Surrounded by Thoughts

Surrounded by Thoughts.
After a certain age all of us know this feeling. Something makes us wake up in the small hours of the morning, and we cannot go back to sleep for some reason. A clock tower which I never hear during the day softly chimes every quarter hour and on the hour, 2 am, 3 am, 4am… Then I suppose I finally fall asleep again. So what happens during those two or three hours? Besides frustration and the futile tries to call back the elusive Morpheus, that capricious ancient god of sleep. It is rather useless to fight it, to,toss and turn, to allow worry creep in. One sure way to make oneself fall asleep is reading something terribly boring, but we cannot always do that at night. Quite often we are surrounded by thoughts which may be numerous and various. No, the sorry state of the world, the daily horrors usually do not besiege one because they are now a given, the constant reality, the continuous background. A human being cannot dwell on the bad scary things non-stop. As the ancients used to say, where there is the unknown presuppose horrors. But there is nothing unknown, thanks to the internet the whole world learns about all the tragedies, all the atrocities immediately after or even during they are happening. Thankfully there are lots of good events which balance out the evil ones. We know about them so we are not scared. The thoughts, the ideas, the recollections, the to-do lists, the half-forgotten memories that float up from some deep corners of our mind are most often connected with our family, with the need to do something soon, with the everyday worries and cares, in short with Life itself.
What do we do then? A little boy once told me seriously, “I had a big thought, so I thinked it”. That’s a good directive. If you have one thought crop up persistently in your sleepless hours, try to remember it into your waking time, and act on it. Once you do something it stops bothering you. If there are several thoughts let them gradually sort themselves out in the order of importance. If they are still with you when you finally get up at 6am, go get your coffee, jot the ideas down. Who knows, they may be beneficial for yourself and family. They may be totally random and you may never recollect what your own little scribbles mean. But if they make sense to you, pursue them to the end and you will feel immeasurably better. I look at the scrap of paper which has the notation in my handwriting: “76 stitches, stocking knit, from top down”. Anybody who knows anything about knitting will immediately recognize it for what it is. It’s a baby raglan jacket. I did not consciously remember much about how to make it, but obviously my subconscious brought up the essentials in the wee hours. Now I can act on it, research the patterns, find the requisite knitting needles and skeins, and actually make it. Hopefully once I start my hands will remember what to do. I know how to measure the size of course. Newborns are really tiny. You place their head carefully into your palm, hold their body along your arm and It reaches down to your elbow or so. The jacket then is 15-20 cm long, or short if you wish.
“Marble cake” note placed on the kitchen table reminds me that the family wants it for the New Year’s dinner. Ah, and a scrap of paper which says “Editor-video-Jan” under my coffee mug reminds me that my editor wants an article on how to use video fragments in the classroom by January. There are many more examples of thoughts which originate during our bouts of insomnia. Rather than fight them I try to make them productive. These few notes represent the stuff of daily life. Here is my family, here is my work. Children need to be clothed and generally taken care of; the family has to be fed and given their favorite treats in Holiday season; work needs to be done in order to get paid. Life goes on.

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