0300 hours

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I need to stop thinking about things at three in the morning. Nothing good can come of it. I’m not going to solve any problems at that hour, and, in fact, can easily take current ones and open the deepest, most vile aspects of what might only be minor inconveniences during the day.

But it is three am and I’m awake anyway, and I’m not going back to sleep now since I planned to get up at five to make an hour and a half drive before rush hour. So I’m up, and my mind races right toward a few issues which I know, I mean I’m convinced, will be just passing thoughts after breakfast. At this hour the cut on my ear is a rare form of some deadly disease, my income is dried up to nothing and I can maybe sell the wicker furniture I never use and use the money to buy spaghetti, and the bee I saw yesterday circling on the grass is an indication of one of the state’s largest hives just below the surface of the front lawn, and it’s going to cost thousands to hire an expert to move them to some other place.

I have a love/hate relationship with three am.

On the one hand in just a few minutes I’m usually conscious enough to remind myself I’m not yet fully conscious, and I can maybe understand that a weak mind prone to depression can relegate the best of who we are to some dark corner of the brain just to let the pessimistic angels have a free-for-all on the frontal lobe. On the other hand—and this might be the creative writing professor in me—dreams, whether while sleeping or only kinda sorta sleeping, often reveal some darker truths which need addressing but which get smothered by the forward motion and sun-infused, vitamin D stimulants of the day.   

But those truths—health, money, yellow-jackets—might need to be addressed and might be what wakes me up at three am to begin with.

Some people, I am told, always have complete control of their minds. I am not among them. Usually, of course, I am at the helm, even when the headwinds are seemingly unbearable and the seas seem rough. But there are times when some shadow-like mental glaucoma glazes over my mind and it simply goes where it wishes. This is the baggage carried by creative people, those who fight depression—chemical or situational—and those who didn’t get enough done on some project the rest of the world deems superficial, but which others count as essential to being able to breathe in and out.

And all of this bounces through my head while I sit here at my desk and it is now 3:35. I’ve dressed, too, and showered, and I’m going to head out early. 7/11 is not far, so caffeine-induced full consciousness is not far, clarity, the ability to put life in perspective and delegate these issues to their proper importance.

Sometimes I forget I live in the country near a river and a bay so there’s nothing but natural light at 3:45 am.

I step off the porch and am immediately taken aback by Orion, by the Pleiades, by the vast distance between stars and the immeasurable possibility that can be found in hope. There is no pharmaceutical that can replace this stimulant; no amount of caffeine can disrupt this majestic truth of night.  

I love waking at 3 am. Clearly, I pay a price; I must dive first into the dark waters, but when I brush aside the clouds of unknowing, I am awash with possibility again.

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