Sunday, March 27, 2011


Sleep is a kind of “little death.”  We are strangely vulnerable as we sleep, heads thrown back, neck exposed, soft belly available to any ravening beast.  We build our shelters, our towns, our walled cities, and say it is for commerce or safety from war but I think it was only a way to keep the wolves from our bellies at night.  We get tired and need to sleep and what kind of plan is that, I ask you?  I would get so much more done if I didn’t need to get ready for bed, sleep, spend time waking up and undoing the hairdo my bed has given me. 

But sleep gives us dreams.  In dreams we repair the trauma of the day, gird up our loins for the work ahead.  In dreams we sometimes fly.

I can imagine that dreams were the first indication to some distant relative of mine and yours that the world was not as firm as it might seem.  I can imagine that our clever relative (an old woman sitting by the fire, holding a sickly grandchild and trying to get drops of broth into its mouth) thought about what she had seen at night and concluded that there was something outside of her self, something she might have discourse with.  She might not have seen such a clear distinction between the dream-world and her own world—might have concluded that death itself was just a kind of waking up.  She would have shared this with her family when that sickly infant died, when she herself lay down to do the same. 

Every morning we awaken to a new world, “. . .a new day with no mistakes in it yet."
- as Anne of Green Gables described it.  We invite our new world to enter our lives in any number of ways.  With coffee and the Times.  With MSNBC and a litany of woe.  With prayer and outstretched hands.  With boxes of cereal and bananas and finding shoes and lunch boxes.   Perhaps we pause to reflect on what we have learned as we slept. 

And as we find our pajamas and brush our teeth before sleeping, perhaps we reflect on what we have learned through the waking hours, for we have surely learned something new. 

It is my strong suggestion that we use these obvious transition times in our day to reflect deeply, because at the end of life (that major transition time) we don’t have the energy or cognitive ability to do any real reflection.  There is nothing sadder than watching someone die who doesn’t know why he was here or what just happened in the brief 70 years he was given. 

Reflection is a way to show light.  To be as much of light as we can during this little life we thoughtlessly call “ours.” 

At night,
when darkness gently removes our sight—
when we are left alone
            in a strange and loveless land—

then do we wake a little to the light beyond light,
            like glittering fish, leaping

to taste the ineffable sweetness
                                                            Of stars.
Rhonda Palmer

The scientific study of dreams is known as oneirologyOneironaut is a term sometimes used for those who lucidly dream.  (have dreams that are directed, or controlled.)

" as one standing in His presence, weigh in that Balance thine actions, every day, every moment of thy life. Bring thyself to account ere thou art summoned to a reckoning. . ." Baha'u'llah 


  1. Rhonda - I love this poem.

    I had to look up "ineffable" to make sure I knew its meaning. The 2nd meaning is "too sacred for words". Yes, that's it.

  2. Wow, and again Wow! And you didn't need to convince me yo are a great writer.

    Is that a piece of your recent artwork?


  3. Not so recent. It actually has the poem written on it if you look really hard. It had fish on the bottom but I tore them off and made them into a separate piece.