, those that made a lasting impression the following day, but
even then it's hard to convey what I felt and what my inward eye saw.
Words cannot help in this situation, written or spoken. They fail to
adequately express what I want: the realness, the lucidness, the
semi-awakened state. For that's what I was: semi-awake.
what I'm about to describe be considered a dream?
more an hallucination?
you judge when I haven't begun?
question, although I will say that unlike your run-of-the-mill dreams
or vivid but rapidly fading imprints I had no need to claw back this
vision. The memory of it stayed; in fact it lingered for several
particular night, after much lying on my back and staring vacantly at
the ceiling or contorting like a circus act, I curled up in the
foetal position on my right side and finally felt the familiar drag
of sleep. Sweet, delicious sleep... much longed for sleep...
eyes closed, as you would imagine, my mind, without any preliminary
unconsciousness, instantly illustrated me on that brink: in a
longboat, sitting upright as if I were the Lady of Shalott on my way
to Camelot, minus the watery surrounds. Instead, the boat was
laboriously climbing a steep slope on a mechanised track; clanking
and groaning with every intermittent pause and renewed effort. Ahead,
the peak and a patch of milky sky, with high ochre rocky formations
on either side. Of course, it occurred to me that this was a theme
park ride, although I had no basis for that assumption, but still I
had little fear of the resultant plunge. I was ready for it. I
welcomed it for I realised the deep pool of sleep would break that
instant that was about to happen I felt a light pressure on my
crossed arms, a pressure that I was very aware came from outside
this dream, and synchronous voices imploring me to “Wake up! Wake
aloud: Why now?! with other words of complaint I will omit, despite
knowing I was talking to thin air, there was nobody there, yet the
urgency to comply was unmistakeable. The mischief had been made, the
trick had been played, if that's what it was, and I'd unwittingly
fulfilled the assignation.
of sleep for that night teasingly lost much to the delight of some
Picture Credit: The Lady of Shalott, 1888, by J W Waterhouse