Natural Sleep, and First Frost

by J.D. Roth

“I’m trying something new,” I told Kris last night as we were getting ready for bed. “I’m taking Sabino’s approach to sleep.”

“What’s that?” she asked, frowning.

“Well, Kim and Sabino don’t use an alarm clock. They rise when they wake up naturally.” She furrowed her brow, full of doubt. “It works! Sabino’s never late to the office. I didn’t set my alarm last night. I just got up when I woke at 5:15.”

Kris did not reply, but turned over to fall asleep.

As I do every night, I checked the time before I closed my eyes: 10:45. As I do every night, I computed my expected wakeup time based on my typical sleep cycle: 4:45 or 6:15. “Hm,” I thought. “Maybe I should stay up another half hour so that I wake at 5:15.” My normal wake-up time is 5:30, but I’m okay getting up fifteen minutes earlier or later.

I dreamed of cats from outer space, cats with unspeakable powers. I slept well.

I woke at 4:48 and thought, “Maybe I’d better get up now. If I go back to sleep, Kris’ alarm will wake me in the middle of my sleep cycle, and then I’ll be tired the rest of the day.”

I didn’t get up. I fell back asleep. I dreamed of a church service at which Pam and I were arguing together against Joel and Kris regarding an esoteric point of Catholic dogma. Pam and I won the debate, of course, and celebrated with an asparagus pie.

I woke again to discover Toto sitting in front of the clock. “Move,” I said, pushing the whiny blob of black fur aside. “Uh-oh,” I said, elbowing Kris. “I guess maybe Sabino’s sleep method isn’t the best for us. It’s 6:17.”

6:17! While this was exactly the time I had expected to wake, it was also three minutes before I needed to leave in order to be on time for work. “I guess you forgot to set your alarm,” I said. Kris muttered something under her breath and stumbled downstairs for her shower.

On Monday night at our football gathering, some of the older kids played outside on Ron and Kara’s deck. “It’s icy,” they said when they came in for dessert.

“No it’s not,” the adults told them. We knew that we’d just had a rainstorm a couple hours ago, and that a heavy layer of cloud cover meant that temperatures wouldn’t drop significantly. Besides, there were no freezing temperatures in the forecast.

“Yes it is,” said Harrison, but we ignored him.

After dessert, I went outside to play a little with the boys. They were taking turns sliding across the icy deck. “Well I’ll be darned,” I thought. “It is icy.” I took a turn skooching my shoes across the slick spots. Before I went back inside, I looked around the yard for other signs of freezing. There were none. Somehow an isolated patch of ice had formed on Ron and Kara’s deck. There were no signs of frost on the drive home, either, though the sky was completely clear.

On Tuesday morning, however, it had frozen. The grass wasn’t too crunchy, but the car windows were frosted. Here at the shop, the thermometer read -2.8 degrees centigrade. I didn’t expect frost this morning, either, and I didn’t find any until I started the car. Though the other windows were fine, the front windshield had a thin layer of the stuff.

The first frost to me means winter is approaching, and so it is. The rains have come. Nights are cold. Darkness reigns supreme.

Updated: 08 November 2005

Do what's right. Do your best. Accept the outcome.
Copyright © 1994 - 2022 by J.D. Roth