Waking from La Paz
My eyelids are heavy. Weighted shut. I should check the time. My apartment is silent other than the whisper of heat moving through the ducts. Beckham, my cat, is a solid mass pressed against my side.
As if grounded to the bottom of the ocean, I coax my body over and lazily lift an eyelid. It’s seven o’clock. It’s the latest that I’ve slept since leaving Colorado five days ago. I let out a sigh acknowledging that I’m home and in my warm bed with Beckham. I’m back from Oz. My travels are behind me. Then, hesitation creeps in as I ponder which is the real world and which is the dream.
Still in a morning haze, I reflect on the melodic patterns of La Paz coming to life. The isolated rooster crows that gently elevated me to a higher level of consciousness. Followed by the sing-song chimes of church bells. The deep rattle of a diesel truck accelerating through town. The whisk of a broom over concrete as the gardener cleared the step. The whir of the ceiling fan, a rhythmic backdrop for it all.
Ideas for the day would rise and fall. I’d rehearse the good ones, creating a mental checklist for the day’s boat projects. Picking up the morning beat, my mind soon kept pace with the cycles of the fan. I would lay face up staring into the darkness, itching to join the orchestra and impart my own sound. My gaze traveled to the edge of where the curtain met the window. As the sun crested the horizon, my excitement for the day crescendoed.
The comforting clank of ceramic mugs echoed down the hall as coffee was poured in the communal kitchen. Finally! My cue to join in. As I bounced out of bed, my feet were welcomed by cool terracotta. I hummed as I crossed the room and smiled while admiring the painted ceramic washbasin. With the flick of a switch, its cheerful patterns of blue, yellow, red, and green rushed out to greet me. I ran a comb through my hair, brushed my teeth, and slid into my shorts. As I made my way into the open-air breezeway leading to the kitchen, I noticed the crisp ocean breeze for the first time. I backtracked to grab a fleece and then returned to my routine…
Gradually, I become aware of Beckham worming his way up the bed toward my face. Purring ferociously, he presses the top of his head into my neck. Whiskers tickle my nose. I resist this reality, disappointment washing over me. The alarm chimes in out of tune with the orchestra in my mind, heckling me. I lazily twist my body around, swinging my legs over the side of the bed, plunging my toes into deep lush carpet. The spell is broken.
Arousing from the most profound of slumbers, we break the gossamer web of some dream. Yet in a second afterward, (so frail may that web have been) we remember not that we have dreamed.
–from “The Pit and the Pendulum” by Edgar Allen Poe