Holding My Breath

When things get crazy, it’s time to stop. I’ve said it many times before, and I will surely have endless occasions to say it again, but more important is that I do it.

Being immobilized by the lack of internet access for a while is perhaps a good start, but given the current schedule of overlapping work, travel, home relocation tasks, and a fair number of surprise interjections, I know that I will need to take every little momentary jot of rest and refreshment I can get. It’s 10:30 p.m. and I’ve just sat down after the evening’s part of the work that started in earnest about 12 hours ago. I know that there will be longer days ahead, many of them. I know that other people do intensely hard work for much longer days on a regular basis, and for less reward. And I also know my own limits.

My brain is abuzz, my muscles flagging, and most of all, I am reduced to a fuzzy and quite unfocused state that prevents much more productive work before bedtime. Since there’s an appraiser coming to inspect the house at 8 tomorrow morning (and you all know full well that I am among the least morning-friendly of creatures), I know it’s time to accept the state of the house as tidy and dolled up enough for his or her inspection—or else. Can’t make Neuschwanstein out of El Rancho Ordinario, nor should I. False advertising aside, it’s not the right character for a simple and happy family home. (Ask Mad Ludwig’s ghost, if you like.) So I’ll get up in the morning, however reluctantly, and get out of the inspector’s way, believing I’ve done as much as I can and should, and I’ll let the results of the day’s efforts speak for themselves. And then come back and undo all of them for the next inspection, the arrival of the estate sale manager at 10 a.m.

But right now, I am preparing my mind and body for as restful a night as I can conjure, and it begins, yes, ironically enough, it starts with stopping. Letting go of all the undone, poorly done, or yet-to-be-done stuff and silencing my mind. Letting myself drift toward peace and calm as though I’d dived into deep, clear, soothing seas and the water buoys me and shuts out the visual and voluble wildness of the day just past and those yet to come. I’ll sing myself to sleep with a little whale song, perhaps, but mostly, I will gladly let go of the need to rant and pant and wrestle, and I will return to life as refreshed as if I had a good long soar through the depths, if I can manage it, because that will make the next day’s work survivable in so many more ways.Photo: It's Not a Fluke

And Now to Sleep…Again

Since I missed yesterday’s posting time altogether and admitted [what you already know full well, if you know me in the least] today to my craving for massive amounts of sleep, I am grateful that today was a quiet, calm, fairly uneventful one spent recuperating from the latest adventures. And, more than that, grateful that it’s just about bedtime again. I seldom feel any sadness that any day is drawing to a close, other than the sentimental sense that a current delightful activity or gathering of friends must needs be discontinued, even if temporarily, for me to head toward sleep. So I am quite contented just now. Mother Nature has turned out the lights. I shall, too.Photo: Sundown, Maine

Don’t Bother Me When I’m Sleeping

Photo: Dr. Coffin, I PresumeWorld-Weary, or Geologically Tired…  

If you wake me at an hour too far ante-meridian,

I’m sorry, but my heart is dark and harder than obsidian

But if you keep me up too late and sleepless in the night,

It’s just as likely I will have a heart of anthracite.Digital illo from a photo: Just Let Me Sleep

I Woke Up at Seven Eleven…

Punctuation; spelling, grammar, diacritical marks; so crucial to our ability to interpret the world. Take that post title, for example, and imagine that if instead of 7:11 I were referring to waking up in a 7-Eleven convenience store. Both are possible, in the real world, but one would be pretty far preferable to the other in terms of personal comfort. And if you know me, you know that I mean waking up in the middle of a lousy little quick-stop shop, unless we’re talking opening my eyes at 19.11, or 7:11 post meridiem. Sorry, Mornings, I just can’t seem to learn to love you.Digital illo: Wrong Side of the Bed

The idea of finding myself in the snack food aisle of a convenience store when I opened my sleepy eyes is not, perhaps, ideal either. For any number of reasons, it could prove unsettling, if not dangerous. But I’m still leaning toward it as the better alternative, if I had to choose. Sleep calls to me.

I probably should consider where it means I went to sleep in the first place, if I’m waking up surrounded by small packages of foods with shelf lives longer than the motor oil that’s sold in the next aisle. Was time travel involved? If so, I can only hope that I went backward and thus gained some extra snooze time, or so far into the future that there is already a cure for what I will have contracted by lying on the floor where so many strangers have trod, sneezed, and drooled. But I’m still willing to consider it a worthy risk, because that’s just how important my nap time is to me.

Perhaps it’s better to let go of the whole conundrum and assume that I was merely inspired by a glance at the clock when I woke mid-sleep to think of such things at all. Odd things can happen when anything awakens one in the midst of heavy slumber. I’d work on this puzzle further, honestly…if I weren’t so…sllleeeeeeeepy…

Foodie Tuesday: Worth Getting Out of Bed

On some rare occasions, it’s actually worth getting out of bed before noon-ish. When the breakfast is that good, you know you’ve accomplished something, because I have no intention of cracking my eyelids open any earlier than I absolutely must. Sleep is the one thing I crave more deeply and often than food, and you all know how much I covet good eating, so it takes the prospect of great culinary splendor to drag me from the comfort of my bed one minute before I am good and ready to do so on my own.Photo: Breakfast in Budapest

Since I’m generally the one responsible for putting breakfast, if any, on my own plate, you can guess how often I’m likely to spring into action to see such a meal prepared and presented. I may have some lovely dreams about breakfast, but I prefer to enjoy them while still firmly ensconced in bed. When I do break my fast, it’s far more likely to be with brunch or even lunch than anything earlier, given my druthers.
Photo: Bulle med Kardemumma

I tend to make exceptions when I’m traveling. Often, the causes for the expeditions are beyond my hourly control, so if I have to be up before my internal alarm is interested in my arising, I will generally take advantage of any good food being offered by my hosts, whether they’re homeowners hospitably letting me invade their personal space or hotels with in-house breakfast accommodations. These pictures, for example, come from the summer’s travels and represent foods that went a long way toward ameliorating the agony of having to get out of bed before it seemed the rational thing to do. If anyone is to have half a hope of maneuvering me out of a comfy sleep any time before my body would grudgingly agree to that negotiation, it had better be, at the very least, with a magnificent cardamom roll (bottom photo, from Sandhamn, Sweden). Or perhaps the mind-bendingly gorgeous and seemingly endless spread offered in the palatial breakfast room (top photo) of our hotel in Budapest this summer. Otherwise, you can trust me when I tell you that it’s advisable to let sleeping dogs lie.

Blue or Not, that Rare Moon

Digital illustration: Rare Moon Seeing the moon at its showiest as often as I have lately makes me immeasurably glad. At the level of pure appearance, its resemblance to a magnificent pearl hanging on the breast of the sky makes that nacreous gleam a beauty of which I can never tire, any more than I would grow weary of taking slow, deep breaths after a spring rain when the lilacs have newly opened. It’s as though all the finery ever worn by all the goddesses of myth has fused into that one palely magnificent, ethereal yet endlessly potent jewel in the sky, so powerful that it can be seen sharply delineated at the height of day, yet as delicate as hoarfrost or needle lace in the faint patterns of its glimmering surface. And like the poets, philosophers and writers who preceded me, as well as those at whose feet I now sit, I remain in awe of the very idea of the moon; its mysterious pull on tide, time and spirit all at once never fails to startle me when I stop to think of it. I would like to sleep every night directly under the moon, staring until my eyes can stay open no longer, if I could really sleep there: while I imagine it might be impossible to close my eyes with such magisterial magic before me. Even when the moon is at its slightest, at nadir or waning to a hairline, it keeps its mystical hold on my imagination. Sleep or no, I can only expect I would dream. The glory of the moon demands dreaming, and whether I rest or not under its wondrous beams I will always delight in seeking to replenish my store of dreams, and by such restoration, to renew my own strength by the welcome, fabulous light of the gleaming moon.

Gently into the Night

digital illustration from a photograph

Reparations

While the quiet of the evening draws its curtain on the noise

Day had clamored ’til its leaving, I will lie in calm and poise,

Gently as a bed of lilies bends in summer’s kindest breeze,

As the cat turns, curling, ’til he’s found his pose of greatest ease;

While the dusk falls, silent, deeper into night, my eyelids close

Heavily…I’m soon a sleeper in the stillest of repose…

Midnight finds me softly dreaming, all the day’s loud clatter gone,

‘Til birds chatter at the streaming light of the approaching dawn

While I lie in silent dozing where no sound comes breaking through,

All that shouted ceases, closing restive lips—and spirits, too,

Slip like shades and never flutter more than deepest sleeping sends

To the surface from the utter place of healing and amends;

I will rest here in the solace and the silence so supreme

It can quiet every call as I lie still and, gently, dream…digital illustration from a photograph