Showing posts from August, 2010


I open one eye to peek again at the glowing green digits. 1:30. Mental calculations follow. How long have I been trying; How long before I have to rise; How long since the last time I checked the clock? I could think of a hundred interesting reasons to be awake all night, and none of them include lying in bed tossing and turning...well, maybe one of them, but that's not the case tonight.
Insomnia creeps up on me like this every once in a while, giving little indication early in the evening. I'll head for bed sleepy, ready to sink into dreams, and end up floating just on the surface. Hours pass with no change except a periodic shift in position and a mounting frustration at the slow crawl toward morning responsibilities. Of course, I recognize that frustration robs me of the rest I sorely need, but calm is not easy to come by as the night ebbs away. I try all the tricks: counting, telling myself stories, breathing exercises, a little midnight snack or short warm shower, a…

Just a thought...

This morning the sky was an upside-down ocean, hung with rolls and waves of foamy cloud, spitting drops of spray infrequently on my windshield. Though the surface of it was layered in dull shades of slate and blue, something glowed beneath the waves. At the stop sign, I held my breath, eyes on the waves above my world. It was the kind of sea that tempts you against your better judgement to take out the little rowboat and see where the storm might blow you.
But in the end, I chose to go to work instead.


My grandfather died when I was fairly young, but I still have a few fuzzy memories of him. They are mostly just a sense of the man, stitched together in the time since then with family stories and old photographs. It all layers into an image not unlike a smiling, sun-browned apple doll, a man who had packed his years full of hard work, full of living. Though I can't remember anything he said specifically, I know that it was probably in Spanish.
He had come here from Mexico at fifteen years old and hadn't stopped working long enough to study English. I'm sure he had picked up enough to get by. He was capable of communicating with his German-American wife who spoke no Spanish. He held a job and raised his children, but whatever little bits of English he knew were never as comfortable as his native tongue.

My father, his son, is bilingual, as is often the case with the children of immigrants. My generation, however, was raised without that gift. English was the language…