21 February 2011

The speed of dreams.

4:05 am

I wake up enough to look at the clock, then close my eyes to fall back asleep.

. . . I'm in Lyons, watching the road and the people driving to Estes . . . a local emergency crew rushes to set up a fake accident scene . . . they are staging a training exercise . . . we watch them for awhile . . . the crew comes inside . . . it's a public building and we prepare dinner . . . we are cleaning up . . . where is my knife? my favorite Henckel ten inch perfectly balanced chefs knife . . . my husband and I look everywhere for it . . . there are a lot of clean up areas and sinks and places knives are kept . . . I know I shouldn't have brought it but it was always safe before . . . I look in bins of knives in sink drainers in drawers on sinktops on magnetic wall holders but can't find it anywhere . . . none of the knives has the same feel or look . . . I mutter to my husband "it cost a hundred dollars" . . . I can't believe someone took it . . .

I come up out of the dream . . . at first in the blurry dream world where I know my knife is gone and then to the point where I make myself come to full wakefulness and make myself think about my knife safe in the kitchen downstairs and I know that it was just a dream. I look at the clock.

4:07 am

This is a true story: two minutes elapsed, bracketing my dream. Assume it would take some seconds - let's say 60 - to fall into and come out of a dream. So I had a minute of real-world time in a dream (as measured from an external observer) but I had about 3 hours of dream-world time: The fake accident is set up, we watch it, we prepare a meal and are cleaning up. So 3 dream-world hours per minute of real-world time. That's pretty cool!


I'm not the only one who has thought about measuring the time spent in dreams. When I woke up and started thinking about the elapsed time, I was immediately reminded of a great short SF story I read entitled The Speed of Dreams by Will Ludwigsen. You can listen to it here.

I first read the story in one of my SF magazines, then I listened to it as an Escape Podcast (it's that good - I'd listen to it again). In the story, a teenage girl notes that her family's adopted ex-racing greyhound twitches his feet when he dreams. She needs to do a science project, so she decides to compare the length of his dreams (real-world time) with the length of time it used to take him to run the race track (dream-world time). Very scientifically, she measures his dream repeatedly and takes an average, and ratios that with his average race time.

(It's a haunting story - there is more to it than measuring the dog's dreams. She is also watching her grandmother dream, and would like to spend more time with her. I'm not going to spoil the end in case you want to listen to the story.)

A couple post scripts. First, I didn't want to forget the dream; I wanted it written down as accurately as possible. Sleepily, I padded downstairs and grabbed my MacBookPro, and really appreciated having it. Less than a year ago, I was still dependent on my stationary desktop.

Second, the photo is my first real work using masks in Photoshop. I am doing a tutorial on Photoshop ("Classroom in a Book") and learned this technique last week. The knife in the photo is my own, the background is our kitchen table, filtered a few ways. I wanted it to look like the sharp knife is floating in a blurry dream world.


No comments yet

Add Comment

This item is closed, it's not possible to add new comments to it or to vote on it