It struck me this morning as I lay in that place half way between sleep and waking, that the strangeness of the night is not, or rather should not be, strictly the concern of the gullible and superstitious. For again, as I’ve noticed on other mornings our eider-down had moved half way across the bed.
I know that when Sue and I reclined for the night we had ensured that that mantle of warmth had been spread fairly, left to right. But as I’ve discovered before it has again migrated towards the east. If this proclivity for movement expressed itself chaotically, if sometimes the eider-down were to be found slumping over my side of the bed (the west) or sometimes the foot, if it crumpled up diagonally, then I could conceive of these meanderings as purely the result of Sue’s and my nocturnal twistings and turnings. But this explanation clearly does not apply, for without exception it is me who recognises the first ante meridian - evidence of that green, feathery envelope’s sojourn, as the cold begins to worm its way through the exposed blankets, towards me!
Any noise that it may produce is too subtle to rouse me from sleep and no amount of lying and “watching” has procured any observation of its creep towards the east and the sometimes open window that stands there.
As I lay there in bed this morning, feeling the cool rejection of the partly departed eider-down, some sort of overall picture, a scenario of its aspirations began to emerge from some precognitive corner of my mind. Was I silly not to accept or recognise it before? Was it mere coincidence that on the morning of its most extreme exertions I had found the eider-down a green, despondent, crumpled heap at the base of the wall, immediately below the partly open window? It had dragged itself nearly two laborious metres and to where had it been trying to escape? Again to the east. Yes. But the open window! Yes. And? What lay, no, rose glaring brilliant orange beyond the distant hills? The sun!
What’s the connection? You may ask. What possible attraction or affinity could our eider-down and the sun have, one for the other? Again that groggy, yet insightful, gulf between oblivion and consciousness provided the connection and realisation.
Our barely faithful eider-down provides us during the night (the sun’s absence) with a warmth we obtain in daytime, from our solar-friend.
In the early eons of humankind’s philosophical and spiritual awakenings we viewed the sun as God. The source of all life and bounty (some neo-solarists still claim the one true religion and seek a fundamental return to those ancient practices and reverences that characterised those former beliefs). But, could it be that the sun has at least one, new aspiring devotee?
I know nothing of the cognitive powers of eider-downs. I have never viewed them as, in anyway, sentient beings. But then how early were our potentials recognised by more developed entities? I would be keen to know if any of my readers have any corroborating evidence of their own that could be added to this, because I really think we may be seeing here the beginning of something much bigger than the average scientific mind can conceive.
It is my contention now, that maybe because of the role in which we have cast them, eider-downs have developed a strange sort of spiritual affinity, and perhaps reverence, for the sun. At some level, deep within their downy interiors the inkling has germinated that because of their function as provides of surrogate warmth to their admittedly advanced human overloads they, therefore, contain within themselves that devine “spark” of kinship with that greater something, the sun.
I don’t think its ridiculous to speculate that if some particularly sensitive sectors of the human population start to hear and accept this revelation, they will begin a strenuous push for eider-down rights.
The more I speculate on this the more potentially hazardous this insight grows. For if I’m right in all that I’ve so far written and zealous protectors of eider-down’s rights and aspirations have their way, I foresee the time when it will be mandatory for all bedroom windows to be floor level and, in winter, permanently open so that devout eider-downs can at their own nocturnal, spiritual whim depart eastwards in pilgrimage to their God, the rising sun.