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  • I used to watch Little Mother fall into sleepiness, gently drifting, softly, slowly, smoothly into innocent oblivion. It happened anytime it was quiet and she sat in her baby blue two-person rocking chair, sometimes with her left hand, her delicate little hand, resting on the side of Missy-cat. Often she would be holding her number thirteen crochet needle abandoned in the middle of a treble crochet, and if some small noise waked her, she would lift her left hand, grasp her crochet work and finish the stitch. I don't remember ever asking her how those momentary escapes into the shadow lands felt, though I know if she saw that someone noticed, she would laugh as though it embarrassed her to be found out.

    Lately, now that I'm seventy-five, I find myself fighting against an almost overwhelming sleepiness. Perhaps it's medication related, I don't know. I only know that when it happens I am likely to find myself waking with my cheek resting on the desk beside the mouse. It's very disconcerting. My head drops, again and again until I stop fighting and go to the bed for a nap.

    And, even more recently, I have begun to dream as I drop into that twilight space and to move my hand wildly in the air as I complete the movements of the dream. When I rouse, for just an instant, I still see the object I was reaching for in the dream, like a hologram, and consciousness causes it to fade away until I am full awake. But still, the heaviness of sleep remains behind my eyes, in my limbs.

    Yes, of course, I get up and go outdoors to walk around the garden, to work on my bonsai plants. I walk in place with Leslie Sansone, invigorating exercise. Sometimes I pick up the two dumbbells and flex my arms. And still the sleepiness waits just beyond. Will Little Mother meet me there?
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