With The Pre-Dawn Crickets

Some nights, I just don’t get a good night’s sleep.  I’ll doze off for small, fitful chunks of time, have an unsettled dream, wake up with the wisps of the dream already fading, a racing heartbeat, and a dose of heartburn, look at the clock with a groan, and then try again.  Usually in the 4 a.m. time frame I jolt awake, give up on trying any more, and decide I might as well start the day.

IMG_7166When that happens, as it unfortunately did this morning, I like to open the windows, let the cool morning air wash in, look out the windows at the street light and empty sidewalks, and listen to the crickets against the blanketing backdrop of silence.  4 a.m. may be an out-of-joint time for us humans, but it seems to be prime time for the crickets.

It’s odd, but we seem to have far more cricket sound in our new semi-urban house in German Village, with its tiny gardens and yards separating buildings that are only a few feet apart, than we ever had in our suburban home in the rolling, white-fenced countryside of New Albany.  Perhaps the cricket noise is just more noticeable in the pre-dawn quiet in this place and setting, where we expect to hear people walking past and the sounds of cars rattling down the brick-paved streets.

I’d always prefer a sound sleep, of course, but when it just doesn’t happen it makes no sense to fight the reality, tossing and turning and becoming snarled in twisted sheets and blankets.  Far better to get up, enjoy the skin-tingling gusts of cool air that waft through the opened windows, appreciate the darkness and solitude, and try to develop a zen-like attitude and reflect on the world during a time of great calm.  The cricket symphony in the background helps.

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Dock Chair Of Solitude

If, like me, you are an early riser, you are used to moving around in the dim, dark, pre-dawn hours.  Those moments often offer the early bird a special solitude, and an unmatched opportunity for quiet, rewarding contemplation.

When you are in a remote place, like Lake Temagami, the sense of peaceful tranquility found in these early morning hours is multiplied tenfold.  A casually placed canvas chair on a dock becomes an irresistible perch where you can drink in the pure air, admire the crystalline sliver of the crescent moon far above, and watch the sky gradually turn from black, to charcoal, to deep blue.

I used that perch, and I thought no great thoughts on this quiet morning — but I did come away with a wonderful and satisfying sense of inner calm.