To sleep, perchance to dream . . .  William Shakespeare

February is like the 4 A.M. of the calendar year. I wake up, eager to start the day, but realize the world is still dark and the garden is still sleeping. So, I roll over, snuggle deeper under the covers, and go back to sleep, perchance to dream, of the gardening year to come.

There are a lot of wildly differing viewpoints on sleep, perhaps depending on whether you seek it, fear it, or cannot find it. As a gardener and nature lover, I find myself agreeing with Walt Whitman when he says Now I see the secret of making the best person: it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth. D.H. Lawrence had a similar view of the natural renewal of sleep. And if tonight my soul may find her peace in sleep, and sink in good oblivion, and in the morning wake like a new opened flower then I have been dipped again in God, and new created.

An unknown pundit and night owl stated Sometimes I stay up so late that I have my morning coffee before I go to bed. When I was performing full time, this would have been my motto! Here are two diametrically opposed points of view, from authors unknown. Sleep… Oh! how I loathe those little slices of death or Consciousness: that annoying time between naps.

Perhaps composer Eric Whitacre expressed the lovely complexity of sleep best, in
his beautiful choral piece “Sleep.” It was originally set to Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” but because of copyright issues he eventually reset it with lyrics created by poet Charles Anthony Silvestri and now prefers this version.

The evening hangs beneath the moon,
A silver thread on darkened dune
With closing eyes and resting head,
I know that sleep is coming soon  (See all lyrics)

Not only did Eric compose a poignantly beautiful piece of music in Sleep, he united singers all over the world through the power of YouTube into a virtual choir to perform it. This clip from TED tells the amazing story.

And here is the full video of a 2000+ voice virtual choir singing “Sleep” – a feast for the ears, the eyes, and the soul.

For sleep, one needs endless depths of blackness to sink into; daylight is too shallow, it will not cover one.  Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Sweet dreams to all, spring is dawning soon.




On a cold snowy February day, you might enjoy reading this post and hearing a song about Winter.

29 thoughts on “Sleep

  1. Thanks for sharing these. I watched (and listened to) all the videos and I felt that deep sense of connection Eric was trying to describe in his talk. Really amazing work. And I love your writing.

    • Kris, thanks so much for visiting. Eric is an amazing composer and seems to be always searching for new ways to communicate. I appreciate your comments and have been enjoying your site – love the photos!

  2. RE: “So, I roll over, snuggle deeper under the covers, and go back to sleep, perchance to dream, of the gardening year to come.”

    This exactly what February is like for me > garden dreams: what to plant, move , shape, introduce … great fun.

  3. This moved me to tears, Lynn. Our choir sang Eric Whitacre’s This Marriage a couple of years ago. Although I’d heard of this project, I’d never had a chance to hear more about it or see the videos. Thanks so much for sharing it. Our choir has been invited to participate in a DCINY concert at Lincoln Center over Thanksgiving–quite an honor!

    • Paula, that is SO great – please let me know how that goes. I love Eric’s music though I have never sung any of it; I met him many years ago when he visited our school and met with our students. I’m considering going to a one day workshop with him in May.

  4. I am using this music to paint by. Thank you for visiting my site and leaving your encouraging words. I am going to check out the rest of your posting, for I also can’t wait for my perennials to start showing signs of life (not likely until March). Truly gardens and good music do go hand-in-hand

    • Thank you so much for visiting, Lance; I loved your site and your paintings and stories – I think I tracked back to your site from Kerry’s photoblog. We had a lot of spring like weather here but now are back into the February snow weather. That’s the great thing about perennials; even greening up for spring is exciting, a hint of the bloom to come. Enjoy Eric’s music!

    • Thanks for visiting, Paul. I am following suit; relax and let spring arrive in its own time. A big step for me, I must say. I keep dreaming 🙂 BTW, I have been enjoying your “photographic subject + camera” series – great!

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