Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh
chris_walsh

The Sweet Spot of Sleep

The name Slick Rock Creek is significant to my family. Slick Rock Creek is in Oregon's Coast Range, off of the Salmon River, about 10 miles from Lincoln City and flowing through the small town of Rose Lodge. If you've driven Hwy. 18 to the Coast, you've driven over the creek, and driven within a mile of the house my dad's parents used to have there.

It's not a fancy house. (Or, if it turns out that the new owners have built something else there since 2005, it wasn't one.) It's a manufactured house added to this green spot around 1980, as a vacation place that my Grandpa Irv and Grandma Jean, and later much of my family, visited. It had 1980-era dark-ish wood paneling, never replaced in all the time my family used it, which was until the middle of the past decade. I've only been back to the neighborhood once, when my family drove to the bridge upstream from the house so we could scatter Grandma and Grandpa's ashes in the creek. I probably last stayed in it, on a weekend by myself, in November 2003.

The house, which we referred to semi-generically as Slick Rock, was where I could stay close to water. I'd lived on a lake in Virginia Beach, but otherwise I've lived at a distance from water+. Slick Rock was also where I could go swimming and wading in that water. I didn't do that at the Virginia Beach house. That lake had snapping turtles.

There, I'd do what I'd rarely do when sleeping in the other places I've lived: leave open a window. Creek flow makes its noise, almost always soothing, and the often-cool air that water was flowing past would waft past (and also waft in; air gets everywhere). And whether I was in one of the two bedrooms (the guest bedroom; NEVER Grandma and Grandpa's room, even when I was the only person there) or on the hide-a-bed in the living room, I'd be under blankets and warm and breathing that cool air and hearing that cool -- a different meaning of cool, you know -- water. Enough blankets, my usual body heat, comfortable air to breathe, the gentle sounds outside: all that made it easy to fall asleep, easy to rest, and easy to wake up come morning.

I've been trying to recreate that, reasonably closely of course since I'm never again sleeping at Slick Rock. I discovered recently that, apparently, if I'm not warm enough -- and lately I really hadn't been warm enough, partly because the old bed spread I threw out in the past week was worn down to almost atoms -- I get more uncomfortable while sleeping, maybe more likely to get into sleep positions wheer I snore more (because I do snore, I just don't know how much). And if a window was open, I'd be more likely to be cold, and uncomfortable. But for a time I thought the open window was the only factor in making me uncomfortable. It wasn't. I've slept the last several nights with a window or windows open, without the problems upon waking that I'd had before. This is a satisfying discovery. I want to open that window more.

And if I'm not close enough to water to hear water flow, I can at least possibly hear air flow, since breeze through the trees makes its own noise, almost always soothing...




+ I'd first written "at least several miles from water," but as the crow flies I'm a quarter of a mile from the Willamette River.
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