Roiling

In Alaska's Katmai National Park, there are abundant sock-eye salmon in the rivers and abundant bears hungry for them. Here a brown bear bounds and splashes after a school of the red fish.

I’m not that person who simply cannot sit still. I’m happy to sit. On the couch all day. Football game after football game and any and every Olympic sport in a row. Binge watching Agents of Shield, Modern Family or Jessica Jones. Wasting hours on social media avoiding FOMO or trying to write this stuff. I spend hours on “photo editing.” Counting wave after wave hitting the shore while sitting on a towel. I can do chores in my mind with eyes closed. I bet I’d be good at hibernating, too.

But I’m feeling that shimmer. That tweaked tuning fork oscillating back and forth that you feel more than see. The vibrations of an eardrum working up sound. The whir of hummingbird wings that you can’t see, but you feel the engine of their 70 beats a minute. The coming together of cold and warm air in the creation of a storm.

I’m not really restless as much as agitated, but like the piston of a washing machine, not like anger. I wonder if I’m blinking more. Is the hair on my head quietly undulating, unseen by a passing family member? I am perched on the edge of, I don’t know. Something.

The Spouse asked me if I was coming down with something. I don’t think so.

I told him that I would sleep it off. We’ll see how that goes.

Dozing

A baby with fat cheeks.

He was definitely still a baby, but was increasingly more independently busy. Increasingly, in this case, used as a multiplier for more. It was happening fast.

Walking was always at top speed so you’d call it running. There was jumping and dancing, too. Words, and sounds that mimicked words, would tumble from his mouth. They would have the cadence of conversation, and likely a meaning that was uninterpretable, for now. He could clearly convey, “No,” usually when admonishing the dog. “No, babau” or whatever he said that meant dog.

It was time for his nap–remember he’s still a baby–but he was using his found power of no on his mother. She needed him to stop being busy for a bit. She had some busy of her own to do. Also, he was tired and she wanted to stay ahead of that.

She lifted him up and gently placed him in the bed. He sat up. She knew if he stopped for a few moments, sleep would win. She stretched out next to him and put her hand on his little back. He turned his head toward hers, lifting his chin so he could see into her eyes. They were just like his.

She saw her reflection in his eyes. She whispered a little hushing sound just above his head. She looked at his big round cheeks, rosy pink in the center dissolving into the smooth, clear porcelain at his rounded chin and his tiny nose. She brushed her hand on his cheek. It was warm, fueled by his little furnace inside. He sighed a baby sigh, and she felt his body relent a bit.

She locked eyes with him. He wasn’t going to let her out of his sight. She thought his eyebrows were perfectly formed, a light brown hinting at auburn framing his green eyes. With those lashes. Those long curly baby lashes coveted by all the women. He blinked. It was starting. He blinked again. She answered with a slow blink of her own.

She loved watching him fall asleep. The long, slow blinks that would get longer and slower until his lids were too heavy and would not flutter open. She couldn’t move too soon, otherwise, it’s back to the coaxing stage. She rubbed his back. He lifted his little hand and placed it on her cheek. Her heart swelled. She knew he was sleeping when she felt the wet, warmth of his perspiration. He would flash just as he fell asleep. And then she, too, was asleep.

 

Window Dressing

An image of the Andrew Wyeth painting, The Wind from the Sea.

It was likely still gray. Like the light when the night turns over to day, but before the sun does its shine thing. I was reluctantly awake.

That’s not really true. Reluctance is active. I was completely inactive. My state of waking was a passive occurrence. I wasn’t doing awake. I wasn’t encouraging awake. I just was. Mostly.

My eyes weren’t closed. Close is an action verb, too. I wasn’t acting. There were eyelids laying across my eyes. If I was thinking, I would have wondered about slipping back into that other state. Sleep. I could go either way, and, indeed, I was passing between these consciousnesses. I was given to repose.

The motor on the little fan whirred and then receded somewhere far away as I slipped back into sleep. The forced air rushed past my bare shoulder. I moved my hand from underneath my pillow and pulled the sheet up. It wasn’t a waking move as much as a reflex. My hand found its way back under the pillow and my mind back to a dreamscape.

My body warmed fast. Too fast, passing quickly through snug and stopping on roast. My left leg kicked off my blanket and sheet. I dangled my foot over the side of the bed. I raised my shoulder to let the sheet fall away and tucked my foot back under my covers. I cozied into the linens, wrapped with an ambient satisfaction from the thin sheet protecting me from the chilly air.

Temperature fully regulated, my mind left the room and joined a meadow or a garden or a house that I’ve never seen but I know is mine. Interrupted by a pressure drop. It’s my wakeup call. I’m roused enough to hit snooze before I lapse back to that other state. That latent state , where there is only one verb. Is.

Morning Mist

When she breaks the dream mirror with her dreaming brain in Inception.

I dreamed about Hillary Clinton in one of those in between the snooze alarms hazy dream sequences. It was one of those dreams you remember because you were just awake and then almost awake but only in your head.

I was someplace doing something. Oh, now I remember. It was at my mother-in-law’s. The new puppy my spouse brought home just peed on the treadmill. As I was cleaning it up, the house suddenly–but without surprise–morphed into some kind of market. Someone was asking me a question, and it turned out on closer inspection (or maybe a dream-swap) to be Madame Secretary herself.

I found myself walking with her through the market. She stopped when she saw a stroller. She asked me how old the baby was. I immediately went into staffing mode to find out. I was struck, however, that Clinton was by herself. I wondered about her absent entourage. She didn’t appear to have any helpers or handlers or protectors. Perhaps the crevices of my mind were a safe space for the candidate.

I moved the stroller canopy up. There were two babies in the stroller. The babe in the front was maybe 15-18 months old. I saw another set of little hands around his waist. The baby was in the other baby’s lap. I looked up and saw the mom. And the dad. And maybe a friend of theirs.

At first I couldn’t tell  if they recognized Clinton. Hillary gave the mom a pen that had appeared in her hand. It seemed like she was giving the woman a pen so the woman could request an autograph. She asked about the family. The woman looked off-balance and a bit overwhelmed, but said “Thank you.” I don’t know what for.

There was a deli in the market. As people surrounded us, someone in a white apron walked up. Clinton ordered a serrano ham and manchego sandwich. The deli person offered something different, maybe their speciality? Clinton crisply repeated her order. I thought it was a cool sandwich to ask for and wished that I was as well travelled and versed as Madame Secretary.

As I got jostled in the crowd, I lost Clinton. I returned to my search for the puppy urine cleanup solution. I walked out of the market and spied our car with its trunk wide open. It wasn’t actually our car, but in the dream it was.

Some teenagers were taking the beer out of the trunk. Other people were looking in the trunk for goodies they could nab. I shooed them away, retrieved my stuff and locked the car. The car was pulled up next to a motel. There was a couch that appeared on a porch that materialized. I sat down. The mother of the beer stealers sat next to me. She was watching TV. The TV was inside a room just off the porch.

I realized that my sweater was on wrong. I saw the beer stealing teenagers around the side of the porch. They glowered at me. They saw their mom and, like a switch, sat down and became friendly, in that sweet way that young people can be curious and engaging.

Someone else asked me about the puppy who I now saw. He had been sleeping next to The Beast in this other unknown space.

The alarm sang again, interrupting the dream. I cleared the madness away, stretched my arms above my head, swung my legs over the side of the bed and started my day.

What a disjointed set of thoughts, I thought. I don’t think that they mean a thing.

Sweet Dreams

sleeping dog lie

I had a hard time falling asleep last night.

Well, that’s not exactly true. I was reading a book* on the couch from about 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. when I woke up realized I was thirsty and that I needed to brush my teeth.

Boosted by post-nap energy, I watched funny videos with The Big Guy on his phone. We then groaned through that Buzzfeed list about why we need to burn down the Internet. Short answer, the person tweeting about their 80HD and the other person gay bashing because Rosetta Stone didn’t sit on that bus for nothing. Think about that.

So after doing enough Internet to feel very superior, I went up to bed.

I usually fall asleep within approximately 32 seconds of my head hitting the pillow. Last night, it was closer to ten minutes. That’s a hard time falling asleep for me. (Don’t hate insomniacs. You have other gifts.)

In those ten minutes I decided what to wear to work and what to have for breakfast so I could be super efficient and jump out of bed without hitting snooze and take the dog for a good morning walk. I spent the night with some weird dream about being on a train and having to balance luggage while carrying my friend’s sweet baby. Let’s not try and interpret that one.

The alarm fired about four hours after I fell asleep. I leaned over to turn it off.  You have to swipe right to turn it off, or you have to tap to snooze. I accidentally tapped and at that moment someone put an arm around me so I snuggled back in. Totally not my fault.

The other alarm in the room tripped and the arm de-enveloped. My cue to get up. I was thinking that the arm would have coffee waiting for me if I stalled. I closed my eyes and sank a little lower under covers.

Pop went the snoozed alarm and it’s time to get up for real. I sat up.

I did my lazy technique of making the bed. You can avoid walking all around the king size bed to straighten the sheets if you sit in the middle. From this position you can pull the sheets up and shake them out so the bed is just about made. Super efficient.

I started pulling up the sheets. I moved the pillow next to me. It was still warm from the arm. I put my head on the warm spot and thought about that nice strong arm. I fell back to sleep. The dog missed his long walk.

* This is a common euphemism for falling asleep downstairs.

Snow Drift

43ee4-img_4840

The snow. It’s coming. And it will cover us all with feet of whiteness.

Like my covers.

I don’t want to stir. When I move, I switch from warm to cold.

The Spouse is in the Wasatch Mountains and, I am sure, with his own snow issues. Me? I’m home. In that big bed. With the somewhat ugly sheets.

On top of those percales is a heavy woven cotton blanket. It’s a super neutral beige. If the somewhat ugly sheets were white, the contrast would be pretty. The sheets are somewhat ugly, though.

I used to have duvets to add color to the bedroom. A big bed is such a vista suck, so the topper makes the difference. The last duvet was a rust paisley print that lost it’s charm very quickly. The rust was oxidized–like it took the air out of the room.

Today’s duvet is a pure white with a white ric rac border. Very subtle, and very good with that beige. It’s odd–and awesome–that it makes that neutral cotton blanket a colorful contrast versus a background.

On the foot of the bed is a quilt that my mother-in-law stitched. It’s primary color is a dusty rose and it has some creamy white. It functions perfectly as a foot warmer on top of the comforting fluff of white duvet that hides the feather comforter that lays across the beige tightly knitted blanket on the somewhat ugly sheet.

The house is old and almost drafty. During storms I hear the winds ripping under the roof, making a noise that makes me dig deeper under my pile of linens. In the morning, I dig even deeper.

When it’s cold, the air in the bedroom is cold, too. Shielded by layers of covers, my body heat is cached and reflected back. I wake up underneath the pile of bedding. The tip of my nose is cold. I pull the sheets up and tuck my face in. I move my right hand to stretch, and I feel the cold mattress. I pull my hand back close to me, where it was before, where it warmed up that spot.

I wonder how long until the alarm rings. I don’t turn to see the clock. It would disturb the temperature balance. I slide down the pillow a little, burrowing deeper into the sheets. I open one eye and see that it’s still dark, but on it’s way to light. I pull my knees up, closer to my body. I tilt closer to deep breathing and try to push my creeping to-do list out of my head.