The tiny alarm clock drop-kicks me into wakefulness. 7 AM.  Saturday.

“You think, in your head that you make sense right now, but really, you have no idea.”  My sister’s wisdom tumbleweeds through the vacuum left by  black-out sleep.  Eyes closed I pry the batteries from the alarm clock springs.  No sneak attack from the snooze button.

According to The National Sleep Foundation two factors make up our sleep needs: our basal sleep need is the average daily amount of sleep we need to be happy, healthy and well. Our sleep debt is just that, the accumulation of sleep not had. As if sleep hours are fireflies spread across a night field with no body to collect them.   Each night they commune, they gather, they multiply untamed until night is so bright its one endless, sleepless day.  A trans-Atlantic flight. You are free to move about the cabin.

11 AM, late morning light meanders into the room and crawls into bed with me.  Palms pressed againt headboard, my toes find mattress edge. Back reaching skyward my body whispers and pops with new movement.  A sigh, a heave and I’m upright.

11 hours of sleep.  ELEVEN hours. Do you know what eleven hours feels like?  I dance with joy – do the shimmy-shake of successful slumber.

Ladies and gentlemen, I had hit burnout. I had hit it hard and I had no idea. 3 moths of straight work, 13 flights (6 international), a zillion students,  one (amazing) whirlwind solo-trip, a house moving, and a grandfather passing later – I arrived in DC a week ago. A walking mass of human needs and confounded mental processes.  At work I stared at screens unable to process receipts, or even effectually field emails.  Social engagements were kept short and with the sympathetic.

And so….this weekend…..I slept.  and slept.  and slept.  I woke up,  weeded the  garden, went on a walk and went back to sleep.  I tried a new recipe, watched a movie, talked to my roommates and went back to sleep. In two nights, I clocked over 22 hours of sleep.  That’s a FULL DAY of sleep.  Good sleep. Deep, dark, drag-down, knock-out, if-sleeping-were-a-sport-I-just-bagged-the-gold-medal kind of sleep.

I have reclaimed logic from the lost luggage lounge.  Dug reasoning and stability out of the backpack pouch meant for keeping wallets safe. I unpacked my clothing and found a sense of balance. For the first time in months it feels like all my parts are on one continent.

I caught me some real pretty fireflies.

 

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