Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The quiet of the night: Post from the past

Originally written August 2011 though I thought it more fitting for the quiet that only comes with a cold winter night.

Late in the night has always been my favourite time of day.  I love to wander the house at night while the world is quiet and soft.  The only noise is the tick of the clock, the noise of my footsteps and the breath of my companions lost in their dreams.

Even when I go to bed at a decent hour, I rise in the middle of the night.  It's been this way since I was young.  I never wanted to sleep at night.  It always seemed as though I was missing something.  As I grew older, I realized what it was: the night time.  I use the night time for soul searching, for relaxing, to recharge.  I use the night for getting things done, for doing nothing and for thinking grand thoughts or none at all.

Atkinson home at Christmas
My old house mid-winter night

My mother used to do the same.  She would always go to bed at the same time as my father.  He worked early and long days, so they would go off to sleep together -- we could hear the quiet tones of discussion that encompassed the day's events and the week's plans.  Then, when my father slept, my mother crept from the bed and wandered the house in the quiet.  She would write letters to friends, she would cross stitch, she would read -- but mostly, she would revel in the time alone.

I was in my teens before I consciously noticed her habit of wandering during the night.  I am sure she did it throughout my life.  It seemed to me she liked best to sit at the table and write.  She was known for long letters to friends and family -- tidbits about her day and ours; funny thoughts and observations; deep thoughts and words of advice.

It is in the middle of the night I feel closest to my mother now.  I like to think of her sitting in the compatible silence recharging her batteries and finally relaxing for a few minutes.  I like to think of her there, quietly writing as the dogs, the children and the husband slept in the other rooms.

As I sit here and write -- to my friends and family -- I like to think of her and thank her for the love of the quiet of the night.


  1. What a lovely post! I was always a sound sleeper until my thyroid went nuts on me and then I spent several years being awake pretty much all night long. I spent that time dreaming of things I wanted to do, imagining my perfect world and how it would look and playing on Pinterest (!) I did enjoy that time but I'm happier to be able to sleep again. The nicest part is that nowadays when I wake up in the middle of the night, I see it as a bonus rather than a curse!!

    Have a wonderful day! xox

    1. Thanks Anne! I always love being awake in the middle of the night. I read an article lately that said that's how people were always meant to sleep - in two shifts with a break in the middle "for pondering".


As much as I like to hear myself talk, I like to hear from you too!