Sleep doesn’t seem to come easily to me these days. I do all the things they say you are supposed to do to ensure a good night’s rest. I exercise each day and usually take a 2-mile walk after supper. I turn in at the same time each evening and my bedroom is comfortable and dark. I sleep with a window cracked so that I can feel the gentle autumn breeze that blows across the bed and the ceiling fan provides a comforting hum — white noise if you will — that seems to drown out any frogs or crickets that are reluctant to bid adieu to summer. Sometimes I even take a nice cup of herbal tea — the kind with the little baby bear hibernating on the box — just before bedtime.
And still I toss and turn and lie awake, worrying about all of the trials and tribulations and uncertainty of life in the 21st century. I worry about my health, the national debt, the gross national product, my kids, Mark Richt's future, the stock market, book sales and the 2012 elections. You name it and it crosses through my mind at night. Eventually I get around to worrying about the fact that I can't get to sleep.
And believe it or not, I told you all of that to tell you this. This week, as if I didn't have enough demons and gremlins dancing around in my head keeping the sandman away, I have another distraction at bedtime. Acorns.
Yes, I said acorns. I am talking about big giant acorns that grow on the big giant oak trees that surround our house. I don't notice them during the day. It's almost like they have eyes and a brain of their own and are just hanging around, waiting for the house to go dark. I climb into bed and fluff my pillows and start my nightly battle with insomnia and then, just as I am about to actually drift way into the Land of Nod, the bombardment begins and the giant acorns begin assaulting the roof -- and particularly the skylights.
They sound like storm troopers rapelling from hovering helicopters, startling me from the precipice of the sleep that is so hard to come by. And if the noise itself wasn't enough, when my lovely wife, Lisa, hears the acorns she is never fully convinced that it really is just acorns. She almost always thinks someone is walking around on the deck and trying to get in the house. I suppose I can understand her trepidation. We've only lived in our house for about a quarter of a century. It's hard to get used to a strange sound in just 25 years. She always wants me to get up and grab a weapon and make sure there is no one lurking around outside.
What Lisa wants, Lisa gets, so every night for the past week or so I have found myself wandering around a darkened house with a baseball bat, just in case one of the hundreds of acorns that have fallen on our roof and porch happens to be a prowler, and sleep, which is always fleeting, is even harder to come by after making my rounds.
Insert a big sigh here.
But every cloud, no matter how dark, contains a silver lining -- or so I am told. The silver lining that comes with my current battle with insomnia is that the falling acorns remind me that the world does continue to turn and the seasons do continue to change.
"To everything -- turn, turn, turn -- there is a season -- turn, turn turn -- and a time for every purpose under heaven."
That's a song by Pete Seeger, but I think he stole the lyrics from Solomon. Whatever.
Because the acorns keep me awake at night I am reminded that even the hottest summer will eventually give way to fall, which will turn to winter. And spring always follows even the coldest winter. Every time it has ever rained at my house, it has stopped and the sun has always appeared again. Every drought has been broken by rain. Every cold snap has given way to a thaw and so forth and so forth and so forth.
It has been a tough year for me, personally. I have been plagued with health problems that just won't seem to go away. It has been a tough year for the economy -- heck, it's been a tough few years. And, yes, it has been a tough couple of years for Coach Richt, too.
But a better day is coming. The acorns falling on my roof tell me so.
Thanks for letting me lie on your couch for a while and work this out. I think I can get some sleep now. At least until the next test results, or the week before the Florida game.
Darrell Huckaby is a local educator and author. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com.