04 March 2011

A Long And Restful Sleep

I didn't post last night because I got home dead-tired and fell asleep not long after walking through the door.

Thursday is my longest day of the week, work-wise.  And I did it on about half as much sleep as I'd planned.  Plus, it seemed, everyone--and I'm not talking only about my students--had some pressing issue, question or need.   Sometimes there are just days like that.

Riding from home to my main job, to my second job and home again, I felt surprisingly fluid.  Yes, I felt as if my legs were just flowing through each pedal stroke.  And I felt even more surprisingly strong, considering how little riding I've done since Christmas.  So what made me feel so tired when I got home?

Perhaps it had to do, at least in part, that I rode a bit more than I'd planned.  On my way home, I decided to ride a bike/pedestrian path along the southern edge of Kissena Park.  Close as it is to my commute, and other rides I do, I hadn't ridden there in a very long time.    So my memory of it was faulty, to say the least.  As I result, I made a wrong turn coming out of it.  Then I made another wrong turn. And another. 

My errance (Is that the noun form of "errant?") took me, among other places, around the perimeter of a cemetery.  And it was dark.  That, of course, is not an aid to someone who is a direct descendant of Christopher Columbus and inherited his navigational skills.  Well, OK, I may not be the great-great-great-great-whatever of CC.  But you get the idea.

One thing I wasn't going to do was to sleep in that cemetery.    For starters, it was very cold and windy.  More to the point, nobody ever plans to do such a thing.  At least, I didn't the one time I did it.

It happened back in the days before my first ATM card.  I didn't have any credit cards then, either.  I didn't buy traveler's checks, as I had done for my first European tour a couple of years earlier.  So all I had was cash.  And I was almost out of it the night I rested under the stars in a graveyard.

I knew that I was in New York State, somewhere near the point where its borders with Massachusetts and Connecticut meet.  I knew that because I crossed, during the course of that day's ride, from Massachusetts into Connecticut before seeing a sign that read "Welcome to the Empire State," or something like that.  

It was, as I recall, the fourth day of a ride I took from Montreal to New Jersey.  I'd carried a sleeping bag with me, which I didn't use until that night.  The day was hot, though not humid, which is unusual in most of the Eastern United States. I was tired: As young as I was, riding more than 80 miles with a load (small as it was) through a hilly area was a lot for one day.  

Most people's navigational skills decrease as they grow weary.  When your skills are like mine, they shrink into non-existence at times like that night.  If someone had told me there was a hostel or some other place fifteen feet in a straight line in front of me, I probably wouldn't have found it. 

Tired, broke (almost, anyway) and lost.  What did I do?  I rolled out my sleeping bag.  At least the night was clear and full of stars, with absolutely no threat of rain.  And it was quiet.  Very quiet.  But I was too tired to be disconcerted by anything, so I fell asleep almost as soon as I got into my bag.

I had a very long and restful sleep, as I had last night.


  1. At the dead of night on a country road I was dog tired when I saw fresh cut long grass on the wide roadside verge. I put the bike against a hedge and piled the grass over me for warmth and hoped to sleep 'til dawn at least. How was I to know that just yards away and out of lamp range was a four lane road junction, I was woken from a deep sleep by an enquiring policeman's toe. They were just checking that I was not a corpse they said...

  2. Coline--I had a similar experience when I slept on a golf course. I, too, was awakened by a policeman's toe. "Just wanted to make sure you're alive," he said. What do you say to that?