Tuesday, March 1, 2011


There are many reasons I may be awake at 5am on any given day.  Lately, I've been getting up three times a week at that time to go swimming with my mom.  It is great exercise for me because it is so low impact on my joints and I love spending that quality time with my momma.

Other nights, I just haven't gone to sleep yet by the time 5am rolls around.  I've mentioned several times that I am a night owl.  For some reason, I really come alive around 10pm and that's when I often break out my paints, ink, or pencils.  Occasionally, I'll have a great creative session with myself, some, tea, some tunes, and just lose track of time.

And still, there are nights where I go to my bed with good intentions around 11pm or midnight, but due to my location (I live above a bar and across the street from a bar), my loud neighbor, the pain, and my sometimes racing thoughts, I often find myself frustratingly tossing and turning and searching for my earplugs. 

It's funny, I can tell what time it is by the noises I hear outside my bedroom window.  The bars usually get busy around 10 or 11pm and I can hear people, still relatively sober  and excited about their night, walking from their cars to the bar.  I live on a street that separates the city from the county, so the bar across the street from me has to close by 1am, and the bar below me closes at 3am.  This makes for not one exodus from the bar, but two.  By 4am, I hear the bar workers empty trashcans full of bottles into the dumpster behind my building.  And shortly after, around 4:30am, the garbage truck comes. 

It is by these sounds, that I often know just how many hours of sleep I'm missing.  On occasion, I'll just get up when I can't sleep, but I wait until around 5am- it is the only time there is no noise or sounds coming from anywhere.  It is completely quiet with the exception of a car driving by every now and then.   I'll go into the living room, light a candle, make some tea, and sit on my couch, enjoying the calm, the quiet.

I had insomnia pretty bad when I was a girl.  In my childhood home, I would lay awake in my bed, in the darkness and watch the shadows on my wall.  Cars driving by would make the shadows dance, and it made me feel connected to something bigger.  Often, this was the only peace I knew.  Those shadows reminded me that I wasn't alone in this world.  I'm not sure why, but it was so relaxing to watch the shadowplay.

I felt a similar calm and peace the other day when I decided to get up and enjoy the quiet.  I watched the shadows in my apartment as the rain fell, and everything felt... right.


  1. Emily! This is such a fantastic post. When I cannot sleep (which is all too often), I get pissed and just lay there or toss and turn. I love how you have turned it into something so positive. I'll be sure to remember that going forward. I'll relish the quiet time instead of cursing it. THANK YOU. xo, Shannon

  2. Thanks, S! Trust me, though, I get pissed, too, when I can't sleep- especially when my neighbor starts slamming doors and yelling:( That's why I relish the quiet times even more!

  3. This is such an honest post. While I often whine about the bar across the street or the street noise below, you describe it. The pictures you captured and the adventures you have during the darkness of night are beautiful. Thanks for the reminder of shadow dancing, I look forward to celebrating that tonight.

  4. Muse, I hope you enjoy your subtle shadowplays tonight.
    And believe me, I do plenty of whining, too;)

  5. When I wake at 5 I am right there with ya.

    When I wake up just after midnight (like I did last night) not so much.

    It is only 8 pm and I cannot even believe I am still functioning.

  6. Brooke- I've been there! Go to sleep;)