Sighing, I relax my body again, arms and legs going soft and slack like wet noodles. I lower my jaw and open my mouth wide to let a yawn escape my lungs, taking a full swallow of the dark morning air; a surge of sleepy breath quickly follows. I turn my head to the side and back again, testing my neck muscles. My eyelids are heavy, reluctant. I open and shut them slowly, again and again, letting them drop their heaviness one lead weight at a time. There is no hurry to wake up.
I lay back and pull the covers up close to my chin. I curl and uncurl my toes slowly. I feel the cool air tickle the insides of my nostrils as I pull it in; my chest and belly fill in response. I release those breaths I dreamed on, letting them go, feeling loose and deflated. The weights on my eyelids begin to release and I continue to open and shut them, testing their lightness.
I do not know how long I have been sleeping.
I am waking up. For a time, I felt as though I were pulled under, as though sleep loomed over me and at last swallowed me whole. The shades of indigo that held me in the night are fading, lightening imperceptibly to the color of a robin's egg. Sleep still clings to me, having settled into my bones in the night; I am beginning to inch toward waking as the iron weights around my ankles dissolve in the morning hour. Soon I will move freely again.
I will continue to yawn and stretch and test the weight of my eyelids. I will continue to breathe slowly, deliberately. I will curl and uncurl my toes and rotate my ankles. I will lengthen my arms and legs and savor the release of stiff, sleep-locked joints. I will feel blood moving to my face and fingertips and toes in a slow fizz. I will take gulping lungs full of air and feel my belly inflate. I will hold it and let the air go one breath at a time. I will do it over and over again.
The moment will come when I pull the sheets down, squeeze my abdominal muscles and sit up, swinging my legs over the side of the bed. I will rise and stand, prepare myself to join a world awake and moving. When the sleep is deep and still, waking cannot be rushed.
I am waking up.
waking up photo by kirsten.michelle