The Wee Small Hours
The Wee Small Hours
It seems that the night and darkness in general are dominating my memories and my writing at the moment. I suppose it’s only natural as we approach the clocks going back. I have always had a mixture of feelings about reverting to GMT as it were. That extra hour in bed was a novelty; yet the sleep thief always took back what it owned in the Spring!
I find it ironic that as I grow older and sleep, even simple rest seem harder to embrace. My body may be still, but my mind is always moving. Yes I know we dream etcetera, etcetera… but I am referring to the chosen thoughts as well as the ones that intrude without knocking. I could go on and on about sad times even fear-filled nights, but if I can celebrate one thing it is that now I embrace the sleepless hours as well as the soothing darkness. Much of my creativeness is borne from the absence of solar stimuli and distracting daylight.
As a schoolboy I could ‘sleep for England & the Commonwealth’ as my mum would say and even when I started on the Footplate the habit did not leave me. Although the ‘cracks’ were starting to appear. I remember one experience from those railway days in particular. I had started work at around teatime on the Friday and the usual distracting shapes and sights of a cross-London night freight kept my attention on high alert. Fourteen hours later (yes dear reader I will spare you the blow-by-blow account and the reasons for so many hours) I sank into my old feather bed and the urgent desire of a still growing body sank me into a dead sleep so deep that a close too thunderbolt would have been wasted on me. I did not wake until the Monday…what a waste!
The cycle of day into night, night into day will always be a contrast for me. I am easily distracted and daylight offers plenty of opportunities in that way. Paradoxically I am not a ‘night owl’ and the ceaseless battering of thoughts often terminate my slumber very, very early and long before the dawn. I suppose I am to thinking in the dark and imagining as an owl is to hunting. Only when the dawn breaks does my mind say “stand down, dismiss! ”