The sun drops behind the horizon and the lighting comes from artificial sources.
Mosquitos attempt to pass the makeshift screen, wishing to abandon their exile outside.
Inside, we take care of the important household tasks: tidying, preparing, organizing.
Inevitably, some things will have to wait until tomorrow.
In my other life, as my mom used to say, meaning before kids, the day would wind down just like this until finally arriving at a resting place in sleep. Drifting off as the city got quieter, listening to distant sounds, I would slowly allow my thoughts to drift away, too. And barring sickness or emergency, I wouldn’t wake up until the sun had already made its appearance; a new day arriving just as the old one let go. Barely a moment seemed to pass, but the feeling of renewal hinted at forces at work beyond my awareness.
Some nights were not so typical – company, love, friends, wine. Maybe dancing. Maybe a late movie or a good book. Perhaps fewer evening tasks, perhaps fewer cares; less than ordinary events simultaneously postponing and beckoning the sleep that was destined to follow just the same, the sleep that would bring the morning on its heels.
Just like that.
Then, with pregnancy, birth, and childcare, nights began to take up actual space. Time did not stand still. Morning was rarely just around the corner.
As my child nears 11 months old, I realize I have joined the league of parents who know night much more intimately than they did before.
I have counted more hours than I really knew existed in those brief moments between one day and the next.
I have wrestled with spontaneity and control, struggled to still bombardments of unwelcome thoughts, watched the darkness creep and crawl across a floor or a wall, changing ever so slightly moment to moment.
I have seen numbers on the clock I could only have assumed existed.
Each morning, the sun still rises eventually, only now it is so often waited for, wished for, lured by my very being. Are you here yet, oh bright and beautiful sun? Surely you’d like to throw off this blanket that covers everything! Surely you’d like to chase away this guest called night who has surely overstayed her welcome.
Last night, as I whispered new wisdom to my husband, as I rocked my baby in my arms, as I sorted through my thoughts, as I lay awake counting breaths and trying not to try not to wish for anything to be anything else, I dawned on me that night is nothing more than time: not welcome or unwelcome, not less than, and certainly not in my control.
Darkness and light are now more equal visitors to my drop in the ocean life, time that is not to be feared or coveted, just the balance of the day.
Think of everything I was missing out on before.
3/13 – #SOL18