February 20, 2011

The Necessity of Sleep

Alright. I'll admit it. I've missed some sunrises this week. Now that the days are getting longer and longer and the sun is rising earlier and earlier, I've started losing more and more sleep in order to keep posting these day by day sunrise blogs. I've reached a point where the sleep I'm losing is beginning to interfere with my mental and physical wellness. It might surprise some of you to hear that playing a brass instrument is not only mentally demanding, but also highly physical. To perform effectively and avoid injury, (to which trumpet players here seem especially prone), the body must be kept limber and hydrated and muscles must be allowed to fully recuperate in between days of heavy playing.

Most of the body's rest and repair happens during an ideal eight hours of nightly sleep, and there are consequences when that time is shortened or disrupted. My spirit is fueled each time I'm able to witness a beautiful sunrise, but though a regularly rejuvenated spirit is important too wellness too, when the rest of me is struggling with the consequences of sleep deprivation--lack of energy, difficulty focusing, moodiness, etc.--even a spectacular sunrise can fall flat.

So--I've decided that rather than a daily sunrise, I'll return to my habit of posting occasional sunrises (whenever I'm lucky enough to be up and about when they occur) along with whatever other moments of loveliness I encounter throughout the day. Now that spring is approaching, there are sure to be lots of other things I can share with you!

Getting up every day to watch the sun brighten the world turned out to be the best thing I could have done to get me through the worst winter months. I've never enjoyed winter, and before moving to Evanston dreaded having to stand up to the notoriously blustery Chicago cold. I worried I'd be in danger of losing my mind and asked everyone I could about how to survive the harshness of the season. Thinking back over the last couple months, I now feel I've triumphed--I actually enjoyed myself this winter--I don't even think I would've minded too much if the below-zero temps had stuck around another few weeks--just think of all the crazy ice formations I'd continue to run into!

No, winter is not yet over, but signs of an impending spring are increasing every day. The lake is almost entirely free of floating ice chunks, and rain is more common in the forecast than snow. Brilliant red cardinals have begun belting out mating calls from the tops of medium-sized trees (it's funny--I never see them in enormous oaks or willows, but always perched atop the very highest branches of varieties that top out at 15-20 feet), and mid-day sunlight has taken on a decidedly golden caste--as opposed to the cold silvery hue it exhibits in the dead of winter.

As a sort of "sunrise" today, I want to share a poem my dad sent me in a recent email. It's from a song by 60's folk singer Melanie Safka:

Why sleep when the day has been called out by the sun
From the night 'cause the light's gonna shine on everyone?
Why sleep when the sleep only closes up our eyes?
Why sleep when we can watch the sun arise?

We were meant to see the beginning of the day,
I believe it was planned to lift us this way.
Take you an apple and take you a song
And watch a baby day be born...

Thanks Dad


  1. Great to talk to you this eve. Love you!

  2. Wow Kelly, I love this post. It was meant for me today on so many levels. Ironically, I am reading it because I am skipping the afternoon nap I usually take. But it was definitely worth it for me. You know, I think you observe and see more than anyone I know. Even a few missed sunrises, and I know you will still be showing all of us things we would never see without you. Thanks for always showing me something new.