So, we let the cats sleep in bed with us, if they want to. Scrabble, as a rule, does not want to, though sometimes she’ll sleep on the chest at the bottom of the bed. Back in her youth, she used to overnight pretty often on top of the bookcase by the bed, but the bookcase has gotten much higher since we first planted it there, and now Sprite spends part of the night aloft.
For the last decade or so, Mozart has been our steady date. His preferred position is tucked between me and Steve, or on my shoulder with his nose under my chin (and his whiskers in my face, but I try to bear it with the fortitude appropriate to my station). The addition of two new, and active, younger cats has changed the nighttime geography somewhat. Mozart is usually in on the action from the time we turn out the light. Trooper comes in sometime during the night, and will sleep on Steve’s ankle or knee, or shoulder, whatever’s available, after expressing his undying devotion to myself. Sprite will be in the cat nest, overlooking all, though later in the night, she’ll descend to sleep on Trooper’s rump, or his head, or across his belly.
Now, according to Household Mythology, the cats who sleep with us provide the night’s dreams. Dreaming is the profession of cats, and this is also why so many writers have cats; proximity helps us in the waking dream of writing.
So, last night, I had two dreams. I’m not sure who to blame them on, but I don’t remember my dreams often, and these were vivid.
The first dream — or the first half of a very long dream, I’m not sure which — involved Kat Kimbriel, who had, as writers do ask other writers in Real Life, asked me to look over a letter her publisher wanted her to send out with advance copies of her new book, and also to critique the Tandoori Rice that she would be serving at her book launch (so, OK, we don’t usually do the Tandoori Rice). She mailed both to me, in Maine, from Texas.
I went over the letter, made some suggestions, tasted the Tandoori Rice with the help of a friend, noted down my comments, packed the whole package up again and mailed it to Texas.
Then, I went to Boskone.
Only to discover that Kat had come to Boskone, too.
“Oh, no!” I said. “I mailed the letter and the rice back to Texas!”
“Oh,” she said, frowning. “Did you wrap the rice in tin foil and put a freezer block in the package? It should be OK, if you did.”
“Well, I didn’t,” I confessed. “I’ll buy you some more, fresh. You don’t want to poison your guests.”
And I left the con to go order Tandoori Rice so that I could mail it to Texas properly.
Now, somewhere between the con and the closest Indian restaurant, I lost my shirt. It didn’t seem to bother me, and I explained to the guy at the restaurant what I needed and why. He listened intently, gave me a shirt, and took me back to the kitchen, where he tore off a piece of brown paper, asked me questions about how many guests, drew a bunch of squares on the paper, and filled in each with a kind of food.
“OK,” he said. “You need this much. Seventy-five dollars.”
“That’s great,” I said, “but you need to pack it so that I can mail it to Texas.”
He sighed. “I’ll mail to Texas. You give me address.”
Ends here Part One.
Part Two begins with the realization that Daav and Er Thom are also at Boskone, which is perhaps terrifying only to myself. I met them in the lobby on my return, and the three of us left the con to walk out. It seems that, since Daav was stuck in Boston, he was working on his Master Gardener’s certifications. We walked down to a long, narrow slope of land that ended at a stream. The thing was covered in gravel, and Daav talked about the native plants he was going to reintroduce, and about holding the soil and purifying the stream. And he talked a little about his other projects, including a recovered vineyard (in Boston, so I assumed in the dream, and out), which had just produced its first wines.
He then pulled a bottle of red wine and a glass out of …his hat, I guess, poured and offered me a taste.
It was terrible, and I said so.
Whereupon, he threw away the red wine, leaving a coating of red on the inside of the glass; produced a bottle of white wine and poured it into the same glass. And I thought, this is a test, right?
Nonetheless, I sipped, expecting it to be doubly awful.
“This is good!” I exclaimed. “It tastes like oranges.”
“Does it?” He took the glass and had a sip. Eyebrows went up. “This is quite pleasant. Here, brother,” he says to Er Thom, offering the glass. “Try.”
Er Thom gives him a look that says, I cannot BELIEVE you’re asking me to do this, but he takes the glass and has a sip, and his eyebrows go up.
“It is good,” he said.
And here the dream ended, because the cats, who giveth the dreams and taketh them away — specifically Mozart and Trooper — were having a discussion about who got to sleep with me now, and woke me up in the process.
Trooper was sitting by my knee, apparently thinking he was going to settle down against my stomach, but he hesitated too long, and Mozart marched in front of him, plopped down on my shoulder, stuck his nose under my chin and commenced into purring. Loudly. Trooper sat there, then he began to purr, too, and curled up next to my knees.
The combined purring put me to sleep, but if I dreamed any more during the remainder of the night, I don’t remember.
. . .and how did you sleep last night?
10 thoughts on “Birds singin’ in the sycamore tree”
NPR has this Kitchen Table show on Sundays that I listen to if I’m near the radio at the time. This past Sunday, they had a dream guru talking about food in dreams. She made the point that it is really *our* subconscious associations with food that guide the interpretation. Makes sense to me. So I have to ask – do you not like red wine? Or had a bad experience with red wine? I seem to recall Shan preferring red but I don’t remember if Daav did.
Better than I would have with cats in the bed (I once slept with a friend’s cats; it was not a great night for any of us. My toes were bitten and one of them lay on my face and tried to smother me, probably for wiggling my feet when they wanted them still. Or maybe because I was not a family member.) I also had a vivid dream, but forgot it in the first minute after waking up.
Now meeting Daav and Er Thom at a convention would be…startling and somewhat scary, yes, esp. since I don’t speak their language and am not practiced in their customs. Daav and I could indeed talk gardening and native plants and even ecological restoration, but Er Thom? Hmmm. I’d get along better with Shan (and who wouldn’t, in our world?) I have a wise friend who plays the amiable babbling fool (and isn’t, though he is amiable and great fun.)
I slept beautifully to the background of the ocean!
I should think that both Daav and Er Thom would speak our language, since both are well traveled and polite enough to learn the language of their hosts. As for dreaming and cats and food, IDK. I have never had cats but I dream vividly and often about food. I often dream solutions to my most complex problems and design crafty and gardening projects there too.
Does Daav have Dr. Who pockets?
Daav likes a nice glass of wine, but often has misravot in his glass. I went from drinking white wine to drinking red, but the pouring of white wine into a glass still coated with red makes me cringe.
Good heavens, your bed must be as big as a soccer pitch. You were mentioning that Sprite is 4′ long from nose to tail and sharing even a queensize bed with three of them seems decidedly problematic. Obviously no twitchy or sprawly sleepers there!
Cats do fold up small, after all.
Plus, with Sprite either sleeping on top of the bookcase or on top of Trooper, she’s really not taking up extra bed space.
Your dream sounds charming, although I can see why it would be disconcerting to run into one’s fictional characters at a convention. I once had one in which top and back of my head was a sunflower head, and birds kept pulling out seeds. Didn’t hurt, really, but each seed coming out could be felt very distinctly, and it thoroughly creeped me out. Winced and cringed for days; had to keep pressing my hands on top of my head.
No idea what the significance of that was, but it was certainly memorable. Ack.
As a three pound kitten, my cat liked to stretch his tummy across my throat to warm up when he was cold on winter nights. When he got to be an 11-pound cat I had to explain, quite firmly, that this wasn’t going to work anymore, as I have a strong need to breathe. He settled for my shoulder, mostly, although occasionally with some overlap, and he’s pretty good about cuddling up against my chest after I’ve gotten exasperated and shoved him off the pillow. But every once in awhile I wake up to find that he’s now occupying 9/10 of the pillow, and my head, at an acute angle, is wedged onto a small corner of it. Not sure he provides dreams, but his purring is very soporific. The terrier does not like to cuddle at night, except when he does, and decides to shove himself firmly against my legs or behind my knees. It’s rather sweet, but being a tosser and turner, I find it difficult to be trapped in position, especially if there are two or more creatures hemming me in, and have to move sooner or later.
Julie Cznerneda’s lovely fantasy “A Turn of Light,” which I just read, had a character being comforted to sleep by a large, fanged (friendly) toad sitting on his chest. The toads are delightful characters in a very enjoyable book; I quite wanted to talk to one — but the thought of one sitting on me while I slept nearly had me climbing up the bookshelf to wedge myself against the ceiling on the top shelf. Far, far out of the reach of toads.
Hm. This might explain why I rarely have dreams that I can recall the next day since where I sleep is always declared a cat-free zone due to my asthma and allergies. We’ve had cats (never more than one at a time, also because of my asthma and allergies)but they never seemed to mind being shut out of the bedroom.