Four in the morning


It’s four in the morning.

Blackness outside the window, peppered by lightning streaking the sky, revealing skeleton trees and lone patches of snow.

Thunder rumbles incessantly in the distance, clearing its throat, mumbling of possible rain showers.

I dreamed restlessly as lightning and thunder negotiated in the dark of night.

In dreams Creativity wrote, wrote, wrote.  In half-awake tossing and turnings, words rose like phantoms creating St. Patrick’s Day nattering, full-sprouted paragraphs arising like chattering ghosts, endless talk, talk, talk.

Finally, at 3:21, a magic hour, a witching hour, I tossed back the covers and arose, padding silently out into the living room, don’t wake Barry.  The electrical pulsing of lightening filled our house in the woods, light, dark, light, dark.

Turned on lights; crept downstairs to start a fire in the wood stove.  A million times in this lifetime:  crumple newspaper, five pieces of cedar kindling, two smallish logs, one larger log, flick match against box, ignite paper.  Burn, baby, burn.  Close wood stove.  Leave damper open.  Wait on green couch in basement, silent, watching fire crackling and lightening pulsing, until the stove burns fierce and the motor whirs and now heat dances upward through the ducts warming the chilled house.

Upstairs now.  Click on the gas stove, lighting burner.  Heat water to boiling, peering into the teas.  What kind?  Something soft, healing, earthy.  Feeling the edges of a cold, just swallowed Vitamin C, how about Breathe Easy?  Haven’t sipped this brew in maybe two years.  The paper teabag promotes: “Honey may be beneficial, especially in dry climates.”  I spoon a teaspoon of organic Korean honey and stir, dissolving it.  The teabag says brew 10-15 minutes and drink three cups daily.  I wait eight minutes and sip.  Ahhh…

Sometimes when we’re awake in the middle of the night we long for sleep like its our best friend.  We fuss about how we’ll feel in morning’s light, or perhaps dawn’s rain.  We want.  Sleep.  Now.

I feel perfectly content in this wakefulness.

Lightening and thunder and the hum of the wood stove motor fills the silent house, along with the click of the keyboard, click, click, click.

It’s enough.

More than enough.

Sleep well, world.  Let your dreams lead you in wakefulness and slumber…

Post Script in daylight:

Lyrics to Bachman-Turner Overdrive which Barry and I listened to over coffee at 7:10 this morning:

I’d like you to know at four in the morning

Things are coming mine

All I’ve seen, all I’ve done

And those I hope to find

I’d like to remind you at four in the morning

My world is very still

The air is fresh under diamond skies

Makes me glad to be alive

Kathy’s note:  The diamond skies were twinkling with lightning.  We didn’t get a drop of rain from the electrical storm.  Weather forecast today:  70 degrees. (21.1 Celsius.)  Hard to imagine it’s still mid-March.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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59 Responses to Four in the morning

  1. Joanne says:

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Kathy. It sounds like you may lready have all of the wishes sent to you in this Irish Blessing ~

    “May you always have walls for the winds,
    a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
    laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
    and all your heart might desire”. 🙂

  2. lynnekovan says:

    Such a positive post. I love the way you deal with early waking. Thank you for that, I always knew it was best to just get up and enjoy the stillness (or not if there’s a thunder storm) of the night.

    • Kathy says:

      Lynn, I don’t always deal with it this well. For some reason it was possible last night just to celebrate the storm and being awake with it.

  3. Elisa's Spot says:

    YAY!!! Lightning and thunder!!!

    You have made all of that sound and seem so snuggly. Time without interference to notice. I happen to be liking those moments more of late. I cannot hear the grass growing yet. Though, there are many many things to notice between the sky and the grass! Offers sage tea hehehe…

    • Kathy says:

      It was snuggly. I am tired today, though and haven’t napped yet. Did sit out under a tree for a while. Trying to sit out under a tree every day. We’ll see…

  4. bearyweather says:

    Thunderstorms in March? Crazy. Just as crazy and northern Minnesota have highs in the 70’s in the middle of March. It was an unthinkable wish that has actually happened. We usually have a blizzard in March. Are you holding your breath in hopes Winter does not reappear?

    • Kathy says:

      Crazy weather indeed, bearyweather. It’s almost 80 right now. We have all our windows open–hoping no birds fly in, because it’s way to early to put up screens. Flies everywhere. I am certain Winter shall reappear. Doesn’t it always?

  5. rehill56 says:

    I slept like a baby through all that! I’m surprised…
    Happy St. Patty’s day. I have had a few of those early morning times and they are quiet and reflective and useful!

    Enjoy your day!

    • Kathy says:

      Ruth, the thunder rumbles were so low, I’m not surprised. But the lightning flashes were everywhere for the longest time. If I hadn’t been dreaming of writing (with all the subsequent mental activity) I would have probably slept through it, too. Hoping you’re enjoying this near-80 degree day! In Aura! In March! Heavens!

      • rehill56 says:

        It was a wonderful day…full of cleaning and open windows and husband rototilling garden and visions of summer to come….ah it WAS summer yesterday and today looks like it promises the same! (So glad your facility is functional!)

  6. Brenda Hardie says:

    Good Morning Kathy 🙂 This was a very comforting and uplifting post today….thank you. You described the serenity of the predawn hours at your cozy house in the northwoods perfectly…I felt like I was right there. There has been such strange weather lately…should we be concerned you think? Being 2012 and all? I don’t feel worried but I have been more aware of the changes (drastic changes it feels like) all over. I mean we’re expected to hit 80 degrees today!! In March!! The morning temperature is 63 degrees already (it was 61 late last night when I turned off the computer…felt like a summer night!) By the way…I love thunderstorms 🙂 although am not a big fan of lightning. Looks like we might get a boomer or two tonight too. Thanks for the trip down memory lane with the music 🙂 Have a great St. Patty’s Day Kathy 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      I am still convinced 2012 has MUCH potential for spiritual growth for all of us, Brenda. It’s near 80 degrees here now with flies buzzing everywhere. We are installing a new toilet. Is that too much information? Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you, too. Are you wearing green? I am wearing black, tut, tut.

      • Brenda Hardie says:

        lol…not too much information…just occasional household repairs 🙂 I have been helping Alex (my 11 year old) with his science fair project about…weather! I have not had to do one of these before so it’s all new to me and I am feeling confused at all the information and how to narrow it down. Maybe I need to go back to school….NOT. lol No…I’m not wearing green either…gray, red and white here. We hit 79 degrees today, with wind and sunshine…yep…the bugs are out and the birds are back 🙂 Buds showing on the trees and shrubs too.
        Hope the toilet replacing has gone smoothly 🙂

  7. Love the image of skeleton trees, Kathy. Love the entire mood of this post–the pace–the echoe of images–the sense that morning, like your tea, is brewing. Beautiful writing, my friend.

    I too love to waken in the middle of the night–to sit quietly with a cup of tea and write. Here you have imaged an experience I cherish. Thanks, my friend.


    • Kathy says:

      Kathy, we’re having Kentucky spring weather today. It was fun doing that kind of writing again in the middle of the night–would like to get back to writing this way again. The tea was lovely. I feel like you were almost one of the phantoms here.

  8. Lori DiNardi says:

    Nice. I just drafted a blog about the lack of rain here. Plan to put it up tomorrow. I live a change in the weather through your weather blogs. ;-P

    • Kathy says:

      Glad to oblige, Lori. I wish you rain…actually, since the rainstorm missed us last night, I wish us rain too. Mother Nature is so unpredictable.

  9. jeff v says:

    Sounds like it was indeed “a dark and stormy night” as Snoopy would put it . I was up as well trying to comfort our nuerotic dog Midnight . She is terrified of thunder.I love a good storm , We got a perscription from the vet to help. It says “take one daily for thunderstorms”! not sure if its meant for us or the dog. Spring has sprung in northwest Ohio and I’m putting the snowblower away. Happy St. Paddy’s day !

    • Kathy says:

      You would have loved last night’s storm, Jeff. Midnight–not so much. We used to have a dog when I was growing up that was like that. Shook himself sick. Glad you’re putting that snowblower away. You wouldn’t believe how warm it is here now–80 degrees!

  10. lisaspiral says:

    As much as I am NOT a morning person I will admit to really enjoying those quiet pre-dawn hours when you feel like you are the only thing awake in the world. Happy St. Patricks Day!

    • Kathy says:

      It is a lovely feeling, isn’t it, Lisa, when we’re not worried about how tired we’ll be the next day. I even stepped out on the deck in the relatively warm air to watch the lightning showers. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you, too!

  11. Dawn says:

    Happy St Patty’s! I’m often up early early morning too….and wish I could enjoy it like you did. I worry way too much about how I’m going to cope at work the next day. One day this week, I think Friday a.m. Katie and I were up for an hour at 3. The next day at work was fine. So I should just enjoy.

    • Kathy says:

      I would worry, too, if I had a full-time job, Dawn. Although I do think we humans tend to worry to much about this kind of thing. Usually things work out. Maybe the Universe wants to nudge us awake…

  12. Dawn says:

    PS: I was going to say I love this reminds me of a copper sculpture framed by water color art.

    • Kathy says:

      This was an old photo from the outdoor blog, 2009. I have always loved it. It was taken in Georgia, outside a botanical garden. I am glad you like it.

  13. Munira says:

    Oh man. This totally spoke to me. Lovely post! ❤

  14. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! May your head hit the pillow gently and rise from it untroubled in the morning 🙂

  15. Some beautiful phrases there, Kathy – “lightening and thunder negotiated . . . ” Indeed. And thanks for the music. I listened and really enjoyed that. Never would have chosen them on my own. I’ll probably download some onto my Nano!

  16. irenelefort says:

    An ex-colleague of mine swore on the healing capabilities of raw garlic. He said that for about 20 years, he eats 2 gloves of garlic raw whenever he feels a cold coming one and claims never have been sick all these years. Hope you are feeling better.

    During my past job, I always slept terribly when I had an early flight to catch. I kept waking uo thinking that I had overslept. As I lay awake in bed, I fretted about spending a whole day in a foreign office with little sleep. Needles to say, thinking about not sleeping did not help me in falling asleep again. Strangely enough I always felt sleepy when the alarm clock finally went off. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Irene, do you eat those raw cloves of garlic? (Just want to know in case we meet someday…grin….) I have heard that it works as well. But maybe no one can bear to get that close to the garlic-eater! I usually use Vit C to fight off the cold, and it usually works. It must be awful to be sleepless before going to a full-time job. My two part-time jobs make sleeplessness easier to bear.

      • irenelefort says:

        I don’t 🙂 Although I do use garlic when I cook. Yes that colleague mentioned that he has to sleep in the guest bedroom, when he eats raw garlic and his wife doesn’t want to put up with his stink.

  17. Barb says:

    That leaf, your words, the song lyrics – all make a fantastic story, Kathy. I felt like I was there with you, shivering a little, waiting for the kettle to boil, and the steam of the tea to warm my face.

    • Kathy says:

      It felt like a fun story to write, Barb. I like doing this kind of writing–sharing what’s arising so simply, so presently. Glad that you were present along with it all.

  18. Heather says:

    There’s a lesson here for me, if only I’ll allow myself to learn it. In my former life as a science teacher, I ran a federal-sized sleep deficit. I was so desperate for it that my utter despair at never getting enough would keep me up later at night, and longer in the middle of the night. Now that I have a different lifestyle, I ought to embrace those wakeful hours and encourage creativity and perhaps even some productivity. Thanks for the reminder/nudge!

    • Kathy says:

      Ha ha, former life, I love it, Heather! Federal-sized sleep deficit! You ARE a writer! I think whenever we can embrace what’s happening–allowing it to arise, no matter what our response–then we are happier beings. Sometimes it’s easier than other times, isn’t it?

      • Heather says:

        I actually had a chance to implement the strategy last night. I wasn’t terribly productive, but playing sudoku instead of fretting about not sleeping was preferable. Still working on that acceptance. Sometimes I think I have it, and then other times – last night – I feel a bit beat up by the universe (an aunt has recently-diagnosed stage 4 cancers…)

  19. lucindalines says:

    You make me miss my wood burning stove and all the nights we used to pull the couch up close and just enjoy, and the tea kettle warming on it, or just the kettle that we boiled for the scents we put into it. Really enjoyed this blog. Keep up the great work.

    • Kathy says:

      Lucinda, so glad these word-pictures evoked memories of good times. Glad you enjoyed this little writing. You inspire me to want to write more of them like this. Thank you.

  20. Colleen says:

    I love those quiet moments in the earliest morning hours. There are so many treasures to be found 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Beautiful midnight moments. Beautiful pre-dawn treasures. When we don’t fight “what is” so much is revealed, isn’t it, Colleen?

  21. Sybil says:

    I want a wood stove too! The marvellous smell. The flickering flame. I love that state between wake and sleep. Curled on the couch with blanket and tea, watching the storm outside.

    You always find just the right words.

    And YES, I gave in to the dark side and re-created the WP account so I could leave comments. Never got a response from WP “help” … 🙂 quel suprise !

    • Kathy says:

      Sybil, I KNEW you wouldn’t be held down! I KNEW you would find your way back to us with your words and feelings and humor and everything else Sybil-like. “The flickering flame.” That’s a perfect phrase. Wonder why it didn’t arise in this essay in the middle of the night? Flickering. That perfectly described both the lightning AND the woodstove fire. May you enjoy a pre-dawn storm one of these days with your cup of tea and the nattering thunder. (tee hee. Nattering.)

  22. Remember well those growing up days with a wood fireplace to heat our little house in the woods in MS…not much snow; not to many cold days, but as Daddy was dying he said one day to me: “I will miss building the fires.”
    Lovely post.

  23. Robin says:

    I felt like I was there with you, at four in the morning. It was lovely. Thank you. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      I like that you feel you were there in our quiet little house, Robin. It almost felt like a retreat, didn’t it? **grin** And we didn’t even plan it…

  24. Ah those precious quiet moments in the wee hours of the day… Love so much the mood you created with your words, Kathy… I used to organize my family history data when I couldn’t sleep, spreading it all across the living room floor in neat piles. Sometimes our cat would join me and walk all over the papers, making them slide across the floor… Our little secret…

    • Kathy says:

      I love that image of the cat sharing your dark awake hours, Barbara. How sweet. I can hear the cat’s paws padding over the papers and see your little smile.

  25. Bonny K says:

    Kathy, Have you heard TED’s piece on 4 o’clock in the morning? It is amazing the amount of things he correlated and documented that occur at 4 a.m.!I highly reccomend it.
    thought your letter wasa areflection on that.


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