Quiet has returned to the forest, the cold night a pool of stilled air, the trees floating as though suspended from the clouds, a few stars emerging now and then but never in full constellations. Or maybe it is that the clouds seem like the bottom of the pool, faintly stirred by deep currents, and the trees are suspended from the earth, hanging toward the stars that are like bright flecks of metal underwater. It is a curious inversion such as I might experience in a dream, but it emerges while I wake, induced perhaps by hours as utterly placid as sleep. Once, the calm was broken by a pair of bickering raccoons who set the dogs to barking. Later, an owl emitted a single screech which echoed into oblivion, leaving the silence more dense than ever, and the chill deeper. Those events, too, seem like passages in a dream. I try to cling to the sense of unreality but, like the dreams it so resembles, it slips away, leaving me unable to quite describe it. I wonder if, when I sleep, I will see myself walking the everyday world, engaged in commonplace tasks? I wouldn't feel surprise. The odd things my brain does have ceased to amaze me.