Wednesday, November 2, 2011

When I can't sleep, I read. When I read, I can sleep.

I love to read.  I can do it anywhere.  Long ago,when my parents would get into an argument, I would pick up a book and start reading. The sound of them would just disappear.  I would dive into the story, think about the characters and what was happening to them, or read a really great line over and over, twisting it about with thought-filled hands to examine it from all angles.  Hours would pass, and I would close the book to find I was so hungry I was nauseous. I had left the place behind while I read, a transcendentalist, my body snugged into a chair that looked out over my neighbor's driveway, my mind in some other space.

Reading was essential. In many ways, it is still the same kind of essential it was when I was a child and later a teenager.  If I cannot sleep, which happens fairly often, all I need do is pick up a book.  Maybe I can't sleep because I am thinking too much, lesson planning or planning a field trip or going over a conversation that just won't quit my mind. Whatever it is that is keeping me awake disappears when I read.  It is as if my mind narrows to just this one thing, the story I am reading.  It fills the space between my ears.  Fifteen, maybe twenty minutes later, I can turn off my Sony reader, roll over and shortly I am asleep. When I read, I throw everything out and leave room only for the story.  I don't actively examine the details; I take them in, spread  them out for reflection.  It is a leisurely flow of reading and understanding, putting things together without effort.  When I put the book down, that meditative flow stays and rolls me right into sleep.

If I didn't read, I would remain awake for hours.

No comments: