Friday, October 31, 2008

3 am

Here it is, the 3 am hour, and I am awake. This is not an occurrence of insomnia, but a choice I make, sometimes. So much of the city is sleeping, but there are those of us who thrive on these small chunks of time.... somewhere between nightfall and daybreak, smack in the middle, where there is a space so solitary, and alive. Just as people have a "power spot" or a "happy place" that they go to physically or mentally... I have a power time, and for me it is around 3 am. It has a lot to do with the way things quiet down, and a tangible stillness that encompasses the hour. Of course, as I write this, a car whooshes by, and my skin anticipates the subway train shiver that finds its way to the 6th floor. Here it comes now... just a stop or 2 away, and I can hear it.

Those things, singled out, and not bunched with the business of the day, are suddenly lovely in their individuality.

I know this quieting down even in the country, where, at first, there seems to be quiet even in the daytime.... But that's the mistaken city sensibility. After a short while I understand the sounds of the day and night, no matter where I am.

Up in the mountains it's a cradle of quiet at this time. A highway in the distance may sing out the sweet whistle of an passing 18-wheeler catching the road before dawn. There are the stars humming above. This is something you rarely, if ever, hear in the city, no matter the time. When stars blanket above you, there is a vibration, far different from traffic and trains... far different from the thousands of electric light waves wending their way down and through Manhattan, and deep into the outer boroughs. Starlight is pure, there in the cradle of a mountain... and if you are still enough, at this hour, you can hear and feel the shimmer.

It's a good time to write about these quiet moments. ... And here comes the train.