Where do you fall asleep?

I’m having one of those nights past 2AM when all the signs point to sleep, but nothing seems to settle.  As I close my eyes, my mind suddenly wanders to various mental images of moments right before I fall asleep, in quick, fleeting bursts.  It’s strange. It’s accompanied by a light-heartedness that comes nostalgia, a mixture of dull pain and weightlessness. The memories are vivid, united, I suppose, by the shared experience of awareness as you lay in bed, where your mind is finally emptied of any thoughts you had, and there is a clarity of the environment, free from judgment.

My first, is lying underneath a carefully tucked mosquito net at the Amazon field station, in a simple wooden bed with well-worn baby blue bedding, no longer caring about the bugs and spiders surely surrounding me. Then a hostel at Aguas Calientes when we arrived during a blackout, where I let the heavy darkness cradle me to sleep.  I didn’t even know what the bed, room, or town looked like until the next morning. My childhood home in Victoria, TX, underneath my blue leopard print comforter with a rough hole on the side — a reminder of the time I left a lamp on the ground on, and it burned through my comforter.  Then, back to Peru.  This time, the Cloud Forest, where, due to lack of available housing, some of us had to camp on a wooden platform.  The comfort of hearing the rain as I lay there, and the sounds of other researchers rustling in their tents. Camping in that same tent on Ausangate, where the freezing cold temperature and pitch-black night made me feel isolated and connected to the environment at the same time. Seeing the Milky Way before I climbed into my tent left a visual imprint in my mind as I fell asleep, mummy sleeping bag cinched tightly around my head. Then, finally, back to the present, snuggling into an incredibly soft throw on my couch, feeling sore from the day, wanderlust, and all kinds of inspired.

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  • "To those who stay put, the world is but an imaginary place. But to the movers, the makers, the shakers, the world is all around them, an endless invitation."
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