A metaphor for sleep.
|This was written a very long time ago as a possible opening for a fantasy/psychological thriller novel I have been writing since 1998 or so. There is much more to this, but since I haven't used this excerpt in a while, and went for a different preface for the story, it has been sitting in limbo. I just thought I'd post this little bit as I am still somewhat fond of it, and would like to improve it if anyone has any suggestions.
If Sleep Were a Sea
What exactly is a dream? There are many answers to this seemingly simple question. For example, sleep itself may be somewhat like a sea, and a dream akin to a glass bottle adrift within its vastness. Bobbing and skimming the churning waves, it is carried by a mysterious and ever-changing current, meandering through the great undulations and rivulets with no particular route or destination.
Sometimes this sea may be calm and pleasant, and on occasion, the ocean floor can come into view from the bottle’s position. This is an unusual clarity, for most dreams are mysterious and difficult to see through, while the water and the glass can tend to be rather opaque, within the larger scheme of things. But here, the tiny object can drift easily and uneventfully along the surface, on past great coral reefs with schools of tiny fish darting this way and that, while anemones and a myriad of aquatic plants and corals shift and sway; a kaleidoscopic symphony of colors, light, and movement. The bottle may continue around islands and sandbars, through shallows, and past estuaries and river deltas that empty into the larger body of water through which it is floating. Then once in deeper, colder waters, colossal leviathans and great sharks glide effortlessly beneath it with great schools of larger fish, practically flying in a glistening and graceful glissade, paying as little mind to the tiny object sparkling in the overhead sunlight above them as to the black and endless abysmal depths below.
However, sometimes the sea can be rough and stormy with howling winds and crushing waves that toss the little bottle this way and that, slamming it against rocky shorelines, grinding at the glass with salt and sand, while forcing it down through the cloudy, harrowing waters into the darkness of the deep before it fights its way back up to the violently churning surface. Hopefully the storm will pass and the waters and sky will become calm and clear again. But… occasionally, the vessel gets washed ashore or breaks…
And sometimes, rhetorically speaking of course, if a message had been placed in that proverbial bottle, it just may end up on a distant shore next to another bottle with a message, just waiting for someone to find them.