Monday, January 26, 2009
Some know the secret of sleeping beautifully. They fade away draped over pale sheets like living art, lying still and vulnerable and soft as petals, hair swept around them in wavy halos. I am not one of these fortunate few. I sleep on my stomach like something knocked unconsious, messy-haired, groggy-eyed, lost in a forest of quilt squares and stuffed animals, a beached whale in blue pajamas. Yet despite this ordinary landscape, or perhaps even because of it, the landscape of my sleeping mind is a gilded fever-dream.
In the moments my eyelids close, my mind slips away, leaving my bed and flying to a world far more beautiful than this one. You all know this world, you have all seen its sky, though the stars may be different than the ones I see, depending on where on this imaginary globe you happen to have been dropped. Are there forests where you stray, or silvery fields, or deserts smooth as frosting on a cake? Does the air hum with birdsong and little golden orbs of summer light, or does the moon wink at you through trees strewn with lacy moss while cicadas and nightbirds serenade you?
The sounds of laughter stirr me from slumber. I wake in a grecian temple, in a bed of satin and velvet and tulle. In the moonlight I am pale as alabaster, fragile as porcelain, dressed in a cloud of dusty blue strung with pearls and embroidered with silver cobwebs. Silver leaves and milk-white feathers glimmer in my hair.
A troup of girls flutter into the room, and with sparkling smiles, they pull me to my feet and out into the moonlit evening. We drape ourselves with mists of white fur, fitting white muffs over our chilly hands as we climb together into silver sleighs. Dappled-gray horses pull us on through darkened trees, the moon above a glowing paper lantern in the canopy of stars.
We arrive at a crystal ballroom, swathed in pale tulle and white peacock feathers. The walls are mirrors, the ceiling the jewel-crusted inside of a geode. The orchestra plays on hurdy-gurdies and seraphims, soft melodies as whispery as sugar candy, and we dance like music-box ballerinas with boys made of marble. We spin in dervish circles, dizzy on sugar and champagne, until the first watery rays of sunlight spark across the silvery floor. The room dissolves in a mist of soft white and gold, and I wake to find myself myself again, messy-haired, groggy-eyed, a sleepy whale in blue pajamas.