Our family reads poetry every evening as the sun scuttles to the mountains, just as the breeze takes the stage and finds herself playing the main role for the first time all day. Yesterday we read Variations on the Word Sleep by Margaret Atwood, whom I love. I love this poem, these words have lived a long time in my library heart.
I love that–in the course of a night–she wants to be all of the sturdy pieces in the subconscious of her bed partner’s sleep. I love her repetition of the word sleep. When I read this poem, I’m both excited for the narrator to have such unique and potent ideas to support her partner’s dream life, and for one to receive such support.
For some reason, I imagine their bedroom to be stark and crisp. The sheets cool and flat. I imagine the bedside table sparse with only necessity–a glass of water atop its mother-pitcher, a favorite book of poems, a current novel, and a feather or a crystal or a charm or a seashell from that trip to the north coast some years back, a candle perhaps. This got me thinking about a tidy bedroom, and the name bedroom, of course!
Our bedroom has an old ironing table along the wall, a host to my decorated altar. (All of the aforementioned specimen sit on my altar.) And it has our bed, of course. And diapers. On our bedside stand– an old wooden folding chair with slats that slide–is a special blessing candle we light each night after story time, a book of stories, and our nighttime water. That’s all, though; that’s enough. I love the crispness of our bedroom. I think it allows for me to drift into sleep unnoticed and necessary. I think the sparse gives space to my dreams and my sleep hygiene.
How I love the dream world. I wake slowly (dreamily) in the mornings to relive those opaque memories, a beggar for those concrete images to flash upon my retina. And once I have the memory of the dream, I go to work: I analyze, I write, I delight in the potential (endless) meanings behind my subconscious imagination. A while back I had a dream I was in the bus, only it was a generic recreational vehicle camper and behind me in the living quarters were a bunch of overly chilled out young men. I told them I’d be back and I walked into the animal shelter. I saw that a just-shaved-bald man was signing up to take my soul dog–a Great Dane/Australian Shepherd mixed breed whose build was that of the great Dane with the exact colors of an australian shepherd, an intelligent gentle giant with piercing blue sea eyes. I close-talked the man, I laugh now, but I even grabbed him by the collar (why I aughtta-esque), and told him there was no way I’d let him take my soul dog. I walked back to the bus and couldn’t get the engine started. I alerted the young men in the back that they would need to leave if they couldn’t quiet down. And finally started the ignition, drove off, and I don’t remember if I got the dog, what the bald man said, and where the laid-back youngsters disappeared to. That’s the beauty of dreams, I think. You don’t have to know it all, there is gentle surrender in the mystery, it’s an easily accepted known about dreams.
Naturally though, I went to town with this dream! I’ll spare you my musings and best friend text message banter, suffice it to say that I love the dream analysis and I found a quiet space in the wee hours of morning to think about this dream without clutter in my bedroom, for that, I am grateful. I am grateful, too, for the expanse and space to breathe in my bedroom. And how splendid it is to be necessary, to be unnoticed.