I had a restless night last night, waking frequently and abruptly. It could have been too much caffeine during the day, or simply that shallow kind of sleep mothers maintain when a child is sick through the night. Whatever the cause, I couldn’t have gotten more than four hours of sleep by the time the sun rose, and my dreams were scattered and short.
In the morning, I confirmed that my daughter was feeling better, and she let me return to bed (after I also fed the cat to quiet its demands). I quickly drifted off into the deepest solid stretch of sleep I’ve had in a while. In it, my dreams were especially vivid. I have forgotten most of the details over the course of yet another busy day — we watched transit of Venus across the sun — but I do remember the feelings.
The last thing I remember dreaming involved being on top of a very tall mountain where an apartment building used to stand. I was standing on a cement slab which was angled like ancient rubble. I inched my way up the slope of the slab to look out over the edge, and what I saw was a shear drop down into a grassy valley which felt like more than a mile to the bottom. I lay flat on the slab, and I could feel the warmth of the cement on the side of my face where the sun had been baking it all afternoon. With my head sideways, I could look out at the rest of the rim of the valley, richly green and dense with trees. If I lifted my head at all, the scene swam before my eyes as if using a fish-eye lens, and I could feel the fear of vertigo rising in my stomach. I wanted to look out over the cliff edge again, to check for any remaining signs of the apartments which might have been built into the face of the mountain wall, but each time I tried to move I was frozen in fear. I felt the rough edge of the cement slab cutting into my finger tips as I gripped the edge more tightly.
Upon waking, I marveled at how real it had all felt. At no time during the experience did I question its reality. This is completely opposite to how a lucid dream is supposed to be. If this had been any other “normal” dream, I would not have been afraid of the heights because I would intuitively know that I could just invoke my flying levitation powers and head out over that valley.
I’m thinking that there was something else going on which enhanced the reality of the dream for me last night. When I woke up, I was dizzy, and had a hard time getting my balance at first. It could have been the onset of a head cold, or an inner ear problem. It eventually went away as I roused myself and started my day. My dream could have just been a visualization caused by that internal sensation, “an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese…”
Or, did my dream reality cause me to wake up with vertigo?