Voyage Until Morning

Before I get out of bed each morning, I have to decide how I’m going to do it.  Shall I scrabble, scramble, spin or stagger? Should I slide, slip or slump? And why do so many of these getting out of bed words begin with the letter ‘s’?  In his very wonderful book The Stuff of Thought, Steven Pinker lists a family of nose words beginning ‘sn’: snout, snorkel, sniff, snore, snub and so on. He suggests the nose is somehow used in their production of these words – that is we wrinkle our noses to produce the necessary sn- sound. But this can’t explain why so many getting out of bed words begin with ‘s’. Perhaps it’s word association. Sleep, sheet, sweet (dreams). When we were little, if we were lucky, lullabies and rhymes sent us to sleep, perhaps these flutter down into consciousness as we drift off, encouraging a sort of dreamy word play,  Isn’t ‘drift off’ lovely too?  You are a boat, or a raft, or simply afloat. You are back in the womb. You are safe on a calm sea. You will voyage until morning.  At which point the alarm will sound and you will scramble, spin and then stagger out of bed, crash into the bathroom, pee, look at yourself in the mirror, wonder what the hell is going on, and then remember it’s morning. You have arrived on at the quayside. Everyone is staring at you.

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