late night not sleeping
reading the late night reading
reading not sleeping
After a couple of weeks of somewhat better sleep, I find myself tired at night and I slide into sleep under the blankets only to snap awake, awake and alert, in the middle of night or very early in the morning with little hope of sleep sliding back under my eyes.
I know it becomes a regular occurrence in place of happenstance when I wake up and I am resigned to getting up instead of trying to will myself back to sleep.
I have tried all the sleeping and breathing exercises but non of them have the effect of choking off my mind in the way Ernest Hemingway described it in the short story, Big Two Hearted River, with the words, “His mind starting to work. He knew he could choke it because he was tired enough.“
It is much more like Lt. Col Henry Blake in the TV show M*A*S*H when, late at night, he thinks about having to pee and announces, ‘No use trying to fight it.’
I turn over and in the gloom I can make out the shadows of the ceiling fan and I count the blades, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and then again, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and again faster and faster until I totter on the thin edge of ice that will become a Mark Twain Punch Brother Punch Punch with Care Punch in the presence of the Passenger moment and I throw the blankets back.
Changing blankets a bit ago has helped.
I am a heavy, fuzzy surface, sleeper.
You can have your quilts and rayons and sliks and satins and cool sheets.
Give me wool or flannel or rough cotton and please a little heft to it.
I tried a HEAVY blanket for awhile and while it was VERY comforting it was tooooooo heavy.
I need the texture of warmth if that makes any sense.
I thought this was a bit odd then I read an account of being sick by Garrison Keillor and he recounted how his mother would rub his chest with Vic’s Vapor Rub (it smelled like you were getting better) and tied a strip of flannel around his throat.
When I got to the flannel part I yelled THATS IT!
So I put a fleece throw blanket from the basket in the living room on my side of the bed and pulling that up close to my chin has helped immensely.
But as I said, of late, the wide-awakes are back.
They are back and with resignation in my soul, I get out of bed as quietly as I can and go the next room to read.
And I read the late night reading.
Reading, not sleeping.
I can’t think so good and as the great hitter, Ted Williams, would say, if you don’t think so good, don’ think so much, so I don’t.
I don’t want to think.
I want to fall back asleep and sleep so the last thing I want to do is look at the clock.
So I read the late night reading.
I read old novels.
Old favorite novels.
Some that I have read nearly 100’s of times (no lie)
I read the Caine Mutiny or the other Wouk titles, The Winds of War or War and Remembrance.
I read the CS Forester Hornblower books.
I’ll read kids books too.
Barely see the words so I don’t go off on trying to make word combinations.
I just read.
Last night I started Forester’s African Queen.
In my mind, Bogart and Hepburn read their lines to me.
It just hit me that Bogart and Hepburn starred in the African Queen and Bogart and Hepburn starred in the original Sabrina.
Of course I mean Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn and Audrey Hepburn.
Isn’t that fabulous?
But I digress.
I am tired right now.
I will nap after dinner.
And about 10:30pm I’ll get ready for bed and be asleep by 11.
I won’t think about it.
I can’t think it about.
And if I don’t think about it, I won’t wake up.
I won’t wake up and start reading the late night reading.
Sure hope so.