Sunday, February 20, 2011

Winter Light

There is something profoundly sad about the winter. Obviously, it’s colder, drearier, and has fewer hours of sunlight than the summer months. But even the sunlight itself seems sadder. Of course, it’s not as bright due to the Earth’s position, but this time of year is just sad all around, at least for me.

One of my favorite “luxuries” is to nap on my days off. I only sleep about 20 minutes or so, but I do it more for the relaxation and meditation benefits. Sometimes I don’t sleep so much as teeter on the edge of sleep, lying in that wakeful dreaming state where even my thoughts feel like dreams, though I’m not exactly dreaming.

During the winter, I nap in the sunlight. Lucky for me, the sun shines right on my bedroom pillows in the late afternoon. So, like my cat, I curl up under the blanket and doze in the sunshine. It reminds me of bright, warm days and the promise of spring to come. Plus, I once read an article on napping, and the author suggested sleeping in a lighted space so that your body won’t get confused and think it is nighttime, which could potentially ruin your chances of being able to sleep come bedtime.

While I love these winter cat naps, it is also a time when I most miss all that I have lost—my father, my grandparents, my grandmother’s house which was one of my favorite places to be growing up. And something about a winter’s afternoon nap always reminds me of her house—maybe it’s that quiet time of day when afternoon melts into evening and the smell of dinner lingers in the air.

The afternoon sun is brightest in my bedroom at about 3:30. So that’s about the time I usually lay down. By the time I’m ready to get up again, it’s an hour later, and the sun is sinking behind the houses across the street, making what is left of the daylight seem even sadder. When I awake, I usually just lay there, looking out the window at the setting sun, remembering my grandmother’s house, my grandparents, my father, and my favorite childhood memories, all of which are intertwined. It’s not until the sun has disappeared behind the houses completely that I get up and continue into my evening.

Though I tend to feel a little sadder after these naps, I also feel a little closer to those who have gone on before me, even if it’s only because I have spent some time with them in my mind. It’s my special time to spend with them. I am truly grateful for having had each of them in my life and my life is better for having known them.

Until I meet them again someday…

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