—the following speech was given by Wyatt Duvall before the Fourth Annual Somnambulist Conference
“The Comfort of Ceremony”
You and I have done this before, my friends. We have spread our mats before us. We have placed our pillows on the floor. We have unpinned our Slumber Flowers. We have tucked them underneath our pillows. We have laid our bodies down. We have closed our eyes. And we have fallen asleep.
By doing this simple action, by placing the Slumber Flower underneath our heads, we have taken our hopes and dreams and planted them once again in the soil, in the fertile ground of the mind, in the rejuvenating world of dreams. By doing so we allow our hopes to be reborn and our dreams of a world where the workday is divided by a moment of peace, where our bodies, our minds and our souls received the rest that they most assuredly deserve, to grow once more. And when we awaken, we reach under the pillow and find that the Sleepwalker has left us with a new Flower so that we will rise with renewed vigor, with a renewed commitment to our cause. Our dreams are once again in bloom.
Through sleep we are renewed. Through sleep we are awakened. Through sleep we are reborn. And by doing this, the Slumber Flower that you pin to your shirt, your coat, your lapel, your blouse, is not just a symbol of your commitment to our cause, it is a symbol of your awakening, of your rebirth.
Over time, you may notice that your Slumber Flower has lost its luster. It may appear to be spotted by dirt. Perhaps it will even appear to be soiled and flattened, a pale imitation of its previous self. But do not be deceived. Do not be alarmed. Do not be swayed. This is a brand new flower that you hold in your hands and it has been given to you by the Sleepwalker himself. It is a gift and a testament, a testament of your faith, a testament of your strength, a testament of your insight. I urge you to ignore what your five senses tell you. You should avert your eyes, for it is with your eyes open that you cannot see. It is only when they are closed that you can actually see. Close your eyes and you will see that the flower that you hold in your hands is a fresh bulb.
There will be those who will see the Slumber Flower on your chest, who will see the outward sign of your heart, and they will mock it. Do not be afraid. Do not be offended. Do not be swayed. They look, but they cannot see. They open their eyes, but they are closed. And you must show them how to close their eyes. You must show them how to sleep. The flower that is pinned to your clothes will show them how. It will show them how to close their eyes and dream, for it is only through dreams, through the grace of the Sleepwalker, that the Slumber Flower is renewed.
So listen to me, as I read a passage from The Somnambulist, R.E.M. 22:24:
‘The Sleepwalker closed his eyes
And realized that he had awakened.
He looked around the room at the other Sleepers.
Their eyes were open wide as they slumbered.
It was then that he pulled out his own teeth
And placed them under the pillows of those who slept.
The ceremony lasted throughout the night
As the Sleepwalker went from Sleeper to Sleeper
In the morning when the Sleepers awoke
They found their teeth under their pillows.
And it was then they realized that in their dreams
they had learned how to bite.”