Wednesday, July 9, 2008
But where do you dream?
I had scarcely clicked the publish post button when the torrent of compliments and questions rushed in. Where, you ask, gentle readers, does the dandyland dreaming take place? And it is one of life's great questions - where do I sleep?
I call my bed the nest. It is so exactly suited to my particulars that when I lay down on it I fall right through into the abyss, with only that tiny jerk that can sometimes be noticed when the body must give up being for non-being ~ which isn't right, exactly, as there are no terms either. Anyway, a tiny bit of resistance saves one from falling too easy.
But then, down down down in to the velvety nothingness at the bottomless bottom of sleep. It's so relaxing. At times during the night, of course, the magnetic nucleus of the lingering who-had-been causes one to congeal on the second floor, so to speak, where all sorts of flotsam & jetsam of experience glom together to form what we call (later, when we can call) dreams.
We watch them goggle-eyed, because we are not quite ourselves, being, at best, embryonic doppelgangers immersed in the dark stumpwater of our own private theater. A theater that we forgot we were directing. Perhaps that's because our little jellyfish paws need a break from being so manipulative?
When my dear friend Gabriela came to visit, she was so exhausted from flitting hither and thither through the jet-lag making art, and so far from her own nest in Iceland, that I let her sleep in my nest. The next morning I came down through the woods to wake her up, but an internal intuitive warning told me to give the studio a wide berth and let her sleep. When she finally came up the hill for breakfast, she was smiling and said, "I had a dream."
I had told her the day before how Mrs. Ejiri had given me a white snake at the lovely old Buddhist temple in Japan. How that I had not known, at first, and still, whether it is a mythical snake, but that I had gathered that it protected the spaces that it inhabited. Mrs. Ejiri said that it came to the temple because it was so beautiful there. She said, "I can send anywhere in the world."
"I saw the white snake." said Gabriela. If I can recount the dream accurately - apparently after falling through the bed, Gabriela discovered that beneath the space she had experienced as my studio there was a virtual honeycomb of rooms, a house that contained everything she had ever seen or known, and she found herself in a yellow room, the yellowest room imaginable. The white snake was on the floor by her foot, and struck her, not to hurt her, but to make her aware of presence. She said it felt like a heavy weight pressing on her foot. Then the white snake crawled behind the door (so there was a door) and coiled up. Then bump bump bump, I imagine, Gabriela quickly or slowly ascended back up through the sorghum of dreams to awaken in wonder at it all, looking up through the skylight at a sky she'd never awakened under before. Gaston Bachelard pointed out that there is no proof, phenomenologically speaking, that the being who awakens is the same one that went to sleep.
The miracle is that it doesn't matter. What matters is getting a good night's sleep.