Some people count sheep…

Anubis sleeping on meI bake cookies—in my head, that is—while I try to fall asleep at night.  I’ve never been a good sleeper.  Even as a child, I could hear a pin drop when I was sleeping.  And the princess and the pea—well, that is me as I fidget in bed trying to get comfortable.  Now I seem to rarely have a full night of sleeping.  I know that having my cat Anubis sleep on me is a mixed blessing (he is so warm and snuggly, but he is nearly 10 pounds of furriness sitting on my stomach).  So I try lots of evening rituals like doing some yoga poses and breathing exercises before I get into bed.  I sleep on wickable sheets to stay comfortable regardless of temperature changes.  I keep my eyes covered with a sleep mask every night to block out light and other energies around me.  I have tried earplugs and they do help to keep out sound but they aren’t very comfortable—yeah that princess and the pea phenomenon again.

Instead, I think of measuring brown sugar, white sugar and butter then creaming it together (yum, especially the brown sugar). I add the eggs and vanilla and even taste the batter along the way just like I do when I am actually making cookies.  And of course the recipe I seem to make most often is chocolate chip cookies (see Ode to baking chocolate chip cookies).

Notes for blogI even write entire blog posts like this one not on paper but in my head.  Initially I am too tired or afraid that turning on a light to write it down will wake me too fully that I try really hard to not forget it by morning.  One night recently it was no problem—I was so awake all through the night or just determined to remember that in the morning when I got up, all my thoughts just poured out long hand on paper.  I couldn’t wait the time it would have taken to turn on my computer.  And some how it seemed too early, too strange to turn on my computer.  But I don’t always remember what I “wrote” in bed.  Sometimes it will be days and then I finally remember a topic I thought of to write about while I was “asleep”.

I also sing songs all night.  That happens pretty much regardless of where I am in the dream-sleep continuum.  I can get really annoyed by a song if it keeps playing over and over again when I am awake-ish.  If I am actually asleep, the song simply becomes the soundtrack to whatever is taking place in my dream.  It doesn’t necessarily change the dream, it’s just there in the background like in a movie.

It turns out that my uncle has some similar experiences.  We probably share some unusual gene.  I can’t say that I am sorry that I have that gene.  Other than being such a poor sleeper, I do appreciate that my way to create is so interesting and I get fun things to blog out of it!

The quality of snow

There is something very satisfying and important to me about the quality of snow.  It can be at once both very calming and sad or furious and determined.  Part of the quality has to do with the rate at which it descends – floating down softly in a light snow, or a fast and heavy downfall that collects many inches in no time.  Today, the snow is almost drifting down to the ground and just a trace of whiteness appears around our yard.  First the tree limbs become white, and then slowly the ground picks up the tinge as well.  Perhaps because of the slowness of the flakes arrival to the earth, I feel as if I am being blanketed with a reminder to take one step at a time and the accumulation will happen eventually.  “The accumulation of what?” you may ask.  And my response is “of anything”.  Writing is dropping snowflakes one at a time that requires a kind of patience as the words accumulate into a larger piece.  I find that a certain soft quality much like the snow is at least one way in which I approach the paper to write.  I sit in front of my keyboard and let the words fall to the page.  There are snowstorm days where I can feel my blood pressure rise and my fingers won’t type fast enough to keep up with the quick flow of words that come from my manic cloud-mind.  In general I find that even in the calm days of light snowfall, I have a tendency to not breath well enough.  It is almost as if the anticipation of interacting with my thoughts on the page is just so intense that I loose the rhythm of my breath and get disconnected from most parts of my body, save my hands.

The quality of snow, although clearly present today on this early November snow-day, is present in all seasons in a variant.  Misty days in any season are not unlike light-snowfall.  They too are quiet and solemn and softly push me toward my inner contemplation.  The weather provides access to parts of myself that otherwise would not be present or at least have not been paid attention to recently.  Attention.  Yes the process of attention is a big part of the weather impact for me.  The weather draws my attention to much finer detail.  With snow, depending on my attention, I am transfixed to a small spot or a grand area.  In one moment, I might catch a single flake on its route to the ground.  Beginning at the top of the window, I latch up to one flake and my eyes travel down until it hits the ground and disappears into the accumulated flakes or wet ground.  In another moment I look straight ahead and welcome the multitude of snowflakes lofting through the air.  The simple change of my attention to the frozen clumps gives me very different sensations.  Part of the quality of snow is this flexible frame of reference, flexibility that is a perfect companion to words.

Words.  Or snow

Irregular, regular formulations of sparkly light

that provide me moisture, lubrication of mind.

Know no cares nor reason to be – other than present

to the curvature and surfaces that approach as they befall.

Sparse or clumped in action, yet no deliberation

intended or even needed.

They just appear.