Saturday, January 10, 2004

Nap Rhapsody

The girls -- by which I mean my wife and now eighteen-month-old daughter -- sleep for an hour in the afternoons, sometimes more if it is quiet. Though most workdays I miss it (and though most days are workdays), in the rare lazy day of stayathome this affords an unusual phenomenon: a long moment, midday, of total home ownership, as long as one is relatively quiet.

Though I am grateful for the grace, it feels weird to have this time. But it's not the feeling that's so rare or blogworthy. It's the daylight.

Nocturnal insomnia runs in my family. As a child required to turn lights off at ten, I read books secretively, on the carpet in the open doorway's crack of hallway light, unable to fall alseep until it ended and I had finished inhabiting it's world. To this day my father in his study reads, and works on lawyering until two, sometimes later.

I think we all needed that time for a similar and private purpose, too. My siblings and I, like my father before us, never interacted much in those hours. We sat in our rooms, and considered the occasional noises of our family comforting ghosts on the other side of walls. On rare visits home, today, the dynamic still holds: if my sister's visiting, and is watching television first when the house starts to get dark, then I find something else to do naturally, without thinking about it. But I check back occasionally, and if she's gone I'll take my turn.

The need to be up, to take that time and silence, to sit peaceful in the universe, and inhabit it entirely for a while; to center oneself and be that center, matters little whether I've has three or nine hours of sleep the night before. Though I may be tired after a full-steam day, one begun in the pre-sunrise of six o'clock, even now it's exceptional for me to snuggle down into the communal bed pre-midnight.

I've never lived alone, and never wanted to; when I'm home alone I wander unfocused and slightly anxious. There's something essential to this process in the security of the sleeping family, and true aloneness would be limiting, I think.

But I find that darkness serves this total impression far better. In the illuminated home, exterior dark, the windows reflect the interior world, making it entire. The outside world becomes an absence, like the theoretical stuff just beyond the edge of the universe.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:22 PM |

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