On yet another night of sleeplessness I decided it was high time I found out where the whole – count sheep and fall asleep – idea originated. Which, oddly, led me to the discovery of Goats Parkour and the fact that sea otters love to eat sea urchin, which, as facts go, is kind of interesting, particularly at 3am and, anyway, who doesn’t love sea otters?
While googling – “the origins of counting sheep” I learned that this was something shepherds did before going to sleep in Medieval times, but a 12th century fable refers to counting sheep in the Middle East, suggesting this has been going on for awhile now. The article then ends with this sobering thought,
“Origins aside, the practice is an awful sleeping aid.”
Which, I have to admit, kind of took the wind out of my sails. The final sobering sentence of the piece speculated, “Maybe that’s why Don Quixote preferred goats.” Which took me to this… I know, I know…
Watching this last YouTube video made me reconsider my whole, I’ll-start-exercising-again-once-this-whole-pandemic-is-behind-us thinking and so I got up and did some exercises. All of this was done before 4am and I’d just like to interject that New York City, despite the pandemic, is busy at 4am. I know this because I see all the lights on in buildings viewed from our living room windows, but I digress and anyway, my point being that you can cram a LOT of things into the early morning hours if you’re strategic about it.
While exercising, my mind immediately leapt to otters, because that’s where the mind goes at 3:30am while exercising in a semi-dark living room in Manhattan. That’s when I discovered the first video I posted, thus ending my short-lived-newly-discovered-exercise-routine, which, okay, you really can’t call it a “routine” when you do it only once, even though your intention is to do it daily, but never mind.
So then I began designing a new project, which turned into TWO new projects, because that’s the way I think – if one is good, two will be even better and anyway it’s not even 5am – the first features an otter and some sea urchins, and the second features mandalas, because otters can only be upstaged by mandalas in my opinion, though otters AND sea urchins are a hard act to follow. Still, undaunted, I plunged onward.
I also decided that I would video tape the makings of both projects, so that I will have, not just written instructions, but videos as well. By the way if you have any interest in either project please take the poll I embedded in yesterday’s tutorial, I would love your opinion.
All of this brings me back, full circle, to sleeplessness… I have no answers, though I read that counting your breath, as opposed to sheep, can be helpful, but then, when would I find the time to get all the things I want to do, done?! That was rhetorical.
I planned on talking about sleeplessness and that feeling of waiting for sleep to return at 3am only to find that hours have drifted by and not being sure whether you’ve actually been awake the whole time or staring at the ceiling in the early hours of a new day was a bad dream. I promise the whole thing was going to be a lot funnier than how that just sounded. No, really. But then my mother sent me an article that took precedence.
My mother sends me the most wonderful photos, articles, videos, audio files and other uplifting tidbits. Her latest find is from the floral designer Lewis Miller who is responsible for doing “Flower Flash” a creative take on “flash mobs” from a few years back when suddenly you’re walking along and everyone around you breaks into a synchronized, highly choreographed dance for a few minutes before fading back into the daily bustle of life.
“What initially began as an LMD experiment to reinvigorate and reconnect us to our craft, turned into a beautiful shared experience in a city of millions. The Flower Flash is our gift to New Yorkers. We began in October 2016. Our goal is to create a positive, emotional response through flowers. Seeing people’s reactions to our Flower Flashes emphasizes the basic goodness in all people and prioritizes compassion and the need for LMD x NYC to carry on.”
Since the pandemic struck, Lewis Miller has continued enchanting New York City with his floral designs, randomly picking spots throughout the city to work his magic.
How fabulous are these?
Sleeplessness will have to wait until next week. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll sleep, I promise.
I’m not sleeping much these days. The up-side is I’m getting a ton of stuff done. Also, photographs of empty New York City streets, though eerie, have a certain grace to them. I only venture out every few days, but when I do, I’m struck by the same things: the exquisite beauty of New York City, the increasing number of people wearing face masks, the amount of space people are keeping between themselves and others, and the absence of noise.
Someone on social media posted an image like this one, with the caption (I’m paraphrasing) – Remember these? They’d be good to have right about now.
Every morning I go over the things I’m grateful for. It’s a routine at this point, something I’ve been doing for more years than I can count. Only now my list has increased exponentially. Things I once so took for granted as to not even make the list, are now at the top, among them are: electricity, food in our refrigerator, my husband’s breathing next to me during these early morning hours when I cannot sleep, but keep hoping I will be able to, the sound of sea gulls calling to each other, a friend texting or calling to check in, the little snoring noise our cat, Merlin makes when he’s curled up next to my head at night, knowing we have enough toilet paper for the next week, who knew that would ever make the list!? All the people in my life whom I love. The list is long. I’m so grateful.
Gratitude and fear are not easy companions. The fear may still be there, but its power is greatly diminished. The other day my husband and I were discussing fear and how insidious it is. He reminded me, “Courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s going through it.” Here’s to courage, and noticing those thousands of moments of joy and beauty in every given day.
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