Friday, March 26, 2010

Staying awake

The wee hours of the morning are upon me now.  As I think I've mentioned to you before, this is when I come alive.  6pm is my 9am.  Around that time I feel like I finally start to wake up, think about what I'd like to accomplish, get a little excited for my day.  Except it's dinnertime and time to sit down and watch the college basketball tournament.  Round about midnight I get my midday burst of energy--tonight, since cute husband doesn't have class on Fridays, I convinced him to take a walk with me at 12:23am...and it's raining here.

As we were out walking I noticed lights on in a few windows and wondered if they were fellow night owls, or just up late seeing if K-State could pull it out over Xavier.  As we walked, a few cars pulled out of the parking lot and I wondered where they were going--to an overnight shift, or to Walgreen's for a kid with a late night ailment.

In college cute husband had to work an overnight shift one night a week.  At the time we were living far apart from one another and he would call me before he started his shift.  The eight hours of work that lay ahead of him always seemed so daunting because he had to endure them in the middle of the night.  There's something more terrible about doing your work in that kind of solitude.  I would wake up at 3am thinking, he only has five hours left, at 5 am, only three more hours, at 7:30, knowing he was watching the clock, doing the last few things before he could go home and sleep away the day.

When I was five or six, my brother (a baby at the time) had a god awful earache one night and I remember my dad going out at three in the morning to find something to ease the pain.  Even then I remember being worried at the thought of my dad driving all alone out on those dark quiet streets searching for the right medicine.  To six-year-old me, the whole scene was frightening and tragic, my baby brother's screams matched with my mom's worried face as she rocked him.  But in the morning he was fine again--for my parents it was just a mark along the timeline of their hectic lives, for me it had been a huge event, a spectacle that lives vividly in my memory even today.

I admit sometimes there is nothing more nourishing than a good night of rest.  The warmth--the familiar warmth--of your bed, the ability to close your eyes and think, despite every little hassle and tragedy of life, again, tomorrow.   But I have to say that staying awake a few times in your life almost always makes you a more interesting person.  It's a time to hear the strange creaks of your house, the ones that get lost in even the tiniest movements of daytime; a time to work tirelessly, alone with your thoughts, pushing through every urge to sleep.  And at 7am, as you hear the sounds of the world coming awake, you know that you have withstood the scary silence, and too the solitude, that masterful interrogator; you have lived time that others haven't.


  1. Loved this post. . makes me think of my own night owl days. Thanks for writing so well. I"m so glad you're back to more frequent blogging.I look forward to checking your thoughts each am. Talk to you soon.

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