This morning I woke up several hours too early, with unsettled thoughts and unrested muscles. Rolling over (and over) did little to invite sleep, and between a low fever and a cautious cough I was feeling sick enough to be distinctly uncomfortable.
I'm sure you know the feeling.
Past remedies have included soothing music, steaming hot-chocolate, and soft couches (not to mention actual medication that I might choose to take). However, the fading starlight of pre-dawn and the cold-induced insomnia begged a different recourse. I picked up a book.
Reading there on the couch reminded me of countless other times when, feeling under the weather, I had curled up in my sheets with a tale of once-upon-a-time. If I was home sick from school and unfit for anything more strenuous than old recordings of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, I often found release (or commisseration?) in a story that I could hold as close as I wanted but was bigger than any binding.
Today's choice was an old favorite that I have wanted to re-read. More than the book itself, though, the act of reading (or maybe even the memory of reading) soothed me more fully and effectively than I could have expected. Thoughts calmed, coughs subsided, sweating ceased, and I was left to greet the sunrise. Still with a cold, but also with a friend. And with a precious reminder of the beauty of prose, the power of books.