The Upside of Insomnia

Have you ever gotten up before sunrise? Sure, many people do. They get up, get ready for work, and hustle to get where they need to be. My question really is, have you ever gotten up before sunrise and watched the world, really taken it in? Have you looked around at what Mother Nature is doing at 04:30? On Sunday, 2 Sept 2012, I did and it was beautiful.

I say I got up, but I never went to sleep. My wife and I had gone away for a couple of days to a nice hotel. She got some spa treatments and I got to see some marvelous sites. Rather than disturb my wife, I just sneaked out and had a date with that other fabulous woman in my life, Mother Nature.

It all started with a good cup of coffee and the impromptu decision to take a walk around a little lake. First, I looked up because I practice what I preach. Stargazing is free, beautiful, and wondrous. On this particular morning I got to see Jupiter play with Taurus the bull and Venus rise with Gemini. There were so many bright stars, Sirius, Betelgeuse, Rigel, Procyon, Aldebaran, Capella, Castor, and Pollux. It was an amazing sky. I could only think how modern humans have lost touch with the rhythm of the spheres. Our farming ancestors saw these sights daily and for us, they’re a rare, but wondrous, treat.

Then I looked down. I watched a spider spin a web. She was working like her life depended on it to complete her net. Maybe because her life did depend on it. She needed to finish that web to catch her next meal. She and several of her friends had picked a spot on a fence rail right next to a light. They instinctually knew the light would attract their prey. I inadvertently, touched the light and it clicked off. I wondered just how my action changed the courses of those insects lives. Did I just save a moth and kill a spider because of my actions? I wondered if God thought of us that way.

But I carried on. I said, “Good morning,” to some ducks who weren’t particularly happy to have me in such close proximity. They quacked backed something about waking them up and wanting to be left alone while they looked for breakfast. I even stopped to apologized to a tree. It was a beautiful specimen, but had been engineer by the hand of man to be sterile. I considered what it would be like to never even have the chance to pass on any genetic material, to be the last of a line with no hope of continuing into the future. Tree, I’m truly sorry.

I walked around that lake about ten times. I finally got bored with arguing with those ducks. They really have anger issues. Slowly the sun came up. I imagined that my chronic, circular path was some sort of tread-mill, turning the earth with each revolution. Each time my direction changed eastward, I felt as if I was falling toward the treed horizon. I would look back at the just-past-full moon to get my bearings and reassure myself that I wasn’t falling off the edge of the world.

They other fantastic thing about a 5AM walk is you can sing along to the music in your headphone without disturbing anyone or feeling embarrassed. The only drawback is those ducks will never join my fan club.

The sky I saw from Huntsville, AL
The amazing sky I saw from Huntsville, AL
View of the Westin from across the lake.
View of the Westin from across the lake.

2 thoughts on “The Upside of Insomnia

  1. Enjoyed the read. I really looked at your pic of the view from across the lake because you said you were in Alabama but the clouds behind the Westin look like mountains. Very nice.

    1. You’re right. On the left it sort of does look like a mountain, but trust me, we don’t have any mountains that big in Bama. Not a bad pic for a quick snap with my phone though.

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