The Elusion of Sleep

I’ve been awake since shortly after 2 a.m., courtesy (I assume) of food that did not agree with me. It’s nearing 3 a.m. now and I’m laying odds against the likelihood that I’ll be able to get back to sleep. Odds are pretty high I won’t be able to sleep if I keep typing. Maybe I won’t type long.

When I woke up, I could not breathe through my nose; not a bit. That has improved during the last 45 minutes or so, but I think I’d pass out from oxygen starvation if I were to depend entirely on breathing through my nose; my mouth serves another purpose besides food processing and speech. I don’t know why my body seems so intent on demonstrating that it controls my physical comfort; or, I should say, discomfort.

A few hours ago, I finished watching the third and final season of Wanted, an Australian television drama series. I won’t go into the plot, mostly because it is utterly improbable, but I will say it is action-packed, mindless entertainment. And I like one of the two main leads, Rebecca Gibney, a New Zealand native who, along with her husband, created the series. One of the aspects of the series I liked most was the fact that I was able to sit and watch it without thinking. It required no effort on my part. None whatsoever. In that sense, it was a little like settling in with a little whiskey or wine or a mind-numbing pill. Just sit and let someone else take control of your mind for a while; yeah, that’s it. But when the action became a little too absurdly improbable, I was able to take a break, stretch, and notice that every joint in my body aches from, presumably, arthritis.  Who knew mindless Australian television would accentuate evidence of one’s advanced age?

I took a break from writing. I listened to my church’s Insight service, in which a member of the church read Brother Eagle, Sister Sky, the story of Chief Seattle’s speech to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs in response to Washington’s desire to buy the land where Chief Seattle’s people lived. It’s a moving story, and it is a story about which all of us whose lives are based on imperialist expansion should be ashamed. We cannot change the past, but with sufficient will, we can change the future and make inroads toward redemption. But I doubt we will; this morning, I doubt we have the collective will to repair the damage our cultures have wrought over centuries.

Sleep often eludes me. That is punishment, I guess, for the thoughts that travel through my head during my waking hours. When I want to leave those thoughts and rest, the universe chastises me by forcing those very thoughts to sear into my brain like a hot branding iron. The elusion of sleep. Until arguing with WordPress that “elusion” is, indeed, a legitimate word, I did not realize it truly was. Elusion versus illusion. Their sounds are too close for comfort. Sleep is an illusion, too. It is a hologram of wakefulness.

Maybe I will try again to sleep. My stomach seems to have calmed a bit, so perhaps I can rest. I will try.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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