Sunday, January 3, 2010

Do shepherds dream of painted sheep?

I don’t know if sheep dream, but I imagine they do while sleeping in the sun. I imagine they dream of running through lush pastures or finding a feeder full of bright yellow corn at the end of a well worn path through the snow.

I don’t know if sheep dream, but I do know that I dream about sheep. Last night I dreamed of a big orange school bus, all the seats occupied by children in woolly coats of brown, black, gray and white. Some children had little black noses, some broad pink noses, but they all had big golden eyes with long lashes and long fuzzy ears. Every child had a sheep face. It all seemed perfectly normal to me, a school bus full of sheep.

When I have trouble falling asleep, I count sheep, sort of. One, a single sheep, with pink stripes, standing in a field. Two, a pair of sheep, one green and one red. Three, a blue sheep standing on the backs of a yellow sheep and a purple sheep. And on, through eleven, five spotted sheep standing on the backs of six plaid sheep. At some point, I drift away and the pyramids of sheep dissolve into thin air, no longer needed.

And then there was the night I awoke to find a ewe in bed with me. Not a ten pound lamb, I’ve actually done that several times, but a one hundred fifty pound ewe with white curly wool, four legs, and big floppy ears. I was unbelievably relieved to wake all the way and realize that the sheep sleeping next to me was actually Dave.

The sleeping mind processes data in amazing ways and it is quite a privilege to dream close enough to wakefulness to catch a glimpse of my mind at work, or at play, but definitely not asleep. I don’t know if sheep dream of me, but I am very glad that I dream of sheep.

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