Anatomy Physiology

Umm, next week begins the Severe Moon the time of intense we-pe (cold), m’ quat’na (ice) and heavy co-nee (snow). It’s the time of hard winter or, si-kona papoon-we. It can be dangerous and is usually only fun for the little ones. But, as with all things that The Great Mystery created, it has its good side, too. Yeah, yeah, I know: whaaaat good side huh? Well, the good side is that winter is to the Ake Nee-gah (the Earth Mother) what sleep is to us two-leggeds; it’s a time of rest, reconfiguration and revitalization. Uh-huh, and while I’m not a fan of winter, it’s a fact that the older I get the more I like snoozing. And, shoot, I’m only 52 years-old, too. So, I can easily see why an old chick like the Earth Mother enjoys catching her Z’s’.

Now if you live in the Midwest or the East Coast of the USA, then I’m sure you’re figuring that we’ve already had passable winter enough to be reinvigorated, eh. Maybe so, but we aren’t the weatherman here, uh-uh. The Creator is the Guy standing in front of the map on this particular TV, and He decides when enough is aplenty, not us. So, this isn’t like Burger King, and we don’t get to have it our way’. The fry cook cracking the eggs at this kind’a grill decides what’s going to be served up, winter, over-easy or winter, hard-done. It’s totally up to Him. But for those preferring the more secular, then there’s substantial scientific facts to help this notion along, too.

Sleep is important and folks have always known this. When old Bill Shakespeare scribbled his Macbeth eulogy he said that “sleep knits up the raveled sleave of care.” Ain’t it the truth, though. Yeah, without this cool rest, we would all cease to exist. And for two-leggeds, getting your Z’s gets harder as we get older. There’re basically stages of sleep; REM, or rapid eye movement’, produces creative ideas and problem-solving strategies. Hmm. I guess that I’ve just never personally had any REM sleep. Oh well, that’s neither here nor there, but what should be here, there and everywhere is… the slow-wave.

No, I’m not talking about a weak hand gesture or a faulty oven. And, for those of you old enough to remember, I’m not referring to a kind’a dumb US Navy girl, either. Nah, that particular WAVE was all about something else. During World War II, the armed services began enlisting women into their ranks and it was a brand new idea. So, they came up with nifty acronyms and the Navy’s was WAVES’ for: “Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service”. But none of these waves are the one that I mean. Nope, slow-wave sleep’ is what I’m talking about, and it’s vital for our two-legged health. But, as we age, this form of REM gets harder and harder to get, so we have to sleep more and more to acquire it. See? And you thought that Uncle Mel was just lazy, didn’t you? Well, that’s not it. Slow-wave sleep is so important because it increases the natural growth hormone, which assists in everything from muscle development to skin elasticity to bone growth, and yep memory, too. You probably thought I forgot about that one, huh?

The thing is that the length of time that we humans actually spend in slow-wave sleep naturally decreases over the mortal lifespan. So, it takes more sleep to get what you need from it as you grow older. So, there’s just cause for folks sleeping more as they age and for winters to be hard, too, and here’s the tie-in. Winter is just like slow-wave sleep for the Earth Mother. This rest accomplishes much for the body of the planet. Yessir, and Papoonki is the grandfather that rules this half of the year, from where he resides at Ice Mountain. Heck yeah, and he sends the snow, ice and severe weather that the people endure. But, that also makes the trapped and hunted fur long and warm. Yep, and it seals the sugars in the maple trees, and sets the restart of all of the fruit-bearing trees, too, so that everything can awake fresh and new in the spring. Uh-huh, and while I’m not a fan of winter, it’s a fact that the older I get the more I like snoozing. And, shoot, I’m only 52 years-old. So, I can easily see why an old chick like the Earth Mother enjoys catching her Z’s’.