Here I am again at 4 AM. Awake. Sleepless. Torn between getting up and using this extra time in some productive way, and turning over and courting Morpheus. I read somewhere that waking up at 4 AM (as opposed to 2 AM or 5 AM) signifies deep sadness and mourning. Maybe I’m just mourning not being able to sleep till morning. Never read what 2 AM or 5 AM awakenings signify — indigestion and the need for a potty call, perhaps?
My yoga teachers say this is the perfect time to meditate, that the veil between the worlds is thinner on dawn’s cusp. Which worlds would that be: the world of the sleep-blessed and the sleep-hungry? I’ve never managed to access a world beyond the veil; as it is for most novices, meditation is a challenge. Sometimes I curl up against my husband, small comma nestling into larger one, and hope to end this sentence of sleeplessness. Other times, such as now, I abandon all hope of sleep and set to writing/thinking/considering….
Veils or no, there is indeed something magical about this time of night-into-day. The birds are awake and at it: baw-weep-weep-weep calls one; chi chi chi-chichitter calls another. The crows caw out their daily updates and the mourning doves trade plaints. Beyond my window, a robin is bouncing on the roof. Is she really cocking her head and peering back at me as I write and watch her? The trees begin to emerge in the growing light. What moments before was a block of black now begins to recede, revealing a silhouette of branches, leaves, limbs. Soon enough the silhouettes give way to a swath of variegated greens . The hydrangeas appear; I swoon over the magical blue of them. It has taken three summers to get the soil acidic enough to mimic a Cape Cod sky. Pale pinks sometime streak the clouds at dawn; but not today. After a second night of rain, the heavens above remain white, heavy, wet. It is bright enough now to see the leafless limbs of our last elm tree. One more mighty giant is going to fall. The garden will be transformed once again: shade loving plants will give way to sun worshippers. Just as I get it going, I’m going to have to retrench and get out the books again. What will I lose? What might I replace it with? Three decades of gardening under my belt, I know not to fight it. This is the way of nature.
It is now close to six. Another nuit blanche, as the French call them, is gone. Time, perhaps, for a ninety minute cat-nap, and then a peaceful still-early morning walk to yoga.