Things I Wonder: Counting Sheep

Jeremiah is off to a cattle trade in Maine with his friend George. I’m home alone in our little apartment, seeping in the goodness of breeze, coffee, and text messages from my husband. I’m also putting off another business paper! Dag nab-it! It’s odd to spend a Saturday morning apart. I often work weekends; it’s part of my job description. However, I don’t go in until 2pm, so on Saturdays and Sundays, with Jeremiah’s more conventional work schedule, we’re free to spend the mornings doing whatever we please. We sleep in late, we go to church, we climb mountains, we repair bike parts, we stake tomatoes.

How bizarre to be without him!

So, I’ve hopped, skipped, and jumped over to my little internet abode and am now going to blog my silliest pondering yet.

I don’t fall asleep well. The combination of late, late shifts and early, early chores and put-off paper writing makes bedtime a ritual of tedium. Laying awake, searching for shapes in the blackness of night, my sleeping husband beside me, I make scattered, mental lists of everything I have to do come morning. Eventually, I start counting, hoping marching numerals will cart me off to the land of nigh. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8… My mind grows confused. “Did I just count 9 three times?” “How am I already to 59? Didn’t I just count 28?” My perfectionism shocks me awake. “Start over! You need to get to 120, a multiple of 30, without missing a beat.” 1-2-3-4-5…

Recently I turned to counting sheep. Here, however, I’ve encountered another predicament. My sheep run left to right, and they leap over a fence. More and more frequently, I lie awake analyze my herd’s navigational skills, wondering what tick in my brain forces them to follow a steady right-headed path. Do everyone’s sheep run left to right? Is it because I read English? If I read Hebrew, would my sheep and their naughty habits pivot and start racing the opposite direction, right to left? If I lived in ancient Sumer and read a switch-back alphabet, would my sheep get dizzy dancing zig-zag between fences? And, what of that fence, anyhow? Where did that thing come from? Some childhood cartoon cemented on the sleepy film role of my mind? And if so, what master mind thought seeing sheep leap a fence and run away would put anyone to sleep, especially a sheep owner’s wife (that would be me!)?

Would someone please answer my questions and ensure me a good night’s rest? I’d be much obliged.


2 thoughts on “Things I Wonder: Counting Sheep

  1. Giggle.

    I can’t count sheep — I can’t reliably visualize anything like that. I sometimes just count, and it’s like you described — losing track, starting over, that sort of thing. I set myself the goal of counting to five thousand, knowing that even at my most insomniac I wouldn’t ever get there before falling asleep.

    My issue with falling asleep, other than the common not being able to shut down the whirling thoughts sometimes, is that my internal observer notices when I start to fall asleep, and it’s like it wakes me up saying “Woo-hoo! You’re falling asleep!”

    I find if I have paper and pencil nearby, I can jot down any of those “must remember” things and that helps.

  2. Hahaha! Pretty funny! Thanks for sharing, Marcy … you’re so good about coming over to my little internet home and commenting. I so appreciate your tidbits of feedback. 🙂

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