We wake up sometimes into the small hours of the night. We are past midnight, but far enough from the dawn that we are certain of only the night.
Why we wake may vary. It may be a sound. It may be a thought. It may be an image carried from a dream. It may be a memory or the echo of a memory. It may be a question. It may be that, lying there in the darkness, alone, we have an answer. It may be a question without an answer. It may be the answer with a question.
There are many things it may be. The only certainty is that we are awake in the small hours of the night.
When it happens to me, like it is happening tonight, I often reach for the constant companionship of my journal. I will take the time to write about whatever is passing through my mind, or I will jot down those unassociated and fragmentary thought streams that are flowing.
That done I will turn to the company of a good book, be it a novel or collection of short stories or poetry. Sometimes I will need to dig deeper and turn to something sacred. Sometimes I will meditate, or kneel in prayer, or pace like some caged beast. Sometimes I will sit in the darkness of the living room and listen to far off voices on the radio. Sometimes I will sit outside and listen to the night sounds of the city of San Jose.
Tonight, there is no particular ghost that haunts me. Laying here tonight, wide awake, I have conjured a few ghosts. But they are the summoned ghosts of reflection. They are not the haunting spirits of the things I have done and failed to do. They have come to sit with me and ponder, to lull me back to sleep with the quiet conversation of memory, not spin me deeper into the blackness.
It is three AM Pacific time on the morning of Monday, June 23rd. I walk around the worlds time zones and think of those I know and love in distant lands. Some are, like me, in the small hours of the night. Some are watching that night give way to dawn. Some are entering the early hours of afternoon, some slipping into evening.
I wonder at what each of them was doing at this eternal hour that stretches forever through the small hours of the night. I smile at the thought somewhere in that eternal hour each person found a slice of hope to go with their coffee. If not, I will be happy to share mine. Sent via BlackBerry by AT