Doug Bruns

Posts Tagged ‘insomnia’

When the animals come for you.

In Life on March 20, 2012 at 6:59 am

The sun rises around 6:45. I’ve enjoyed it recently over several consecutive mornings, coming up over Bug Light and illuminating the river Fore. I’ve also seen the darkness that precedes sunrise by several hours, as I’ve had trouble sleeping. Up at three or four seems to be the course these days. So disconcerting is this that I’ve resorted to writing Twitter poems during these hours. Poems of 140 characters or less. I wrote this one yesterday:

Of the things I’m losing | Memory | Energy | Money | Sleep is most | Mourned

I am suffering from what my Buddhist friends call Monkey Mind. I wake up at three or four in the morning and my mind bolts upright, as if fully caffeinated and, like a monkey, starts swinging tree to tree, thought to thought, terror to terror. All night troubles become night terrors.

This seems a special plague, as I’m not troubled really. My mind though, like a thing out of control, is searching for trouble. I would say, Better my mind than my body, but the mind is more the master, the body the servant. The body can be disciplined but it’s tough to usurp the master.

My mother used to get up early, awakened by the rumblings of her mind. She was deeply religious. She said she was getting “the calling,” like an early morning telegraph from God. I have no religious leanings, and am hearing no call. I remember discovering years ago that many men–it is always men–come to farming late in life after getting a call to till the soil. I don’t like dirt under my fingernails so I’m certain I’m not being called to farm.

Evolution probably has something to do with it. I can’t help but think that night alerts played a large role in the success of the species. The fire gone out, the tribe asleep, as one individual wakes up, attuned to something amiss. Night is when the animals come for you. Night terror was then truly terror, no doubt. That is a type of calling too.

Mark Twain said he was never quite sane in the night. This gives me comfort, as I feel so out of sorts as to be somewhat insane too. It is not a good place to be and my compassion for those afflicted has risen as a result. “Wait until it is night before saying that it has been a fine day,” the French say and never was that more true than these nights–or, rather, mornings.

The night path is full of obstacles. I’ve grown to shuffling my feet on the path and as I trip over something, I pick it up and examine it. I study it and weigh it, then examine it all over again. Only upon daybreak do I see it to be nothing more than a pebble. But in the night it certainly is a boulder.

I don’t know what to make of this, another in a list of growing unknow-ables. It is a point of reflection, something to ponder–until night fall. Then the animals come for me.