Last night was one of my darkest nights in recent memory. Insomnia had me awake until nearly 5:00 this morning. I had decided not to watch television; not even my staple of late-night shows (reruns of favorites from my youth, Alfred Hitchcock, Mannix, and 77 Sunset Strip) had any appeal. No music could console me. Not any of my hundreds of albums which, just the night before, I had “bragged” to a friend could suit my every mood. Nor could I bear the thought of even approaching my keyboard or my guitar, much less trying to work my vocal cords into a melody.
I spent the entire night in silence, losing myself in games—crossword puzzles, Solitaire, a generic yet addictive version of Tetris….
My faithful companion, Roxie, waited silently for me on the couch.
On my Facebook page, I wrote:
Terrible Insomnia. I can’t let go of worrying.
At about 4:30 AM, I was surprised to receive loving responses from friends to my cryptic missive. What were they doing up at that ungodly hour? Some, it turns out, were gripped by their own insomniac demons.
By the time I went to bed, with Roxie by my side, the dark night was turning to morning.
For six hours, I slept soundly—a deep and dreamless sleep as silent stars went by [paraphrasing a line from O Little Town of Bethlehem].
I awakened slowly, spent some time on the phone with a dear friend, dressed, and took Roxie out for her daily run and my daily exercise, both of us patrolling the perimeter of the yard, Roxie running up the hill with ease; I lumbering up behind her. At times, I stood at the top of the hill, watching Roxie race back down it, making sure she didn’t try to wriggle through—or under—one of the holes in the fence surrounding our yard.
Now, nearly 12 hours after I laid my weary head down, I come back to the issue at hand: I can’t let go of worrying.
But I did let go! My family members who are ill are still alive and kicking; my financial problems are still there, waiting on me to solve them, or at least keep them at bay; my house of 23 years may be a mess, but it provides me a solid roof over my head, running water—hot and cold, and a space in which to breathe and dream and hope for better days.
So what, if I don’t have a dream right now? What does it matter if, today, I need silence more than music? This is just a moment in time. And tomorrow is another day.