Archives for posts with tag: in the wee hours

I woke early this morning. Like… really awake. Rested. Alerted. Not sleeping. Inconveniently enough, at 2:17 a.m. on a Saturday morning. I wandered around the house in the darkness for a few minutes. Finally decided to go ahead and just be up and retrieved my glasses from the nightstand. I am up too early to take my morning medication. I make an iced coffee, black. I set a reminder about the medication.

I scroll through my “news feed” on Facebook and wonder if maybe Facebook should stop calling it that? I close the app, done with it, and committed to avoiding the old practice of just… endlessly scrolling. There’s nothing new to be gained in doing so, and much time to be lost. I sip my coffee. Cold, refreshing, served in a wine glass.

3:00 a.m. It has its own feel, doesn’t it? It does for me. The “quietest point in the night”. Stillness. Darkness. It’s rare to live with people who are awake at 3:00 am. I often am. I knew someone once who referred to it as “the bottom of the night”. I don’t remember who.

Other people feel differently about “the strange hour” of morning. Is it night? Is it morning? Should I be wakeful? Oh no, I’m not sleeping! I used to find maximum anxiety sleepless at 3:00 am… that was rather a while ago. Maybe a long time. These days… if I’m awake, I’m awake. I’ll sleep another time. Clearly not now. I sip my coffee in the studio and look over the work I have laid out, work in progress, the open sketchbook on the extended work surface created by storage cabinets filled with paintings. I smirk at my artistic productivity and feel a moment of sympathy for whoever has to deal with that when I’m gone. I make a note to keep better notes, to archive more meticulously, to practice better practices as an artist, not just as a human being. I am awake, being me, at 3:00 am. Who else would I be?

My open inbox on an alternate browser tab sits ready in case my Traveling Partner is also awake. It is undisturbed except for the trickle of spam emails from businesses and whatnot, arriving one by one during the wee hours. As they come in, conveniently one at a time, I unsubscribe. It seems too much effort when faced with a full inbox at 5:00 am on a week day. 3:00 am on a Saturday morning, one at a time? Ideal for unsubscribing (your results may vary).  (Turns out my Traveling Partner is awake, and he pings me back cute loving emoji; he’s working the trailing end of a Friday night gig, too busy for more, even at 3:00 a.m.)

This delicious quiet time took years to develop; it exists beyond the anxiety about sleeplessness, beyond the anxiety about “why am I awake?”, beyond the anxiety about “how will I go on?” and beyond the anxiety about all the things that plague a tired mind struggling to sleep at 3:00 am. This delicious gentle peaceful quiet time only exists because I created it for myself. Yep. You get to create this experience – choose it, build it, enjoy it – if you want it. Or, alternatively, you can also choose to dwell in anxiety in the wee hours. 😉 Not my call to make for you.

There are other versions of 3:00 a.m., of course. The Party People know what I’m talking about. The performers know. Ravers. DJs. Bands. The graveyard workers know too. The breakfast cooks and bakers getting the day started before the dawn, they know. So many versions of 3:00 a.m. Sitting in the quiet darkness of suburbia, windows dark in the neighborhood, and only the eerie light of occasional streetlights glowing, marking the way for the stray early morning traveler, all I hear is quiet. The busy street at the end of my driveway is silent. It won’t last. The Saturday adventurers headed for fishing, hiking, camping or road trips, will begin to make their way up the road around 4:00 am. The community will slowly wake, a bit at a time, as the dawn unfolds. But right now? The stillness wraps me, effortlessly. I linger in it, luxuriously.

Coffee #1 for the day is almost gone. Coffee #2 is only a daydream, a hint of a plan, a thought that perhaps a lovely hot mug of coffee out on the deck, in the chill of pre-dawn darkness, listening to peeping frogs and early birds waking, would be a nice start to the Saturday. I laugh, realizing I started Saturday some time ago. Before 3:00 am. I hear the traffic begin and notice the time – 3:56 a.m.

It’s time to begin again. 😉 It’s 4 in the morning.

The title sounds promising. It is, however, the truth and for the moment nothing more. It’s 2:11 am. I am awake in this moment. I was so incredibly sleepy, and feeling deep down tired when I went to bed, early, last night. I slept deeply, soundly, restfully… for two hours. Then another two hours. And another. This time, I meditated for a while but didn’t find myself feeling like sleep; I’m not anxious, so calming and soothing myself didn’t result in anything but a calm heart. Nice by itself, I’m not bitching. Yoga, too, did nothing to return my interest to sleep, but my back feels a bit more limber, and I am comfortable but for my throbbing ankle, which by itself would not keep me awake.

I wandered the house restlessly for a moment or two, and stepped out into the cool night air and looked for the stars. Living near a huge Intel facility that lights the night sky, seeing stars is not a given, and tonight the cloudy skies are illuminated from below; there were no stars to see tonight. I sat quietly in my studio (I love saying that!) for a time, contemplating the work in progress, and giving some thought to an idea developing in the periphery of my consciousness, and feeling ‘at home’. I am neither uncomfortably warm, nor feeling chilly. I am quite comfortable. I feel at ease.

Why the hell am I awake?

It’s a rhetorical question; there is no why. I am awake. The world is quiet and dark, at least from my current vantage point. No trouble-shooting required. I quietly amuse myself flipping through the evening’s Facebook feed. I am content with being awake, for the moment, and looking forward to the morning with friends at the Farmer’s Market.

Having read a considerable amount of the science available regarding sleep, I have my monitor brightness quite dim, and enough gentle room light to prevent the monitor from being a high-contrast light source. My intention is to prevent whatever I choose for entertainment or passing the time in the night from becoming something so stimulating that it actively prevents further sleep. I take a moment now and then for deep cleansing breaths, and a chance to observe the slow approach of the shores of dreamland. I’ve learned a lot about enjoying the wakefulness in the night without discouraging more sleep. I yawn. I smile. It’s coming…

I don’t know what tomorrow will hold, but poised wakefully in this moment between yesterday and tomorrow, feeling satisfied, balanced, and content, I’m feel ready for it. It’s been a lovely week.

It's been a week of colorful flowers...

It’s been a week of colorful flowers… skies...

…blue skies…

...and beautiful summer flowers in uncountable numbers...

…and beautiful summer flowers in uncountable numbers…

...and mornings chilly enough to catch bumble bees napping.

…mornings chilly enough to catch bumble bees napping…

...and hot sunny afternoons.

…and hot sunny afternoons.

It was a lovely week, indeed. I find myself yawning and thinking sleeping sounds like a fine idea…I wonder what tomorrow holds?