After numerous bouts with 4 a.m. wake-up calls – the bewitching hour, I call it – I’ve devised a cure for insomnia. As the coquis wail in disunity and dark shadows of pigs scamper across the yard in steely moonlight, this is what you do:
You lie there.
You think of all the things that are troubling you.
You think of all the things you can do to ameliorate those troubles.
You think of all the things you’d like to do; need to do; want to do. You remind yourself as the tin roof creaks and snaps with changes in the humidity that all these things are available to you at your fingertips.
In a fit of turning restlessness you tell yourself: I’ll do it. I will quell the noxious bewitching.
You contemplate the steps you will follow :
- Get up and rummage through the pile of clean laundry in the darkness and find something to wear
- Walk quietly into the living room to avoid waking the resting geckos
- Unfold the laptop at the dining table
- Light a few candles to see by, because it’s winter and the battery power is low this time of day. Rather, night. (At 4am there await three more hours before sunrise, then another thirty minutes before the solar roof cells begin absorbing photons.)
- You will write.
That will surely keep you in bed until sunrise.
In time your bed-ridden contemplations marry glimmers of the coming day. You’ve managed to loop in and out of your good intentions via a discordant, synaptic symphony that’s been fomenting inside your brain for nearly two hours. How much of that was disguised as bits of sleep – the flipping from side to side, the staring out the window watching Saturn lumber in the sky – and how much of it was truly useful contemplation?
You know you’ve made it over the crest – survived another bout with the bewitching hour – when the shrieking of coquis yields to the songs of a multitude of birds. A pinkish, orangish shimmering starts slowly bubbling up along the horizon. In time, the full reassuring light of day will lift you, and everything that was familiar and forgotten will become new again.