Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Sleep Evasion of the Senior Kind

I can hear the snow melting outside and even popped out on to our step in my pajamas to listen.  At 2 AM that was the only sound greeting me and it was amazing.  I suppose the drip drip of the melting snow from the eaves might drive me insane if I was actually in bed trying to sleep but I am on one of my lone dark sojourns when sleep has fled and my body alarm is confused.  I revel in the mesmerizing drip drip of nature and breathe in the fresh, crisp air of a snowy mountain morning and then, sigh.

You see, I awoke in a panic, with my mind  filled with crazy thoughts of escape and survival in an earth epic calamity that I can only attribute to the fantasy "end of all time" movie I absorbed into my subconscious late last evening.  Groan!

Do you have recurrent dream themes - you know, those ones that carry a sense of urgency, and revolve around a theme?  Mine is and has been since childhood a theme of escape - from bears, from war (circa the Cuban crisis of the 1960's) and from apocalyptic events that threaten all my loved ones.  All require a great deal of planning for escape - except the bear which I generally managed by screaming and running into my parents' bedroom on more than one occasion.  I find myself awake with a jumble of nerves, checklists for backpacks and survival in the mountains and heart palpitations that I would expect would wake my spouse (but don't!).  Attempts at returning to sleep are fruitless - I know what I need.

When I was little my mother would often have to rescue me from some vivid nightmare.  She never shook me or tried to make me go back to bed immediately.  She would take my hand and lead me to the bathroom, sit me down and hand me a glass of water.  In soothing tones, she would ask me how I was, was I feeling better, and quietly would reassure me that everything was going to be alright.  Then, and only when I nodded sleepily it was OK, I would toddle off to my bed usually kept warm by one sister or another.  I have to admit, I used very similar approaches with my daughters throughout their nightmares, scary dreams and yes, the worst of them - the night terror.

Alas, no one is here (and awake!) to hand me a glass of water, stroke my back and then walk me back to my bed.  The bed is still warm, but, in these quiet moments between night and morning, I will have to trust the drip drip of the melting snow to lull me back to a sleepy state of mind.  So, until our earth is once again under attack and I must rouse to save the world, I bid you adieu from my slowly fading keyboard.  The furnace rattles awake, the drips recede quietly into the night air, my story is coming to an end and I will sleep once again, with a glass of comforting water on the night table.

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