Day 8 – Sleepy thoughts

When I can’t sleep, it’s usually because there’s something my brain just doesn’t want to let go of.

Isn’t that always the reason?

It might be some issues lodged in my mind from work, a running list of random to-do items that I’m afraid I’ll forget, or some random line of worry that revolves around the health and emotional development of my kids–like whether the coughing fit that just erupted in Cadence’s room is the natural byproduct of the dry winter air or the beginnings of a bout of bronchitis.

Most nights it’s a damn miracle my brain shuts down long enough to get any real sleep at all.

There was a time when I used to keep a dream journal. Nothing fancy, just a notebook and pen placed close enough to my bed that I could reach out and grab it easily in those moments I hung in that fuzzy space between my dreams and waking, those moments when I could still remember some of the details. It’s honestly an exercise I wish I’d kept up.

I learned a lot about myself by analyzing the patterns and paying attention to the things my dreaming mind bubbled to the surface. I learned that I dream of storms and tornadoes during times of high stress and upheaval in my life. In the dreams, I’m never afraid of the storms. Instead, there’s a heightened and palpable feeling of responsibility and focus. I find myself taking charge, ushering others to safety, and then always turning around at the last moment to stand up and face the storm (or maybe to stand up in spite of it) and get one last good look before it blows over.

Funny what your dreams can teach you about yourself if you just learn to pay attention.

And Tornado Season Begins…

So, this is what we’ve been watching on TV for most of the day…

It’s Steven’s first official crazy thunderstorm and tornado watch since living here in Tornado Alley and he says it’s a bit like the days following September 11 in New York–huddling around the TV, watching graphic recycled footage, and waiting or the latest updates and breaking news to try to make sense of it all.

We managed to escape the day of storms pretty much unscathed. We had some hard rain, a little hail, and some wicked lightning and thunder that rattled the windows of the house. Hell, the wind didn’t even blow hard enough to bring down the two large tree branches that have been hanging¬†from the trees in our backyard since the February blizzard. So, we’ve spent most of the day watching the storms dance around us and drop all sorts of craziness in other parts of the state. Here are a few photos being shared around Facebook of tornadoes near my hometown of Holdrege, Nebraska and the crazy flooding and hail in Norfolk…

Around 11:45 pm, the sirens here in Lincoln started wailing. Steven had just gone to bed and was half asleep. I was procrastinating my blogging and watching the latest Doppler radar and listening to the latest reports of tornadoes on the ground around Wichita, Kansas. It actually took me a minute to comprehend what I was hearing.

I got up off the couch and opened the front door, peering out into the darkness. A light rain was still falling, and there was quite a bit of lightning off in the distance. Otherwise, all was calm. I headed upstairs to get Steven, and he met me halfway. We returned to the living room and turned on both the TV and the local AM radio station to listen for the latest. My sister called and asked if they could come over, just in case there would actually be a need to run for the basement. We all sat, watching, waiting, while the storm passed us to the north.

And now, it’s nearly 1:00 AM and everything is quiet again. My sister and her family have gone back home, and other than another line of rain and a Tornado Watch in effect for the next hour or so, it seems we’re in the clear.

So, for now, I think it’s time for me to retire. Be safe out there, my friends!