Sometimes, after dropping into bed and shifting to my right side, I apply a deep breath exercise taught to me by Karen Halt just to see where it takes this whole ‘going to bed’ process. I take the first big inhale as eyelids gain weight and sag into that special droop between “I can’t fall asleep” and “out cold.” The second brings a palpable settle, a 1950’s grain bin pile of oats spilling out at the bottom as the top caves. My chest seems to shift from stiff branch to willow twig softly enjoying a meadow. A third eases my neck and head into the memory foam pillow and begins the temple tight tension that takes dream to nightmare struggle with “aww, go ahead, think about Lilac lavender and dandelions’ dances.” Eyes, now fully closed, bring the purples and vivid blues, my peace colors kaleidoscoping capers – rolling, bulging, surging, fading – a northern lights-out ballet. My left knee, properly stacked atop the right, slips forward onto the sheet, the plump of covers pushing me deeper into the pillow-top mattress and rolling my left shoulder into my chin. With a few pirouettes, Nani-cat completes the fourth and final rememberable breath. Her purrcontentedlypuuurrring joins her body stretched licks of fur bath while one leg pushes my forehead from ‘her space.’ Her breaths always long, longingly lounged until we both sleep away the dark.
Ernest Hemingway once remarked, “I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake you know.” Truer words I have not recently found. I like George Carlin’s thought as well. “People say, ‘I’m going to sleep now,’ as if it were nothing. But it’s really a bizarre activity. ‘For the next several hours, while the sun is gone, I’m going to become unconscious, temporarily losing command over everything I know and understand. When the sun returns, I will resume my life’.” In sleep, each of us lies so dependently in the hands of God. In the ebb tide recede of foamy waves and rollers, we roll and stir and whimper and twitch and catch our breath and, well, through it all, sleep. God’s in charge. One of those oft forgotten blessings in a world that certainly seems to desire sleeplessness.
Lest I wax on any further, I best apply an Albert Camus thought. “Some people talk in their sleep. Lecturers talk while other people sleep.” And I’ll end with a think for us offered by Jim Butcher in Death Masks:
“Sleep is God. Go worship.”