Usually I sit up all night on a hill some time near midsummer, as a religious dedication. Not this year. It’s nearly 5am, I am sleepless and typing, with Tom keeping me company via skype, and James asleep next to me. I am heavy with tiredness – more than physical, this is a soul deep weariness and it tastes a little bit like defeat. This time of night does that to a person.
There comes a time on those summer night vigils when I start to believe that it’s never going to get light again. It was similar for me this last winter, with the ice and cold so overwhelming that it became hard to imagine sun and warmth returning. In such long nights and hard times it is easy to see why our ancestors might have seen evidence of gods in these momentous changes. The sun rise, when you’ve sat up waiting for it all night and endured the darkness, is a miracle. Everything is made new. The world becomes innocent again.
I haven’t been sleepless like this in a while – it used to be a regular part of my life, but this last year I mostly had the insomnia licked. Tonight I can’t quite find the knack. And it will knock out today, which is unhelpful, but, I have the interweb and there are useful things I can be doing, like this.
Beyond the curtains, the sky grows pale, and I think of a time, a year ago, when Tom and I talked on skype for the first time, until I realised dawn had started beyond the window. I think of festivals, and rolling into bed with the dawn chorus. Heart pounding so hard in my chest that rest seems beyond me. And when it comes, it will be a heavy, drunken sort of sleep.
It’s been the longest, darkest night in a while. I remember other long dark nights, I cry for them as I cry for this one. Maybe that’s in part what the vigils – intended and unintended – are. A chance to step into the darkness, and wait for the sun to return, trusting that it will. Light comes back, things get better.
And so for today, in the early hours, I end my instalment of what someone charmingly called ‘that disgusting blog of yours’ hoping that she is still reading. If you seek for signs of yourself in other people’s writing, you may find them. If you look for evidence of cruelty and persecution directed your way, you may well find those too – not because they are there, but because you see that way. If you, dear readers, imagine that I go to all this effort for you, personally… what can I say? I write these blogs for me, in the hopes that they turn out to be useful to others. They are a record of the journey, not an attempted assault. After the long night, there may be morning, and I may even be awake enough to see what it brings.