The hours between 2am and 4am always seem to be the time when I am most troubled by wakefulness.
By this time I have usually had three or four hours sleep. Not full sleep as there are often periods of light sleep during this time where I know I am in bed and should be dreaming but for whatever reason, the pillow isn’t right, the fabric is scratchy, or I can hear an owl screeching outside. Not enough to make me sit up and take full notice, but just there in the background of what should be a period of nothingness.
Today I have just run a marathon. 26 miles. Not what you’ve come to expect from me I’m sure, as anything further than a light stroll normally has me calling for motorised vehicular transportation of some sort or another to convey me from point A to point B.
I am dripping wet. Sweat is trickling off me and the duvet and sheet is soaking. As I awake from what has obviously been a nightmare to result in such lathered proportions, I peel back the duvet to check I haven’t wet meself. Unfortunately during the latter stages of life we sometimes revert to a condition we thought left behind at childhood and require an ‘adult incontinence product’. Back to wearing a nappy! In this particular case tonight, you will undoubtedly be pleased to hear that the bladder has not released or given up its retentive powers. Anyway, that’s probably a side effect of the kidneys not functioning perfectly anymore! The joy of living a long life…
No, I’m just simply far too hot for my own good and the body has decided to attempt an inopportune bed bath to cool me down.
With the light on, I can now see the monster spider on the wall and in a fleeting, mind-wandering moment I think of the possibility of having been bitten and this sweating I’m experiencing is a reaction to the poison now coursing through my veins on its rampant journey toward the main pumping station in my chestal cavity. A precursor to an anaphylactic shock reaction? Hummm. The thoughts that worry and concern during the wee small hours of the night.
Now fully awake, the light on and the night terrors subsiding, I wonder whether anyone else is up and about at this unearthly hour. So reaching for the phone, I check the time, now 2.30am and flick open Facebook. The dreaded scrolling disease is something I must try to reduce. So after a quick check to find that indeed there are others up, or at least awake at this time and after a little thumb tapping interaction, I lay the phone back down, flick off the light and attempt to ignore the owl.
Five minutes, if that, has passed and my mind, now awake with the recent events of marathon running, venomous arachnids and thoughts of the loneliness of life itself troubling the little grey matter, I know that the night to sleep is lost. There is no point fighting it. So as I lay there, mulling over the events that have brought us to this point, I start to formulate a few lines.
Anyone who has, at this time of night, thought of a few lines to write, or what they might say to someone the next day, or maybe some bars of music or lyrics, will be well versed in what I’m about to commit to paper (figuratively speaking as I’m actually typing on the phone instead). There’ll be no problem remembering those few lines, bars or lyrics come the morning. I can remember everything now and, when I awake at first cock’s crow, I will jot it all down then. Yeah right! No chance. Not a prayer. Not a hope in a very hot place where a nasty chap with horns and a long pointy tail, waving a pitchfork resides. There’ll not be a Scoville’s chance of me remembering any of what I’ve been contemplating and as soon as the crowing cock’s call dies away, I’ll be left laying there, now wondering what it was I thought would be such a good idea to talk about earlier on.
Being or feeling lonely is a reaction to not having someone right there at your time of need. We live on an overpopulated lump of rock spinning through space and time for an incredibly short life span. A few summers, a few Christmases. We destroy our natural habitat, pollute the space and seas around us and do damage wherever we make contact. We feel we have a right to be here. To exist. To rule.
But we only have to take a 2am step outside our little structures we call home and look up to the night sky to be reminded of how small and insignificant we truly are.
So if we are this exploding population of disease or blight upon the face of the earth, why then do we still feel lonely? I note here (and stand to be corrected by anyone with a greater command of languages), both words ‘lonely’ and ‘alone’ are each made up of a couple of important words themselves. Lone(ly) and (al)one. Both meaning solitary, isolated, singular or individual.
Apart from the language issue of using the word ‘lonely’ as it is incongruous to think that we are truly ‘alone’, a better phrase to use would be ‘unable to share my thoughts with someone who cares’.
They say the hour before dawn is always the darkest, but simply by having read this far, you will know that there is at least one other person in the world who is alone with the thoughts and cares of this life running riot during the darkness of the night.
You are not alone in this dark night. My kettle is underemployed and as tonight has proved, my phone is always on. All you have to do is reach out and in the same way, that this blog is doing too. Reaching out into the darkness. Into that great expanse. To see if anyone is listening (or reading) and in some manner to connect and make contact and converse. One to one. To touch one another’s consciousness and to say “I am here”. When everything around you is dark or oppressive, there is someone who is waiting to listen.
It is now 5.30am. A new day dawns and with it the chance and expectation of a world of new possibilities. As the sun rises and sheds it’s welcome glow across the landscape of our lives, banishing thoughts that crowded the previous hours, as my kettle goes on for the morning coffee, every one of us has been given another day to share our joys and our heartaches with each other and hopefully, in some small way, offer that helping hand to anyone who is in need. Make use of every opportunity offered. ‘He who has ears to hear…’
Crack on chaps!