09 December 2010

Starry, Starry Night, with Friends

'Whatever gets you through the night' the song says, 'is alright' yet I can't help but wonder if that is true.  The presumption is that one has something to get one through the night.  What if there is nothing, or no one?  What if the only solution is a bottle or a pill?

Progress has made it so easy to find a fix, nearly always within arms reach.  This may be a problem in and of itself.  Why figure it out inside, why listen to the body, when all you need to do is open your mouth and swallow?

really, why?

Sometimes, alas, it may be the only way to get through a tight spot.  This lies uneasy on the mind, especially one that is dulled by lack of rest.  Not just sleep, rest.  Rest, the forgotten country.

I thought of this tonight as I drove home from class, under a clear sky and cold to ache the bones.  I watched the lights shining through the trees bare of leaves.  A diamond necklace, twinkling and civilized, and choking the life out of life.  To see so many lights reminds  me that the season has changed, leaves are down and the trees are showing their bones to the sky.

I am also reminded of how long it has been since I have walked in the woods.  I felt the river calling to me, and the rocks and leaves.  They wondered where I have been, and I told them I been away, trying to keep up with life.

They laughed, and reminded me that they are life, and that I can rest with them.

This I could not refute, and if I had more fortitude (and a sleeping bag) I would have walked down by the river, and slept on the bank.  The earth, the water, the rocks and the sky: get me through the night, please.

If only.  Right now, I have as my companions two small stuffed animals, bequeathed upon me by my thoughtful and wonderful daughter.  She hand picked "Mr. Eagle" (stuffed eagle that, when squeezed, emits the call of a bald eagle) and 'Ballou' from "The Jungle Book".  Wee Lass even carefully placed them next to the pillows on the other side of the bed, so they could watch over me as I sleep.

Tonight, as always, I am grateful for their company.


  1. Your girl is a wise one.

    Having winter sleep issues up here too.

    And that image of the skeleton trees is something I've been thinking of a lot lately.

    Hang in there, Gumby.

  2. I just love the whole image of Wee Lass placing "your buddies" just so.

    sniff :)

  3. I lean toward the Isak Dinesen quote: "The cure for everything is salt water - tears, sweat, or the sea".

    When there's been too much of the former, a spot of dancing gets me out of my head and back in my body for a bit... and when things really pile up, I run for nature, too. Trees are always a delight, and waves, maybe because they are not in my usual visual vocabulary, are a comfort. I avoid the beach in summer (too much exposure) but love it in any other season.

    Also - this: http://www.rhapsody.com/over-the-rhine/drunkards-prayer/born
    "Whatever you got, I don't mind..." Just holler; that's what friends are for... :)

  4. It is nice to sleep under those stars, I sleep the best. I go out and winter camp, but you tend to wear a hat to bed and sometimes sleep like a cocoon inside your bag.When away from the lights it does amaze you with the glitter and glow of the stars.

  5. you describe the dilemma eloquently. (also, your title got me over to youtube to listen the beautiful Don Mclean song)

    ambien is my drug of choice when I need it, though sometimes it even fails to deliver. I now have the luxury (most nights) of not taking anything since I left the 8 to 5 world of work. A rare luxury, I know. Better than booze, pills and money, this freedom to stay up all night if that's what my body wants to do.

    I've also used quiet low music to help me drift away...and cds of a trickling stream. Self-hypnosis. I've tried 'em all.

    I love the image of your animals watching over you. Your daughter is a dear one.

  6. The Gumbotron keeps blurring out on me. All that helps is blinking my eyes. And then I have water on my cheeks. One of those days.

  7. Rest, the forgotten country. I like that. I'd like it more if they'd grant me a visitors visa.

  8. No easy fixes, for sure. When I get down, lacking good sleep and feeling lonesome, I watch romantic comedies. I try to remember to breathe deeply, pay attention to the self-talk and change it up, and find humor in as much as I can. I know things always get better, though I frequently ask "When?" Hope and courage are two essentials in the modern person's survival kit.

  9. Another wonderful post. Sometimes, you have to just Make It Through the Night. Without the pills, or whatever, to get to the other side. It's the only way you'll know you can.
    I have often thought of getting out into nature; it would certainly feed me. But we watch too many awful programs on TV, hear of the terrible things that can happen out there, and frankly...I wimp out, even though I know it's a part of something larger than myself that calls me there. Even though my heart cries out to be there in that welcoming wing of nature.
    BTW, I think your daughter is an old soul. She knows how to comfort her Daddy. Or maybe it is you that's the old soul for recognizing her. :)

  10. My son chooses a new stuffed animal for me to sleep with every night. When i climb into bed at night, usually exhausted from the day, there it is. It reminds me that tomorrow is a new day and that I have a little person who loves me. For them, I go to bed each night and get up the next day.

    And I keep going.

  11. I stay up and read now until I get tired. Not having to get up early anymore has a benefit.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...