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The perfect science of napping

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

I am so all about the post-breakfast power nap.

Here’s the routine: 5am wakeup bell, zazen, kinhin, zazen, service, cleanup, breakfast, NAP! The nap can be up to twenty minutes, or as few as seven or ten if I’m in a rush. But that’s all—no longer, or else I feel groggy and am back to square one. When the alarm goes off I bounce out of bed and grab a shower and a coffee. I feel fresh and clear, and the burst of energy can motor me through the rest my day.

I think the trick is to totally commit to the nap. No feeble half-measures. I take off my clothes, arrange my bed, take a sip of water, set the alarm. I make sure my feet are warm. The moment when I climb in and hug my pillow is pure luxury. My skin gently tingles and my limbs relax. There is none of that agitated wakefulness I sometimes suffer when I go to bed at night. Naptime feels delicious, and, after a 5am start, well-deserved.

Knowing that I only have a few minutes to nap, there is no time for me to fool around. If I begin to fantasize or ruminate or plan, I yank my mind back to the task at hand—sleep. I am gentle but firm: down, mind, down— now! And down I go. I almost always plummet straight into deep sleep. I believe it is that drop—the sensation of  complete release—that really matters. I might only sleep for thirty seconds before my alarm or a car horn wakes me up, but that’s enough. It doesn’t matter how long I sleep. What matters is that I have that one moment of surrender, when body and mind fall away and I swing like a baby in a cradle. That’s the juice.

The power-nap is conducive to pleasant little micro-dreams. The other day I fell into dreaming that I was petting a shaggy dog. But because the duration is so short, dreams don’t develop into narrative. They exist as pure sensation and I am not jarred or left hanging by their abrupt end.

I must confess that I used to be kind of a snob about napping. I thought naps were just for toddlers and old people. Well, I’ve totally come around now—or maybe i’m just getting to be an old person. Not sure. In any case,  I have become a nap evangelist. Napping is my new most favorite thing.

Swimming with crocodiles

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

img_20161212_105438Machito, a local fisherman, met me at the little thatch-roofed visitors hut in San Crisanto – a ramshackle itty bitty village on the long sandspit between the lagoon and the wide Gulf of Mexico. He rolled up on his bike, with a second bike in tow for me. I droppedmy beach bag and water bottle into his basket and we bounced down the sandy path to the boat launch, followed by two mexican women in a car who were also along for the 50-peso tour of los manglares.

Machito ferried us through the mangrove forest’s clear streams, pointing out trees and termite nests and giant ferns and fishes. After a dreamy half hour we docked at the cenote and I climbed down into the cool clear water, to swim with the giant tarpon fish that washed into the cenote during the hurricane of 2004, and got trapped there and bred. I asked Machito if it was OK to swim into the mangrove stream and he said sure, just try not to touch bottom and stir up the silt. I drifted through the clear shallow stream through schools of pretty little fish. No hay cocodrillos? I called. He laughed. (more…)

Thanksgiving Dinner

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

thanksgiving-turkeyThanksgiving dinner was potatoes, omelet, and kale.

Potatoes rough and fragrant from the now-sleeping beds, boiled, fried in butter, with pepper and salt. Eggs gathered in a basket from the United Nations of chickens, green and tan, blue and pink, freckled, and brown. Folded with onions braided onto a string. A few cherry tomatoes, wet and burst from the rain. And cheese, melted, inside.

Also kale dark and ferrous, with red russian veins.

Dessert was a cookie—bought, not home-grown. Baked and sold at Friday market by my neighbour, Joy. With spices and cinnamon, pecans and seeds.

I dined alone, on the misty blufftop, to the sound of the waves.

For this.

I give thanks.

 

 

The perfume of fear

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

1054326558_ultsdamselA woman in a red bikini drifts toward the sandbar on a grey inflatable dinghy. The lagoon at low tide a playland of clam-diggers, happy dogs, and children with float toys. Bikini lady is shrieking at the top of her lungs: noooooo!!! I’m SCARED!  help me help me help me! Laughter mixed with shrill mock-terror. No really i’m serious hee hee hee ha eeeeeeeeeee i’m scaaaaared HELP ME! The men on the beach turn follow the seductive waft—the smell of a damsel in distress. (more…)

How serious is serious?

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo I just got back from this wonderful road trip with my, uh, guyfriend. To visit his mom. In California.

I say this, and people give me this peculiar piercing look. Then they ask me, is it serious?  And I am flummoxed. I mean, what is serious? Liver cancer is serious. Babies are serious. Anything involving lawyers is serious. But love—how serious is that? (more…)

Living the semi-wired life

Sunday, May 17th, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUnwiredness is one of the luxuries of life in my green schoolbus on the bluff. No wifi, no smart phone, no wires. I have a battery-operated radio but the reception is crap. When I want to hook up I carry my computer down the cliff trail and along the ocean boardwalk to the farmhouse. It is only a 5-minute commute, but that distance makes all the difference in the world.

I climb down the cliff and sit myself down here under the patio umbrella, log on, send off my queued emails, download my mail and maybe a podcast or two for later listening. Check my twitter feeds and analytics, and the Tideline for island gossip and news. Do a little blogging, send and receive a few graphic files. Log out, feed the chickens, pick some kale. Then climb back up to my bus on the bluff, to work and practice and play. (more…)

Mothers Day post-partum

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

non-moms banner3 sizedWhew [mops brow]! I’ve just delivered a whompin’ 10-megabyte blog. This baby’s been at least five years in the belly so, it’s about frikin time. Gonna get some sleep now. Happy Mothers and Non-Mothers day everybody!

Check it: Non-Moms.com.

I live for library day

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

libraryThe new library at Linnaea Farm is the joy of my week. In the summer i’d ride around the lake to the farm, stopping at the produce stand for blueberries or peaches. I would choose a book from the library, then wander down the trail to the huge fallen log, strip off my clothes, and dive into Gunflint Lake. And then I would lie naked on the smooth old log among the bullrushes, reading my book and eating blueberries, or dozing in the sun to the sound of blackbirds and giant dragonflies. Careful not to drop the book in the lake. (more…)


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