Most people keep mental lists of some kind — best television shows, favorite ice cream flavors, dream vacations. I keep a mental list of good nights of sleep. Strange, I know. But sleep for me was hard to come by, even back then. And a good night’s sleep while camping is always a rare and memorable occasion.
If there was a set of Murphy’s laws for sleeping outdoors, the first would state that “the attempt to slumber triggers a physiological sharpening of the ‘uncomfortability’ sensory receptors.” The little rock that seemed negligible when I first lay down will grow into an enormous boulder as the night wears on. The slight depression in the ground beneath my left shoulder will gradually feel like a massive crater. And that Gatorade I had by the fire an hour earlier? Yeah, that’ll come back to haunt me too. But only after I have already overcome the boulders and craters and am finally comfortable enough to nod off.
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August 18, 2008 at 1:14 pm
I’ve also suffered from insomnia for many years, and I know what you mean about the perfect night’s sleep staying in your memory.
August 28, 2008 at 11:38 am
This is an excellent column. Every example you gave brought back a specific memory or two or ten!
Even trying to sleep in a bunk of a hunting camp cabin can be tough. In one I’ve slept in several times, there is so much snoring going on that it’s like trying to sleep at motorcycle track.