On any given weekend, my goal is to get as much sleep as possible. You’d think I was trying to store it up for use whenever I run low during the week, but that’s clearly not the case. Still, however, whenever the weekend rolls around, catching up on my Z’s is pretty high on my to-do list.

Getting four hours of sleep last night before going into a 19+ hour day today isn’t exactly what I thought would end up happening, but — alas — it did. I think I made it through fairly well, save for the stiff, tight knee and lower back pain from walking and standing most of the day. (And that’s with my orthotic inserts in my shoes; they were pretty much used for only the third or fourth time today. I don’t doubt that I would’ve been face-down far earlier in the day had I not worn them.)

By the way, how old do I sound right now? Awesome. High five.

Today was Gumball Rally day at Disneyland, and I filled in for someone who wasn’t able to be on a team with my brother, his girlfriend and girlfriend’s daughter. I knew I’d be in for a long day, and despite my burning red eyes and aching body, I had a great time.

This evening after we turned in our rally form, brother and girlfriend went to renew their annual passes. I decided to take a load off and find a comfy concrete bench to lay my weary self across. Surprisingly, I think the hard surface was just what my back needed.

I was flat on my back, staring up at the evening sky. The color was in that in-between stage where it’s not a true blue, and it’s not quite a vibrant turquoise that it might’ve been 30 minutes earlier. It was dusk, the twinkle lights were starting to take center stage and Disneyland palm and Indian laurel fig trees gently swayed in the breeze. It was even a bit quiet which, after a long day of crowds and noise, was somewhat surreal.

Because there was still a bit of light in the sky and because we were in the middle of a city, it was difficult to make out any stars in the sky. Every now and again, however, I thought that I saw one. A few times, it really was a star. Other times I think my eyes were playing tricks on me because they wanted something to be there.

Interestingly, it likely was. I wondered how many stars I was looking at without realizing it. Even if you pointed a telescope at the seemingly darkest area of space, galaxies — not just stars — would likely come into focus. I could think about it for hours and never get bored. How remarkable life can be sometimes.

I was able to rest there for a good 30 minutes, and in that time the sky darkened and the stars were giving the Disney twinkle lights a run for their money. The park was open till midnight today, but many people were leaving early — and quietly doing so. It felt like the warmth of the day and the excitement had drained everyone; a mass exodus was slowly occurring, but there was a quiet all around.

I finally had to get up and be on my way with the group, but it was one of the most interesting things I’ve ever done at Disneyland. We’re so inundated with pictures and characters and colors that are at eye-level, by the sounds that fill our ears and by scents that find their way to our noses that it’s easy to forget to look around. To look up. To take note of the different plants, trees, types of fencing and all the details that make Disneyland the place that we love.

Tonight I am thankful for my quiet half-hour that came at the end of an amazing day, and for the centering it provided. I was beyond exhausted and a little in pain, but when you find something that can turn your exhaustion into something that more closely resembles a zen-like state, it’s a pretty awesome thing.

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