An escape from everyday life or a time for recharging batteries. Sleep - oh come to me - you are night's daughter - so sang The Incredible String Band. "Sleep perchance to dream" said Shakespeare. And if I spent a few research minutes, I could find lots of other reflections on sleep. It's something all human beings have in common. Sometimes I nestle in to the clean cotton sheets that Shirley has laundered and it feels like easing into the Mediterranean - when warm waters lap over you and beneath the surface you are deafened, made lighter than you are, enveloped by womblike waters. It's like a rehearsal for death.
The night is filled with dreams but for me they rarely wait behind - they're gone like gossamer. I try to grasp them as I wake but they slip away and in any case, I know they are meaningless - just the brain ordering itself - filing and making some kind of sense of the ocean of data it receives each day. Sometimes sleep evades you when you need it most. When your head is filled with anxieties or pain and no matter how you try, those demons won't get lost. They torment and they torture till the morning palely brightens and you feel you've climbed a mountain. You're still exhausted.
We never talk of great sleeps we had in the past. For the majority of us that means we don't talk very much at all about one third of our lives. I remember Athens Airport in 1980. Rucksack checked in and a five hour nightime delay. I left the heaving terminal and under a nearby olive tree placed my passport and wallet under my head and fell asleep. I woke to a pastel Grecian dawn, before the sun rose like an angry eye and wandered back into the terminal where travelling chaos ensued.
Sleep - sweetest friend I ever had - always waiting there to embrace you. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz!