I am startled to realize that I think sleep is really weird. Like most of those kindly described as “elders” I have a nonmonogamous relationship to sleep: we get together in fits and starts. The impending election is finally no longer impending, so my sleep experience may improve, but I wouldn’t bet on it. On my best nights I wake up for a while around three and then sleep all the way to six. A couple of nights ago I hit the pillow about eleven, slept deeply for a while and thought I’d made it to three. It was twelve-thirty.
But for quite a while now when I prepare to embark upon sleep I realize, this is really weird. Humans putter or stumble or roar through their day and then everybody keels over and conks out. What’s that about? I crawl under the covers and get my pillow just right and sidle sideways to get some body contact, and then we both hope to black out for a long time. Gone. Blotto. Every night.
If I succeed, then the sideshow starts. In this last month I have been challenged to get through an amazing number of assignments. They have usually involved trying to organize a large number of diverse people going in quantum directions, and the exhausting thing is that sometimes I seem to be doing all right for a while. But when I wake up I’m all worn out.
I’m not afraid of death, I like to imagine it as some sort of release from the work list. But if sleep is a preview, I’m not sure I’m looking forward to the movie. And I keep coming back to this bizarre thing of people spending a third of their lives, if they’re lucky, being blacked out. Imagine a being from elsewhere in the multiverse landing in the middle of the night and finding that everyone has passed out. “What happened here?”
Native Americans thought the white man was nuts. How could anybody get through life without dream wisdom? Maybe we’re not thinking about it right. What if sleep were a ticket to imagining all the possibilities we hadn’t chosen? And what if that could enrich our sense of choice? There are some scientific speculations that dreams are the psychic equivalent of flushing the toilet, but I don’t quite warm to that idea. I often get bizarre messages in my dreams that turn out to be pretty intriguing and sometimes tell me what I didn’t realize I felt.
So maybe sleep isn’t really weird. Maybe it’s a mandatory assignment, a necessary confrontation, an opportunity to shake hands with the multiverse. That’s interesting. I wonder where I’ll go tonight.
I love my dreams so much i can hardly force myself out of bed at a reasonable hour. Many mornings i don’t. My dreams become more vivid & also more recognizable as dreams as daylight approaches. I can run to the toilet, run back to bed, and immediately become immersed in either the interrupted dream or one just as interesting. I don’t know whether my dreams provide messages or suggestions, because i rarely make the needed effort to remember any parts of them. But i cherish the process and always look forward to my pre-dawn visions.
PS. Just saw this definition while trying to find a fancy one word antonym for crepuscular. Is it racist?
Sunset, sunrise. What’s the opposite of twilight? We Aussies call it piccaninny dawn – when the light is just starting to steal up over the bush, but it is not yet dawn. Twilight occurs when the sun is just below the horizon: it is brighter than dawn and dusk, but less bright than sunlight.Sep 28, 2010
When I was in my early 20s, for a short period, I was afraid to fall asleep, because it seemed like dying to me. So I would struggle to stay awake. Of course I would always end up falling asleep. I’m glad those days are over. Sleep is wonderful and so are dreams, even the bad ones. I have had some really strange and bizzare dreams. I miss my flying and floating dreams of which I have had MANY.