Watching you sleep, I see defenselessness, frozen worry pocketed momentarily, far from the muscles in your face that folds into the linen encased pillow. Your eyes roam the darkness inside you. When you awaken, you’ll reach for me, close me into your warmth, your body heat rising as you battle weariness in slumber’s imaginarium fraught with curiosity and care.
Easy. Sleep devours some while teases others, a little here and there, never on command. Always an uneasy relationship with sleep, I could write a book on the cruelty and charity of insomnia. After all, some mysteries solve under the light of the moon where the sun smashes them to smithereens, overexposed and heated.
“Mommy, what happens when you sleep?” The same kind of question like “How does your eye work?” that left me stumbling when my daughter, then 6, asked me. I did not know what the question meant or how to answer something so ordinary, so taken for granted and so available in the age of the internet. But how to explain it so she would understand was the mystifying assault on my usual ready to inform mode.
What happens to anyone in sleep–that great world divider between hope and despair? Death. Death to the waking world, the one we make sense of daily, and birth to the enigmatic world of weirdness and worry. Dream-works piqued wonder to others way before Freud. Prophecies preistesses told by dreams as hypnotic spells. And sleep, so much more than eye rolls, rapid eye movement and rest, reveals time’s illusion. Though the clock handles spin unceasingly while we play dead for so many hours, we have no recollection of its passage and do not experience it as we do awake time. The numbers do not lie, only our consciousness creates bent experiential time.
We travel in sleep, we fly, we problem solve and hit all kinds of brain receptors ranging from the pleasurable to the terrifying. As if the horrors of daily grinds, near missed vital truths and fatal accidents, deep abiding love attained and lost, rational solutions and indecipherable chaos, cannot affirm living human sufficiently. We need another look, another more creative, spatial-emotive glance at life’s curious condition to assure ourselves that it is better to live than die: God’s inserted micro chip in each of us. Otherwise, who would be there to entertain IT so thoroughly? Not all the others swaddled in space, far more advanced yet far less amusing than we.