Thursday 11 March 2010

Just out of fingertip reach

Sleep, dreams, rainbows and even a story idea

When sleep becomes elusive, and it often does these days, I try all the standard things. I sip camomile tea. I take lavender baths. I ‘try not to get wound up about it’ but that’s easier to say than to do. Going to sleep is such an intangible experience and you know that if you have to analyse it then you’re one of those unfortunate people who, like me, suffer from insomnia. I’ve tried counting, not sheep, but alphabetical lists of anything from flowers and food to people and places. If I don’t reach r then I don’t even know that it’s worked... until the next morning. If I’m still struggling with s, t and u then I’m heading for another of those nights. However tired I am, and however much I need it, sleep is just out of fingertip reach.

Dreams can have that same elusive quality. Sometimes I’m more than happy to let a bad one drift from my consciousness but every now and then a dream leaves a tingle of expectation and I don’t know why. I want to curl my fingers around its edges and pull it closer but I can’t quite get to it. I know that soon it will fade and disappear but for the moment it’s a tantalising fingertip’s reach away, like a rainbow.

Now I know that rainbows are different. They’re scientific and I kind of understand the facts about refraction of light, but why does each colour bend so perfectly differently from the next? Why do I still get a thrill when I see one and why do I still believe that if I run fast enough across the fields I’ll be able to reach out and touch each perfectly blended hue?

I have a story idea that keeps appearing on the edges of my thoughts. Just like a rainbow it drifts out of reach whenever I try to get too close. I tease myself that if only I could write it down it would be the best story ever told, the most perfect story ever written. I almost know what it is. I can almost think about it, especially in the middle of one of those sleepless nights. It’s what drives my pencil on and maybe one day I’ll be able to close my fingers around it and capture it on this screen but for now, like sleep, dreams and rainbows, it’s just a fingertip’s reach away.