Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sleep walking

The past few weeks have found me waking up at intervals during the wee hours of the morning. I'm not getting nearly enough sleep and as a result, have probably been walking in my sleep during the day. At 4:00 am there is not much to do but stare at the shadows in the bedroom. If you turn on the lights to read it is an admission that you have given up on the idea of sleeping. Watching tv is out, though is the idiot box is a well known sleep aid to thousands who fall off during the soporific programming, scientists say that this is not restful sleep. Maybe it as my former boss says, an absence of a heavy, hairy thigh thrown across, whatever, it's not unusual, I've been here before.

Giving up the ghost at around 5:30 the dog found himself being fed and walked. The sky is light, not quite blue, with streaky white cirrus clouds dotting here and there, and though the sun must be up, it has yet to put in an appearance over here, the heat absent for now. In the gap between the houses, the parched, grizzled swath that runs all along the ridge and down the sides of the facing hills is a baleful reminder of the bush fires, set by some uncaring human hand and re-lit after the fire engines have disappeared. Even the birds are still asleep, just the resident corbeaux, lazily circling, his version of a morning stretch.

There is a part of me that wants to crawl back into the sheets and I marvel at my grandmother and uncles who, when I was a child, used to get up at quarter to five every morning to collect the bread from the bakery and take in the newspapers in readiness for the forestry workers who would appear on our doorstep at 5:30 am on their way to work. Bread and cheese, maybe a cake left over from last night's sales, sweet tea or even at that hour, a Big Red to prepare them for their day's labour. A little later the first morning shift of nurses would also be heading up the hill. Cheerful women in white, they too would pass through, newspapers or something forgotten in the rush of leaving home. Later still, as some of us began getting ready for school, those going off to work, all clamoring for bathroom and our slice of breakfast, made in-between the crowds, we too operated our own shift system. Off we'd disappear leaving Granny and her help to run things until we got back.

The quiet outside is lovely, very few people are up yet; my neighbour appears at his back door, he, like me in night clothes, a casual wave as Sandy, his boisterous puppy, happily snarfs down her brekkies. Hound whines piteously, he really wants to play but he knows, Sunday morning is for sleeping not yapping with her. The dark green leaves of the avocado tree obscures him from view but I know he is smiling at my happy robe, it is so unlike me you see. Yanking on the leash, hound is retrieved, maybe I can hunker down for another few hours. The sun is climbing now, the reflection bouncing off the condo windows facing the front porch. From up here, I can barely see the sea over the clay tiled or aluzinc roofs. It is enough though, that little piece of horizon. No coffee this morning, not yet anyway. I still have not given up on the idea that I may snatch a few winks.

I briefly contemplate opening up the front doors and sitting on the porch while it is cool and private enough to do so. This is an old house, the porch wraps across the whole front but alas, it barely used because of the proximity to the road. Usually, the heat, dust and exhaust fumes are off putting, but truly, when the breeze blows and the shadows get long enough to hide in, it a a nice place to sit and contemplate your toes. Hound loves it, out there he is master of all he surveys. Too late, the downstairs neighbour is out puttering around his car. A sure sign that I should attempt bed again.

Wish me luck.

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