Featured Post

The Autumnal Equinox

                                           Last rose petals linger....                                                               ...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Adventures in Dreamland

Somnambulism is a fairly common disorder; I have been a sleepwalker since I was a child.  When I first read “Heidi,” by Johanna Spyri, it was easy to relate with Heidi’s nighttime wanderings.  Her sleepwalking behavior emerged during a stressful period in her life; she was tricked into moving to Frankfurt, away from her beloved, though misanthropic, Grandfather in the Alps. I believe I read the book at least eight times. I saw Shirley Temple’s version of the story on the big screen at least twice. With such ample a stage for preparation, why should I have been surprised to get up in the morning and find the dishwasher emptied?  My husband and son denied any knowledge of how the task was accomplished.  It shouldn’t have startled me to be awakened by the sound of the garage door opening one night, I was standing barefoot with my hand on the garage door opener when I woke up.  Heidi’s nocturnal wanderings had, at first, the quality of a ghost  playing havoc in the house.  The night time visitations were less a ghost more a housekeeper in mine.  Morning after morning, I would wake up tired, and find some task accomplished. Laundry folded. Kitchen cabinets wiped down.  Shelves reorganized. Imagine my surprise the night I woke up standing on the counter!  I tried to ignore the mounting evidence that I had resumed my childhood pattern of roaming.  The bruises and bumps from walking full tilt into walls and doors should have been enough.  However, I finally knew I needed some redirection in January.  I woke up, in darkness, feeling like I was tipping over, or the earth was trying to make me slide off its surface.  I stumbled, and in doing so, woke up.  I was standing outside in our back field, in boots and pyjamas.  I found the dog’s leash in my hand, but the dog was not attached. I called and called for him, my breath coming out in puffs of white condensation in the cold, night air. I was fearful that I had let him out, off leash and that I wouldn’t be able to find him. He is a 75lb. Labradoodle who loves to run. When he didn’t emerge from the darkness that surrounded me, I hung my head, defeated. As I turned to go inside to rally the forces to help me look for him, I stumbled.  There he was, lying protectively right at my feet. The next morning, I contacted my doctor for the name of a sleep clinic.  As I work to reset the clocks that run my body and mind, I have to give over some thought to consider Plato’s allegory about the prisoners who are chained in a cave.  They perceive reality as what appears as shadows on the cave’s walls due to a fire that burns behind them.  In Plato’s story, Socrates, as a philosopher, can perceive the true action that occurs outside of the mouth of the cave, on the other side of the fire.  As a sleepwalker, I wonder about reality. I have moved and lived in a world that I perceive is real, only to discover I am functioning in a dream world. It makes it more difficult to be wholly certain that the waking world in which I am fighting to keep separate from the sleeping world is any more real. 

No comments:

Post a Comment