The jumping spiders are dreaming. You can tell because the babies have translucent skin. Watch the eyes behind it, back and forth. Notice the twitching legs.
What are they doing? One of us asks. The theory is that they are trying to make sense. Whatever they dream about, it may help them jump better when they wake. It may help with direction, takeoffs, landings. Which, we have to admit, is more than any of us can say about our spider dreams.
The birds are doing it, too, another observes. Watch the feathers, how they twitch on drooping heads. The sleeping cephalopods turn wild colors, sending signals with urgency.
What we are wondering seems uncouth to ask. But chances are that there is one in any given assembly who is relatively immune to propriety, so we wait for the silence to break.
Do you think they see us? Says the one, When they . . .?
No answer is forthcoming. In the next hush, we notice that it isn’t clear which answer we want. In the long quiet that follows, we sleep.
Inspired by Carolyn Wilke’s recent Knowable article on emerging research into the REM sleep patterns of various creatures.