Word of the Week: SLEEP
Just as I was wishing for a spring tonic, thinking of old commercials for Geritol, I went to bed weary and befuddled, slept, and woke up renewed. It didn't last all day, not at the same strength as the zestful awakening, yet it was still miraculous.
Was there ever a more benevolent companion? It is the iron that smooths the wrinkles out of the most hopeless-seeming, too-new chambray shirt, the one that introduces, however briefly, the notion that cotton might be the enemy. Other parts of the day, regardless of the pleasure or sense of achievement they bring, are but phantom goodness compared to bedtime. There I sink into happy oblivion, knowing on the other side I will rise, a better version of myself, patient, clear-headed, no longer running on empty.
I am not a lovely sleeper. I know I drool, I know I snore, as a child I talked in my sleep and may still do so. My favorite clothes are as soft as ancient flannel pajamas. Until very recently - a habit to which I may return - I took a nap most afternoons. For the past week I haven't needed to get up quite as early and receive a nearly adequate amount of sleep without napping, though I believe there can never be too much.
The states induced by sleep help me hold onto a belief in parallel universes, astral travel. Unlike Hemingway, who may have been exaggerating, sleep is not the only part of my life with enough stick-um to keep things together, yet it seems to be the land in which the unlikely appears less so. Dreams, in full color and microscopic detail, feel like attending a festival of movies, in each of which I have a part. Because they frequently involve reunions with the departed, I may wake up with impossible longing for a little more time together.
Though dreams may leave me with a physical residue of emotions, I am mostly clueless as to their meaning, my best guess being only that. I push on hoping, trusting, that some of the wisdom they've deposited seeps through the veils into ordinary consciousness possibly manifesting as intuition, that unexplainable knowing which I am always willing to follow, even while questioning the advice.
Sleep heals and consoles, becomes Spackle for the fissures through which our waking dreams may seep and evaporate. Sleep finds the wallet we lost on the bus and returns it with contents intact, it shrinks time and distance and offers the keys to a city in which we are no older than our 40s, ever nimble, agile of mind, undimmed and have not yet given up on romance. No wonder I believe in magic.