19 December 2012

Wednesday Morning 3:00 am

I awoke this morning at 3:00am. My dreams were not disturbing or uninteresting, and so I cannot attribute the early rising to them. Since I own a smartphone, I have no need for a clock in the bedroom: returning from the bathroom at 3:00am I looked for the time on the phone, and along with the time I noted three text messages had been sent and had arrived and awaited my response. It was too early to do so, and I attempted to return to sleep. But on my mind were the messages and suddenly like at the start of a race my mind took off and sleep ran away with my thoughts.
I have developed in this modern world a sense of urgency that seems akin to Thoreau’s life of quiet desperation. I seem too often distracted from a quiet that would be nurturing by someone’s call or an event’s demands. I have lost not only my sense of aloneness but my sense of solitude. And I understand that I have not so much as lost these things as I have given them up for presence. From fear of loneliness (that is distinct from aloneness) and isolation (that results in a painful silence), I have plugged myself in multiple means to the world as if into the multiple outlets of the surge protectors that multiplies about the house. I seem too often to be headed ‘out there’ rather than to remain in some peace ‘in here.’ Perhaps during this sabbatical I might learn to be alone. In “Solitude” Thoreau writes: “With thinking we may be beside ourselves in a sane sense. By a conscious effort of the mind we can stand aloof from the actions and their consequences; and all things good and bad, go by us like a torrent.” It is such an activity I desire and a solitude I seek.
But I would note that it is no accident that the very next chapter is entitled “Visitors” and begins, “I think that I love society as much as most, and am ready enough to fasten myself like a bloodsucker for the time to any full-blooded man that comes in my way. I am naturally no hermit, but might possibly sit out the sturdiest frequenter of the bar-room, if my business called me thither.” Unbroken solitude becomes oppression, and if his business calls him thither, Thoreau could sit at the bar until the final call if it were conversation he drank and not liquor, and if it were business and not desperation that called him there. Thoreau knew this, and suggests to me that there was life out there in society to be enjoyed as was his wont, but that should not serve as a distraction from his life. First there had to be business out there, and then happily there he would venture.
And so perhaps the messages at 3:00am to which I attend might be understood not as the business of the immediate moment, but the thoughts of a friend who would be happily my business when I have need of blood.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What blood type are you?

22 December, 2012 19:25  

Post a Comment

<< Home