Love Your Body #2: Slumber

Another celebratory morning for me:  I had an amazing sleep last night.

Normally, I roll around in the bed like a breakfast sausage in a hot pan, trying to cook all possible sides, settling only briefly before skittering away to another spot.  Cordelia sleeps between me and John, a dropped anchor trapping the blankets, so that I have to pull with all my might to keep my feet covered.  I’m perpetually hot, but our bedroom windows are casements, six feet tall, and the heavy frames pull out of alignment if we open them too often, so instead, I dial down the heat in the room.  But then, I get cold for a while, so I keep a heating pad by the side of the bed to warm me up, which sometimes overheats like an old toaster, and I wake up to fling it out from under the duvet.  John snores, a robust, where’s-the-grizzly?-growl-n-snuffle that can be heard in the kids’ rooms downstairs.  I know this, because I sometimes go down and sleep in Nate’s old room to escape it. The distant sawing still reaches me, droning without respite despite the insulated sub-floor. It’s almost more annoying muted than full-throated.  The moon shines directly into my line of vision through the unshaded fanlight that tops our beautiful Palladian window. At least the moonlight illuminates the bedside table, so I can see where I deposited my detestable night guard after unconsciously discarding it in frustration.  I’m forever pulling it out; I only wear it because my dentist insists my teeth will be creepy little nubs by the time I’m elderly if I don’t. Some nights, when there’s no moon and the room is dark, I knock over the lamp or spill my bedside water bottle all over the sheets, my fingers groping for the toothy plastic. My PT says I’m supposed to keep a pillow between my knees when sleeping on my side, which feels like I’m wrestling a reluctant raccoon every time I shift positions.  Speaking of wildlife, there is a loquacious family of owls in the woods adjacent to our land.  They “whoo, whoo, whoo” in a tri-tone call and response that is charming for about three minutes.  At which point I start thinking about avicide.  The woods also feature coyotes and their pups, foxes and their kits, and fisher cats, whose hair-raising caterwauls bring to mind a colicky infant who happens to also be morally outraged. 

In other words, I’m a restless sleeper.  It’s not that my mind is busy.  I’m not laying awake stewing over the day’s god-awful news or the dying of the planet. I’m not running through to-do lists for the coming day or trying to remember the name of that gal I ran into in the market who clearly knew me and asked about the kids and my writing, about whom I had not the vaguest fucking clue, not even a scintilla of “maybe from Little League?  Or grad school?”  It’s my BODY that doesn’t want to settle in to sleep, that refuses to surrender and let the wave take me.  No doubt all those busy thoughts and worries bypassed my brain and baked themselves right into my cells, leaving me twitchy as a squirrel in heat.  Some mornings, I wake up feeling stiff and achy, muscles strained from mortal combat with the bed linens.

But last night, I slumbered.  Isn’t that such a beautiful word?  It has weight, it pulls you down into its deep embrace, forms in the mouth like a one-word poem, landing on the page of your day, solid and sure. 


One thought on “Love Your Body #2: Slumber

  1. Sleep, perchance to dream. How beautifully you express the need for life-affirming sleep (but you also made me laugh as I read – I think you have a restless wooded neighborhood as well). Have you tried Melatonin? My doctor suggested it, and it’s an organic, non-drug way to relax a bit into dreamland. xo


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