As I have grown up, I learned not to fight sleep, but rather try to embrace it. However, since college has begun, late night conversations with my roommate in our cold dorm room, wet with rain, because I forgot to close the window, keep me up so late that I miss my eight o’clock class the next morning. The following day, I walk past the squirrels asleep in their trees and it makes me want to go back to my dorm room. When I get there, I cuddle under my gray down comforter, and return to the state of unconsciousness that I missed the night before.
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the lord my soul to keep
If I die before I wake
I pray the lord my soul to take
This is the first prayer I was ever taught, long before I could even remember.
It did not matter if I was in my room or at my Grandma’s house, my family always said this prayer every night before sleep. Like most children, I never wanted to go to sleep. Eventually, my mother or father would convince me to take my place under my floral comforter and close my eyes. It was here that the sounds of Dakota became glaringly relevant. The strong South Dakota wind would blow the birch tree right outside, and its protruding branch would slowly tap on my window. This repetitive sound would, at first, scare and then proceed to soothe my naive young mind, void of worry or fear.
However, now the sounds of Dakota cause me to worry once again. Now heavy wind signals danger that could be lurking and keeps me up at night. Now sirens and the light of the tennis courts keep me up wondering if all is okay in the world. As winter comes, the wind leaves me wondering if after I wake, I will still be able to drive to work tomorrow or if the snow will be too much for my little car to handle.
Transitioning to life with a roommate also threw off my delicate ritual of sleep. The white noise and snoring of my roommate constantly kept me awake in the first few weeks. Thankfully, the rhythmic vibrations causing this common phenomena have slowly turned into a soothing noise indicating the safety of my roommate. Just as the sounds of the tree tapping on the window has evolved into the rhythmic snores of my roommate, my bedroom that was once a place of solitude is now one of camaraderie.
A bedroom that used to be a place of solitude is now one of camaraderie. It is just as if I were a child once more, with a soothing, ritualistic interaction to send me into the healing cycle of sleep.
I am Annika Paulsen, I grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and I am a music major. I am Sydney Dixen, I grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and I am a biology and religion major.