Sunday, July 3, 2011


As I ran today I felt awake for the first time in about 6 days. And it wasn't a groovy, existential kind of awake. I am talking awake as in not feeling like I immediately need to lie down and take a nap. I can blame this on night shift. I can blame it on not sleeping well or enough on days after night shift when I switched back to day shift. Then I can blame it on being back on night shift again. But this is not really that interesting. We all know night shifts are bad for us. So far though, I've noticed people get sick on nights, holidays and weekends just as much as they do at more convenient times. Drat!

So I ran today, for the first time in several days actually (see above about my practical narcolepsy this week). I was anticipating pain and sorrow, but instead I met the beauty of my woods, the glory of another sunny day, and the unexpected power of my legs. Maybe sleep (which I did do all day) has something to offer. Hmmm, I must ponder that one and file it somewhere for future use.

At the fair the other day, I bought a necklace that says "wake up." It has some musical notes on it to. I don't know what it means, really, but I liked it. It spoke to me. Here, in northern California, one must consider the deeper meaning, the invitation to be truly alive and aware and not to miss the beauty and ugliness and everything in between that our precious life offers. But I propose that that phrase "wake up"in its deeper, spiritual sense, can only be truly appreciated and understood by someone who has been dead tired. Physically exhausted. Hardly able to keep their eyes open. Yet forced or compelled or required to do just a few things more in the name of their job, or their crying child, or their sick loved one. Physical fatigue removes joy. Sleep restores it. To be truly awake, I believe you'd first better get some decent sleep.

I ran, and I was awake. The woods were a perfect canvas of light streaming between the towers of redwoods. The scent of eucalyptus filled my heart. The well-earned vista of bay and ocean from the top of the hill erased the discomfort of the climb. But now, I need to grab a cup of coffee, because tonight....back to night shift.


  1. As a former denizen of the night . . . my insight? God is still with you. I bought a necklace that reads, sweet melody. And like you, one has to have heard ugly sounds, whether car crashes, angry words, snapping bones, rock slides . . . to appreciate life's sweet melodies. Even at night!

  2. There is a certain mystique in the sound of a train passing in the night. Even though I know it's probably only freight, I see "The City of New Orleans" carrying it's passengers into the deep south. Then there is the sound of a siren. Upon hearing one, I usually whisper a short prayer. But your post also reminds me that there are people who work through the night, tending to those in need. I've never worked shifts, but I guess it's hard. But I also suppose it is greatly appreciated by the lucky ones who've found someone to be there for them at 3:00 a.m.