Page 70 - November 2020
P. 70

November 2020           70

                                                 Strategies of Sleeping

              The sky was a clear blue, the grass was bright green, and the fence was yellow, so
              he  could  better  see  the  animals.  None  of  the  sheep  had  horns,  rings  on  their

              noses,  or  bits  of  grass  stuck  to  their  pristine  coats.  The  point  was  to  count
              quickly. Imperfections would only slow him down.

              The first few sheep that leapt over the fence went over smoothly and he counted
              them.  However,  Jim  eventually  found  it  difficult  to  separate  one  sheep  from
              another.  They  seemed  to  blur  together  into  a  stream  of  tufts  that  looked  like
              clouds rolling over the fence. The grass and fence were hand to tell apart by the
              point as well. The overall effect reminded Jim of one of the paintings he had seen
              in the gallery, where it was difficult to separate the edge of some water lilies from
              the  pond  they  sat  on.  Jim  tried  to  remedy  the  dream  by  imagining  crisp  lines
              around every object so that every color was contained as if part of a stained-glass
              window. He liked to look at them, and wished that the museum he went to earlier
              had a better collection. That would be getting them somehow from churches, and
              he knew that was a complicated process.

              As Jim continued to count the sheep, they began to transform again. The barriers
              he  had  pictured  around  each  sheep  in  order  to  preserve  their  color  and  shape

              changed.  They  became  angular  and  geometric.  The  animals  turned  into
              collections  of  cubes  ascending  and  descending  over  a  fence.  Trying  to  count
              them was difficult. Jim looked for the eyes and mouth on each one, in hopes of
              finding a way to distinguish one from the other. These features were not in the
              right places and it was hard to tell in fact which direction they were even going.
              Jim looked at the set up and expected them to start wearing harlequin costumes
              while playing around fragmented bowls of oblong fruit.

              He tried to picture the sheep in their previous blurry state. It was difficult to deal
              with the stream of fur, but easier than completely losing perspective. The closest
              he could get to that state resulted in sheep that were blurry and grass that was
              now  bright  red.  The  fence  remained  yellow.  Jim  thought  about  counting
              something else to fall asleep but nothing else seemed as easy as conjuring up the
              sheep. At least as a subject. Other difficulties now presented themselves in his

              imagination.  The  fence,  the  grass,  the  sheep,  and  the  sky  started  to  become  a
              confused  array.  There  was  no  sense  of  perspective  and  all  he  could  make  out
              were white splotches, disembodied black flecks of legs and heads, greed blades
              of  grass  tossed  everywhere,  and  pieces  of  yellow  fence  broken  up  as  if  in
              splinters.  The  bodies  were  elongated  in  different  directions  too.  Head  and  tail
              were less important than the bump and the hollow.
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