At day’s end

My day ends with a train whistle and the sigh of a dog.

cute little black labrador retriever sleeping on a white background
“Come sweet, blessed sleep.”

I lie in my bed, said dog at my feet, both of us settling our weary bones into the comfort of no expectations, at least for the next few hours. Come sweet, blessed sleep. I hear the train and wonder where it is headed and if someone in its distant destination is sinking into bed just as I am at this moment.

The smell of lavender and currant fills the air, remnants of the bath just taken. If I’ve been very lucky, I was just moments ago listening to the soft crinkle of bubbles displaced as my toes stretched in the comfortingly warm water.

If I’ve been even luckier, my mind has quieted with the ritual of meditation, of dumping all worldly cares into the ether where they will be sucked away like so much chaff. I’ve thanked a higher power for all the blessings brought my way—yes, even the ones that don’t look like blessings.

Prior to this peace came the hubbub of a busy life. Practices, lessons, homework and a dinner shared with those I love. A glass of wine thrown in there somewhere. Sometimes a late conference call or two with Australian colleagues.

Perhaps a pillow-top conversation with my youngest, who likes to throw out meaty items at the last nanosecond as I tuck him in beneath a mountain of covers. Without fail, as I lean in to kiss him goodnight, I hear something along these lines, “Did you know that seven out of every 10 Americans believe in alien encounters?” or “I am still trying to determine if I think the Hindu religion is monotheistic or polytheistic.” If I have the energy (and I sure do try), a short conversation ensues. I realize these exchanges are short-lived in the long term. When he is grown with children of his own across town or country, I will wonder if his progeny inherited our wandering, quick minds. God, I hope so. I predict he will be answering the tough questions and smiling to himself, wondering where this rogue gene came from—and then sure it spawned from his odd duck mother.

If I have been able to quiet my quick mind, sleep comes quickly because I’ve likely stayed up too late again, trying to absorb every last second of precious time to myself.

Cup of hot tea and reading on a blanket, instagram style toned. Top view point.
“If my mind is less than cooperative . . . “

If my mind is less than cooperative, I may end up next to the bed on my chaise with the book club selection, wondering how the other women seem to find time to read and make it to the get-together every month. If I do make it, I’ve likely paid for the time with lack of sleep. Every now and then, an insomniac friend will text to see if I, too, am having trouble sleeping. We then solve the world’s problems and our own in the wee hours of the morning, swearing to conquer poverty or illiteracy in our next midnight session.

I think of other days’ end. In my parents’ home, where someone else took care of me for so many years. Of my married life, where a warm body was next to mine and shared the burdens. Of nights when sleep eluded me for hours because of worry when life had gone topsy-turvy.

I am where I should be. In this bed, in this house, with this motley crew. And I see, as I look back, that every moment of worry was a wasted one. It may not stop future worry but it is something to chew on as I move forward.

My days are blessed. This revelation I hold close at the close of each and every one.

All is well at day’s end, as the slate is wiped clean for another brave attempt tomorrow.

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22 Comments Add yours

  1. I carry the burdens of the night to next morning, sometimes even dreams are nothing but manifestations of the same.

    It is good that you can wipe your slate clean, I will get there too one day.

    1. candidkay says:

      You will:). I think you get better with each passing year. Aging should bring some good things along with the ad, right?:).

  2. Lovely post. So happy that your space and time can bring you such peace. I hear the train at night sometimes too but its a freight train and I always think. “Some poor sod is out on that train and I am here in my cozy bed. Lucy me”.

    1. candidkay says:

      The trick is keeping that peace in the hustle and bustle of my days! That’s the rub:). I’m sure you know that feeling.

  3. srbottch says:

    As I sit at my computer, your essay comes as an easy read and makes me want to go to bed right now, even though it’s only 8:30. I can’t go yet, a ballgame is on the radio, I have dishes to put away, Jake the dog needs to go out, a new essay theme has to be developed, and on and on. So, when I finally go to bed, the sheets will be cold because my wife has set the heat to go to ‘freezing’ at 10:00. But, once there, I’ll be out in 5 minutes. I’m not sure if it’s from fatigue, boredom, mental exhaustion or the old Jack Benny radio show on Sirius radio that she’s tuned into for the night. But, for kicks, just to see if we’re awake middle of the night, send me a reply if you wake and I’ll let you know when I first see it. Game?

    1. candidkay says:

      You’re on! Although I will admit that I am hoping I will sleep like a baby this evening :-). Wishing you the same.

      1. srbottch says:

        Here I go. Good night @ 10:33!

      2. srbottch says:

        Woke at 5:45, no message, now 7:15. You must be sleeping like a baby, out like a light, sleeping like a log….yada, yada

      3. candidkay says:

        Slept well! Almost messaged at 6, but that’s technically getting through the night:). Glad you slept soundly too!

  4. markbialczak says:

    This is so beautiful, Kay. I thank the stars for your blessings. They were sent to a kind, giving person who not only deserves them, but appreciates them. Good night, my friend, indeed.

    1. candidkay says:

      I might say the same to you, Mark! Wishing you every good blessing . . .

      1. markbialczak says:

        Thank you, my friend.

  5. heyjude6119 says:

    I love the end of the day when I’m pleasantly tired and ready to get into my soft bed and read a little while before drifting off to dreamland.

  6. Ah, sleep. Sometimes a place I can breeze into without a care. Other times its like trying to get into Studio 54 in the early 80’s, stopped at the gate, no entry. Sleep is more complicated as we get older. I like the way you described those easy nights and those not so easy.

    1. candidkay says:

      Love the Studio 54 analogy! I think that one will stick with me next time I’m up at 2 a.m.:).

  7. Roy McCarthy says:

    Going to sleep safe, warm, content – it’s something not granted to everyone is it Kristine? Hopefully our children can grow up that way.

    My earliest memories include dropping off while listening to the steam trains rumbling off towards London in the quiet of the night, a few miles away from our house.

    1. candidkay says:

      I long for the day we can all go to sleep this way, Roy. I hope we get wise and start to provide that for more people. The world would truly change. Those train whistles are as mournful as they are comforting, aren’t they?

  8. cristi says:

    “I am where I should be.” Believe that. And peace to you…have a great week!

  9. Reflection + Gratitude. So beautiful when these two come together.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you:). It certainly is. A beautiful feeling, at least.

  10. Tom Schultz says:

    Very nicely written. Just the right voice.

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