At the end of a long day, you settle down for the night. You pull the covers in close, you adjust your pillow and get comfortable, but not too comfortable because you’re not ready for sleep just yet. You take yourself through your prayers; thanks and praise come first, followed by personal needs and desires, then moving outward to family, close friends, work, acquaintances, the city, the state, the country, the world, and ending with the always-present and ever-fervent prayer asking blessing for your tiny family. Thy will be done. Amen. Now I lay me down to sleep. You readjust, this time settling in for the long haul. You pull your hair up and backward so that it lays on the pillow, stretched out behind you like a superhero’s cape so that it doesn’t tickle your neck while you sleep. You wiggle your toes, scratch what needs scratching, close your eyes and try to concentrate. on. nothing. Your mind is filled with the day, with tomorrow, with next week, with the laundry in the dryer that still needs folding and putting away, but you tell your mind to be quiet, please, and rest. Shhh. Like a child, it argues with you for a while, but soon gets tired and gives in, despite its protestations. You realize unremarkably that your breathing has slowed to a gentle rhythm that is deeper than your waking breath, but you divert your attention so you don’t accidentally change it and ruin its natural perfection. You enjoy the light show that is happening behind your eyelids, as light appears and disappears, swirling, intensifying, dimming and melting from one color to the next, just like Never Never Land. You notice that your body has warmed the sheets and the pillow to the perfect cocoon-like temperature and you delight in the sensation of warmth below but cool up above as your face confronts the slight and perfect chill of the world outside of your bed. You dip your toes in the pool of your unconsciousness, slipping in one little piece of yourself at a time. You are floating, flying, walking effortlessly through that perfect meadow with the sunlight bathing your body and the wind perfectly tousling your hair, where the grass isn’t too prickly or too dewy. You journey on this vast and beautiful plane, travelling towards the sun and those two precisely symmetrical puffy clouds on either side of it. This walk could last forever and never grow dull, nor the sun grow too hot, nor the sky a less beautiful shade of blue. You are coming from nowhere and headed to the same place and all is right with you. The world’s most pristine dandelion waits for you at the edge of this brilliantine field, waiting to be plucked, wished on and blown into the sweetest of springtime air, and just before your eager fingertips snap it from the earth
you trip over a rock.
body seizing and lurching forward.
You wake up.
Toss. Turn. Sigh. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.