Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Why, you ask, is this sleeping princess adorning a Turn Outward post? Because sleep is on my mind, and I had no desire to go looking for a not-too-cute image of sleeping critters. I love this beauty in all her finery, and the lure of sleep this time of year is as powerful for palace-dwelling humans as it is for the inhabitants of the woods.
It's hibernation time, and I'm missing the creatures of summer. A few weeks ago I saw a pretty box turtle who was hanging out at the base of a tree. It was a rainy day, and he was nestled under a mushroom that was easily three times his size. I immediately felt sad when I saw him, because somehow I knew he would be my last turtle friend of the season. There's always something poignant about the annual disappearance of the reptiles, even though I know they will return when the time is right. Same for my resident woodchuck, who disappeared sometime in October. I mourn the loss of her companionship, and look forward to the happiness I'll feel when she emerges in the spring.
Much as I miss the hibernators, though, I like to think of them curled up in their safe and restorative sleep. I long for sleep myself when the days get short, and sometimes I think the man-made world ought to accommodate that desire a little more. We toy with the clocks, but we don't change our lives much to suit the somnolent season. On the contrary, most of us are busier and work harder in winter. I'm not sure who decided we'd arrange things this way, but personally, I think they were misguided. I protest. I'm going to bed. Good night.
The Sleeping Princess, Frances MacDonald McNair, 1910
Go here to read about bad things that happen to turtles who don't get their beauty rest.