‘All right,’ said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone.
‘Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin,’ thought Alice; ‘but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!
– Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland
Dreams can be complex and confusing things, not bound by the rules of logic or waking life. When I wake up slowly from a dream-filled sleep the transition can be gradual, as the elements of the vision scatter and fade before the onslaught of rational thought that (usually) marks my waking hours. Sometimes, however, there remains a last vestige, like the Cheshire Cat’s grin. Like a grin without a cat, it can certainly be an odd scrap of thought.
Take yesterday morning, for instance. I rose out of grand and extended dreams, up through layers of consciousness into the waking world, shedding the bizarre until only a single phrase remained:
This morning I awoke abruptly to the beeping of an alarm clock. There ought to be a law. The annoying sound chased away the dream I was having; my sweetie and I had gone to the moon and we were setting up in a nice little house. I was trying to figure out how to take a video to prove we were there, one that couldn’t be faked. As the beeper beeped I was trying to juggle in low gravity. It wasn’t going well.
Six minutes later, as the snooze alarm tried to convince us that yes, it really was time to get up, I was turning down the opportunity to be a drug distributor in Prague.
Six minutes after that… Let’s just say that there was a lot of snoozing this morning.
I slept poorly last night, and elected to keep trying to get a few quality z’s long after the sun was up. I was not entirely successful, but I did spend time drifting through a half-sleeping state. There are dreams of a sort to be found at this level of consciousness, different (I think) from deep-sleep dreams, more tied to possibility and the world we know, stories we whisper to ourselves while we snooze.
This morning more than once I awoke from these mental muddled ramblings feeling annoyed. There had been a continuity problem with the dream, and I had wanted to go back and re-dream the previous part to fix it. I wanted to edit the first draft of my dream. Naturally I couldn’t do that, and the frustration brought me back to full wakefulness. I know that with a little work it could have been a much more compelling dream.