Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Music of the Night

The things that happen while you're asleep.
It’s 3 a.m. and I’m up again, not because I have to go to the bathroom, although I will, but because of stress, minor aches and pains and a general lack of sleepiness.  Like my husband, I’ve been struck with insomnia, but unlike him, I usually initially fall asleep quickly only to wake up later to watch the clock tick off the hours. This night, though he is able to sleep.  Good on him.

It’s a chilly night, my favorite kind.  I dash to the bathroom and back, jump into bed where my spot is still warm, not waking anyone, including the dogs.  I’m not angry or frustrated this night.  I don’t have any appointments in the morning, so when I eventually do fall asleep, I won’t have to worry about the alarm clock jarring me awake.  I’m comfy and cozy, but not sleepy.

And so, I just lay there, listening.

There’s a period of time from around one or two a.m. to about four a.m. that’s deliciously devoid of human interference, the witching hour, so to speak.  When I’m in a writing bender, I love this time period because it’s like dead space where everything’s muffled and quiet, although I’m sure those young’uns out there in the clubs would beg to differ.  But, when I’m in bed, staring at the ceiling, it seems to be a completely different world.

First, because one of our dogs is an old guy, I always key into his breathing, just in case.  One never knows, although I’ve never been “fortunate” enough to have any of my dogs pass on in their natural sleep.  Uberhundus Maximus, as we’ve taken to calling him, has always had upper respiratory issues - allergies, sinus infections – so there’s usually a bit of a rasp to his breathing when he’s not completely congested.  It’s a good night for him.  He’s snoring lightly, regularly.  I can’t see him because he’s sleeping on the floor next to my husband, but I can picture his whiskers ever so slightly waving back and forth.  Then he makes “smacky lips,” one of my favorite sounds, the sound of relaxation and contentment.  I smile, knowing how much his life has changed since he joined our family over 12 years ago as a street dog.

My husband is also softly snoring in a pitch only slightly deeper.  He and the Uberhund are harmonizing.

“Mmmmmmm,” the middle dog groans as he shifts positions in his crate.

He’s our loose wire.  We call him The Rock Star because he always needs management, and yet when the slightest thing goes amiss, he immediately appeals to his people for assistance.  He likes to make his presence and condition known, hence the groaning whenever he shifts or adjusts even while he’s sleeping.  He gives a long sigh.

“Moof!  Moof!” 

The bed jiggles as The Wee One, who really isn’t such a wee dog at 65 pounds, is next to me, dreaming.  He’s the baby.  His paws move as if he’s trotting through the park (or woods or savannahs of Africa) and he suddenly spasms, his eyelids twitching, his head jerking back and forth.

“Grrrrrrrrr.  GRRRRRRRRR!”

It’s a bit unnerving hearing him growl while he’s sleeping because he never growls while he’s awake.  He’s our expert communicator, giving all the polite doggy signals so he never has to get to the growling stage.  But, when he’s sleeping, he’s a badass.  I don’t know what or who he’s taking on, but he does it with a great deal of gusto and his tail is wagging wildly.  He’s having a fabulous time.

By day, mild-mannered dog, by night, Cujo.
I try not to laugh and I move over a little to avoid his gnashing teeth.  He drops back into deep sleep.

Very faintly, I hear honking.  Canada geese.  I’ve left the skylight open, although the shades are closed.  The honking gets louder and closer.  I can hear the rush of wings and it’s almost like the geese are going to fly right through the room.  I’m tempted to wake my husband so he can experience it as well, but I know it’s not his thing and he’ll never be able to get to sleep afterwards.  The sound is exhilarating and I can’t help but think of Julie Andrews singing, “wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings, these are a few of my favorite things.”  I don’t even need to see it, and it’s still one of my favorite things.  The honking fades into the distance, probably going to the high school where the geese will hang out until the kids either chase them away or feed them sandwiches.

It’s quiet for a long while.  I’m not sure if it’s better or worse that digital clocks don’t tick.  When I was a kid and our family got a puppy, my dad said that wrapping a clock in a towel would remind the puppy of his mother’s beating heart.  He cried anyways and my sister climbed into the box and slept with him instead.  I press the button to start one of my “sleep inducing” cds.  It only plays for a couple seconds before I turn it off because it’s irritatingly electronic.

A dog barks in the distance.  It’s not a warning bark, like dogs do when they see a rat or squirrel.  It’s a bark of boredom, a plea for interaction, but it doesn’t last long.

“Mmmmmm,” the Rock Star groans.

My husband shifts and I hear the soft whispering sound of him ruffling the Uberhundus’ fur.  Uberhundus responds with smacky lips.
The Wee One readjusts so that he’s nestled between my husband and I, his head on the pillow, cold nose and hot breath on my neck.

To think, I’d miss all these things if I were sleeping.

1 comment:

  1. Another great post, Kou! You and I share the same witching hour but sadly I am usually grumbling because my daily morning appointments, ages 5 and 12, never cancel!


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