Friday, October 10, 2008

Insomnia as a Gift

I woke at a quarter before three this morning. I tried to go back to sleep for a few minutes before deciding it was a lost cause. I got up, went outside, and was surprised that the temp was only 41F/5C. So far, we're not having much of an Indian Summer.

I had trouble getting to sleep big time throughout my childhood. I could seldom seem to stop my mind from racing. Often, I'd turn to reading. I discovered reading for pleasure in earnest during the third grade, thanks to Mrs. Goodrich, who helped me discover its joys.

My insomnia got better when I turned fifteen. It never went away entirely, but the torturous nights of my childhood were more or less left behind.

In recent years, I've had a different kind of insomnia now and then: I'll wake up early. That never happened during my childhood.

I've never liked getting up early in the morning, but I've always enjoyed being up before dawn. I sit here now at my laptop, while Rhonda and Dylan sleep away, and I feel like I'm watching over the world. I remember being eleven years old on Sunday mornings, delivering newspapers before dawn. I felt much the same way. I felt like I was watching over the world from a bicycle.

There is a spiritual feeling that comes over me when I'm awake before dawn, like I'm hooked into life more intensely. Life's secrets seem barely out of reach before dawn, instead of somewhere over the horizon. The joys of life crowd out the burdens and the sorrows. And always, there's the feeling that I've been tasked with, well, watching.

Maybe that spiritual mandate doesn't include watching over the trash. I was lazy last night, and didn't take the trash out all the way to the trailer. (We live kind of "out in the sticks," y'know.) The raccoons managed to tear into the trash between the time I first got up and now, and I didn't hear a thing. Maybe they have a spiritual mandate to punish me for being lazy.

Sneaky bastards.


Algernon said...

It's the best time of day. The price is getting up.

Debby said...

Life lesson for the day, Hal: easier to walk the trash all the way out than to pick it all up the next morning. Life lessons are everywhere! :^D

Hal Johnson said...

I guess I'm a slow learner, Debby, since the raccoons have offered those lessons on several other occasions.

Debby said...

Want I should send a bear to teach ya?

Hal Johnson said...

Actually, a bear episode will be the subject of a future post. No more bear lessons, please.

We have a little female black bear in our neighborhood, but she never gets in our trash because she's scared of Gomez, aka "Ten and a Half Pounds of Fury."

Annie said...

You have a bear in your neighborhood? Seriously? I'd have permanent insomnia. I've lived with insomnia since I was 10 - it worsens when I'm under stress. It's been bad lately. But I don't mind when I waken early - I love to be alone in the early morning hours.

Kelly said...

That pre-dawn time really can be magical. When my kids were growing up I always got up early to have "devotion time" before facing the busyness of the day.

As for insomnia... I never suffered from it much until mid-life (I'll spare you the details). When it does occur, I usually try to "pray" myself back to sleep. If that doesn't work, well... at least I've had some good prayer time!

Pam said...

Now that I'm subbing every day, I get up at 5 to get myself ready and have some quiet time before I have to get the boys up at 6 when the daily rush really begins and rarely winds down until, if I'm lucky, 8 pm.

Yesterday was a rough day at school. I got a sharp elbow to the cheekbone. VERY painful!

I greeted the day with a nice shiner!

TGIF!!!! I need the weekend!

Bob said...

I so agree, it IS the best time of day. And nothing like a friendly dog to assure you are up. Ralph comes in around 5 a.m., starts smacking his lips, then jumps up next to me and stares at me until I get up.

quid said...

Gettin' caught up with you, Hal. I try to treat my lifelong insomnia as a gift of extra time. It's a way to look at it positively. Since I passed that ...err... time in a woman's life, it has really improved.

Got an Insomnia poem buried somewhere. It was on Pearlsoup, which we hope will be resurrected. I'll dig it out and blog it. You got me going.