Nuit Blanche

Here I am again at 4 AM.  Awake.  Sleepless. Torn between getting up and using this extra time in some productive way, and turning over and courting Morpheus.  I read somewhere that waking up at 4 AM (as opposed to 2 AM or 5 AM) signifies deep sadness and mourning.  Maybe I’m just mourning not being able to sleep till morning. Never read what 2 AM or 5 AM awakenings signify — indigestion and the need for a potty call, perhaps?

My yoga teachers say this is the perfect time to meditate, that the veil between the worlds is thinner on dawn’s cusp.  Which worlds would that be: the world of the sleep-blessed and the sleep-hungry?  I’ve never managed to access a world beyond the veil; as it is for most novices, meditation is a challenge. Sometimes I curl up against my husband, small comma nestling into larger one, and hope to end this sentence of sleeplessness. Other times, such as now, I abandon all hope of sleep and set to writing/thinking/considering….

Veils or no, there is indeed something magical about this time of night-into-day. The birds are awake and at it: baw-weep-weep-weep calls one; chi chi chi-chichitter calls another. The crows caw out their daily updates and the mourning doves trade plaints.  Beyond my window, a robin is bouncing on the roof. Is she really cocking her head and peering back at me as I write and watch her? The trees begin to emerge in the growing light. What moments before was a block of black now begins to recede, revealing a silhouette of branches, leaves, limbs. Soon enough the silhouettes give way to a swath of variegated greens . The hydrangeas appear; I swoon over the magical blue of them. It has taken three summers to get the soil acidic enough to mimic a Cape Cod sky. Pale pinks sometime streak the clouds at dawn; but not today. After a second night of rain, the heavens above remain white, heavy, wet. It is bright enough now to see the leafless limbs of our last elm tree. One more mighty giant is going to fall. The garden will be transformed once again: shade loving plants will give way to sun worshippers. Just as I get it going, I’m going to have to retrench and get out the books again. What will I lose? What might I replace it with? Three decades of gardening under my belt, I know not to fight it. This is the way of nature.

It is now close to six. Another nuit blanche, as the French call them, is gone. Time, perhaps, for a ninety minute cat-nap, and then a peaceful still-early morning walk to yoga.

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5 thoughts on “Nuit Blanche

  1. mira

    Debra – just a brief chirp to tell you that though it’s been a while since we connected directly, I always enjoy reading your musings. And I wanted to ask about your yoga class. I have a great teacher in Brighton for summer sessions but am searching for someone closer to home. Do tell.


  2. Debra Post author

    Hi Mira, So good to hear from you. Karma Yoga at Maple and Lahser is my go to place. Also Yoga for Life
    (Just off Eton near train station) if you want to explore what kundalni yoga is all about.

  3. Manny Kalef

    Hi Debra,

    Now I’ll know who to Email when I’m up at 3 or 4 or 5am. If I could only turn off my head.
    See you in Shul.


  4. Debra Post author

    With all the talk of sleeplessness, thought I’d share a potion that has worked for
    me and others in the past. From my yoga teachers. Called Golden Milk, and there
    are several recipes you can access on internet. Simplest one that I use:
    Heat 1 tsp of turmeric with 1 tbsp of almond oil. When mixture starts to bubble, add
    one cup of milk. Stir and heat till bubbles begin forming around edge of pan. Will
    kind of look like a harvest moon in your saucepan, deep yellow with all kinds of patterns.
    Pour into cup and sweeten with honey or maple syrup. Drink down and then….Nighty night.

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