Lately I've been getting up at 4:30 (don't even ask how ridiculously early I go to bed), but this morning I stayed in bed until almost 6, luxuriating in a pleasure I formerly didn't fully appreciate.
I burrowed deeper under the covers, shifting my position to get more comfortable. I decide to switch from my right side to my left, so I turned over to that side instead. The new position was delicious. To make it even more luxurious, I flipped the pillow over to the fresher, cooler side. In fact, it was so satisfying merely to be able to move around under the covers that I rolled back to my original side, and burrowed still deeper.
I didn't appreciate this particular pleasure until two weeks ago. My sister had shoulder surgery for a torn rotator cuff over Christmas, and during the period of her convalescence she isn't supposed to roll over in bed. In fact, she has been advised against even sleeping in a bed; it's safer just to sleep propped up in a recliner chair. My sister didn't tear her rotator cuff because of a sports injury; it happened just in the course of ordinary everyday living. I engage in ordinary everyday living, too. So a torn rotator cuff could happen to me. I had not one but two bad falls last summer, both for little or no reason at all. Either of those falls could have resulted in my breaking a bone or tearing a ligament. I could be the person told that for a certain time period I can no longer roll over in bed.
But right now I can. And I do. Noticing exactly how pleasurable that is.
A number of years ago I had a bout of vertigo where I was plunged into a terrifying whirling void if I turned my head a certain way, including turning my head to the side in bed. I could ease myself into a different sleeping position, but I couldn't flop around in bed willy-nilly.
Remembering this, in the wee hours of this morning, I flopped more vigorously, just because I could. Flop! Flop! There was nothing stopping me.
Toward the end of my mother's life, when I would visit her in the Kaiser rehab facility, I came to have new appreciation of the ability to walk briskly. I'd realize I had left something I needed back in the car. "I'll run and get it," I'd tell my mother. Sixty seconds later, I was at my car. Sixty seconds after that I was back in her room. The most arduous ordeal of the patients in rehab, placing one foot in front of the other, was easy-peasy for me. I learned to take new joy in easy-peasiness.
It's hard to sustain these new joys. I don't expect to spend every morning for the rest of my life staying in bed for an extra hour just to make sure I notice how deliriously happy I can be rolling over from my left side to my right. But every once in a while it's good to pay attention to these smallest of pleasures, appreciated most fully only when they are taken away: "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone?"
My sister posts a different quote on Facebook every morning from some famous person born on that day. Today it was this from J. R. R. Tolkien: “All
we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” I love this line so much. So today, with the time that was given me, I rolled over in bed. And I loved every minute of doing it.