29 March 2008

waking up

As I turn over in my bed, I silently thank God for the darkness of the predawn and for the shroud of warmth my red flannel sheets provide; they are a loose midnight skin. I stretch my limbs until they are long and stiff, imagining invisible hands gripping my wrists and ankles and pulling, leaning away with the full weight of a body. I arch my back, attempting to increase my length another inch. I hear the pop and feel the release of air from my joints; I press my heels out and hear them crack.

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


  1. Thanks for bravely blogging and offering your journeying heart! I’ve tagged your blog for an “Excellent Blog” Award !
    Peace, Suz!
    My Blog: Made for Joy

  2. [whispering] good morning, dear friend. good morning...

  3. well, here's a nice steaming cup of coffee to help you make the transition from your warm bed...and to maybe dispel a little of the fog in your mind. i've been a little sleepy myself these days. maybe we can sip on this together for a while. bless you sister.

  4. mornin' sunshine! streeetch on

  5. what a gorgeous piece of writing, friend! very nicely done. i felt every description you gave. and, i was glad to learn that you, too, pop your ankles in the morning! kirk has no idea how i do that, but i keep telling him to trust me -- it feels SO GOOD! :)

    this read a bit like a writing exercise. i can just see you sitting in a class taught by our favorite anne lamott, or even julia cameron, and you're completing the task of writing in-the-moment, your chosen moment being that of waking up.

    i think there's a metaphor going on here, too.

    well, kirk and i fly home today. it may take a little bit to get life back to normal, but i couldn't resist checking in on my kirsten-friend. love you, girl, and miss you.

  6. Kirsten
    One of my favorite hobbies is sleeping so this is a dangerous post, i am at work, still it made me want to hop back in bed and pull the comforter over my head and take a long nap. It is a really nasty rainy day here so it would be a perfect day for a nap.

    Guess i could tell David not to play with the stove, disturb the neighbors or call 911 and go hop in bed. That sounds like a great fairytale, I would probably wake up to find one half of the house missing where David blew it up.
    Love ya, missing ya.

  7. A good post since my weekend hobby and talent is napping. I have that perfected. That chore never gets undone. It is the other stuff that I neglect and would be evident to any trespasser. Just would need 48 hour notice to hide or discard the evidence,

    Glad that you are emerging and are becoming one with the world again. Now am off to a little r and r. Have good fun in the moment as well.

  8. suz - i'm honored, thank you!!

    l.l. - good morning to you, friend. it's good to be awake.

    terri - i would really like it if we could sip on this together [provided the snow doesn't stymie our plans]. ;o) there has been a lot of sleepiness going around.

    di - mornin' to you, friend!

    christianne - thank you, my former editor friend! i love that ankle-popping feeling in the morning. it feels so stinkin' good! and you're absolutely correct, girl. this is little dittie is dripping with metaphor.

    tammy - no sleeping on the job, girl! especially if david is running loose with flammables nearby!! missing you too, girl.

    scott - i'm jealous of your napping talent. never really had that myself!

    sarah - streeetch!! good morning' ...

  9. Sometimes I think I'll spend my entire life waking up. Good post.

  10. Wow, what a difference between when a poet wakes up and when I wake up. When I wake up It has a lot of grunting and groaning, the realization that whatever I ate for dinner last night has left a nice halitosis in the air and that my wife has turned away in horror as she sleeps.

    Life is good, and I love sleep. Thanks for waxing poetically about an experience we all have every 24 hours of this fair and shared life we lead.

  11. Ha Ha Kirsten that made me laugh out loud.

  12. My dad used to throw open the blinds, clap his hands, and sing, "Up and At 'Em!"
    I taught my niece to have my mom put on coffee before she woke me when we were all together at my parents' house.
    I like the second approach much better. When I have kids, I'm teaching them to make coffee young.

  13. mark - it sure does feel that way sometimes, doesn't it? thanks for stopping by.

    carl - oh dear, that does sound quite different! if it's any consolation, i'm pretty sure my breath in the morning is NOT minty fresh. luckily there's no one there to complain! ;o)

    tammy - yeah, just keep an eye on that david guy!!

    heather - i LOVE your plan. when you have kids, do you think you could get them to make coffee for me, too? :o) thanks for visiting!

  14. Go gently.
    Stretch fully.
    Breathe deeply.
    Wake up slowly.
    And welcome to your life, welcome home.

  15. oooooh stretch...
    yep, it is nice to wake up slowly sometimes.

  16. I long for similar mornings, they are so far and few between. You have a great gift for turning something that can seem so trivial into something to be cherrished and soaked up. I'm glad that I happened upon this. I came acroos your blog while writing back in forth with Dean from South Africa. It's been an adveture reading a number of these. Thank you.
    Be Blessed

  17. bella - thank you. i think back to your posts about yoga & stretching & lengthening ... how good it is for the body, how it is work, but how it feel good too. waking slowly ...

    nancy - it would be nice to wake up this slowly every day, to kick the alarm clocks to the curb!

    caleb - hello, & welcome! i just came back from visiting your blog & i've already decided we're going to get along just fine. i look forward to seeing you around some more!

  18. Caleb was right. You're a gifted writer. I can't wait to read more! What a blessing it is to be on the journey together!!

  19. And also, . . . love the cummings poem. Thanks for bringing it to my awareness again.

  20. Allrighty now. Up an' at 'em. ;-)

  21. wow k;

    i just woke up on a few hrs sleep and i suddenly feel the bed pulling me back . . .

    wonderful writing and word pictures

  22. beautifully written metaphor. kirsten.

    i'm slowly getting there, too. can't wait to read what all the awakening inspires.....