He rested for what he believed to be two hours. The moon did not rise now until late and he had no way of judging the time. Nor was he really resting except comparatively. He was still bearing the pull of the fish across his shoulders but he placed his left hand on the gunwale of the bow and confided more and more of the resistance to the fish to the skiff itself.
How simple it would be if I could make the line fast, he thought. But with one small lurch he could break it. I must cushion the pull of the line with my body and at all times be ready to give line with both hands.
"But you have not slept yet, old man," he said aloud. "It is half a day and a night and now another day and you have not slept. You must devise a way so that you sleep a little if he is quiet and steady. If you do not sleep you might become unclear in the head."
I'm clear enough in the head, he thought. Too clear. I am as clear as the stars that are my brothers. Still I must sleep. They sleep and the moon and the sun sleep and even the ocean sleeps sometimes on certain days when there is no current and a flat calm.
Rest and sleep are important, for the entire universe. If land doesn't rest between crops, it can't be farmed. If trees don't rest in winter, they won't blossom and bloom come spring. Everything needs time to rest, from the fish of the sea to old men in boats.
I returned to work this morning after having four days off. Granted. all of those days weren't full of rest and sleep. Three days of blizzard winds and snow made that sort of impossible. Yet, I felt invigorated when I walked into my office at 7:45 a.m. today. Ready to take on the tasks I had already planned out in my head. And I pretty much left work this afternoon with my to-do list all to-done.
Yesterday evening, my wife and I watched a Christmas rom-com movie on HBO Max. (A Hollywood Christmas--its description sounds like a Hallmark movie, but I found it smart and funny and moving. Give it a shot.) I didn't have the usual sense of dread that descends on me when going back to the office after some days of vacation. My wife and I had a great time just being with each other, and I felt relaxed and in-control.
I have never been a great rester or sleeper. The pattern of my days, since I was young, has always been late nights and early mornings. Recently, I have fallen into the habit of zonking out on the couch for a few hours and then waking up at two or three in the morning. Sometimes I'm able to crawl into bed and fall back asleep. Other times, I lay in the dark, waiting for the alarm clock to go off. Like I said, sleep and I have never really been friends.
Maybe the reason I felt so good this morning is that I allowed myself just to chill all day yesterday. If I felt myself getting anxious, I picked up my journal and wrote nonsense, turned on another Christmas movie, or read a book. So, even if I wasn't actually sleeping, I was doing something mindless and enjoyable. No schoolwork. No library work. Just empty distraction.
Now, I'm not sure I'll be able to maintain this relaxed state, as it runs pretty much counter to my entire personality. However, for the time being, I'm resting and sleeping, like the stars and moon during the daytime. Like the flat calm ocean. Like Santa Claus on December 25th.
Saint Marty may even watch another Hallmarky Christmas movie tonight.
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