I can tell the first night of a true norther by the hand-tuned chimes near my bedroom window. Most of the year, they are faint and fairy-like. But as cold fronts push winter our way, life quickens. The chimes become less background noise and more call-to-action, another reminder of why I don’t sleep in December. An entire month of excitement is just too much.
Another year has passed. Everywhere I look, I see things I have yet to finish. Three weeks of anticipation and dread loom before me. There are holiday parties and family gatherings to look forward to. Shopping trips to dread. And dozens of things I should have never agreed to.
I start every December morning with a cup of coffee, a quiet place and my journal. I reflect. I give thanks and give myself permission to just be. By bedtime, I am wishing for at least three more hours.
I climb into bed and pray for sleep. Instead, my brain begins its December litany: ruminations of things I forgot to do yesterday; phone calls I must make tomorrow and what I am going to cook for New Year’s Day.
I was in this stage of not sleeping last night when the chimes were whipped into a frenzy. The north wind blew so hard the gusts set off every motion-detecting light in the alley. I had just made peace with these distractions, when a neighbor’s trash can lid began flapping in the breeze. It sounded like an 8-year-old boy playing the bongos. I could focus on nothing else.
I crawled out of bed and stumbled like a zombie. through my backyard and into the cold alley. As I searched for the noise, I hoped my neighbors’ security cameras missed my appearance in a Mickey Mouse nightgown. I was sure that when I returned to bed my husband would be awake and concerned. He was not. But the warmth of the comforter overpowered my disappointment and within minutes, I was asleep.
This morning when I opened the refrigerator to get cream for my coffee, there was Elfiana (my granddaughter’s elf). Each December Elfiana is frantic with things to accomplish at night and ways to remain unseen by day. Today she looked just like I felt. She, too, must have spent the night looking for a cool and quiet place.
What keeps you awake at night? And if you’re sleeping through December, please tell me how you do it.