nocturnal

Watching a “Cat in the Hat” animated video this week with our grandchildren (we’ve moved on from Baby Shark), I am struck by the characters – 2 kids, the Cat, Thing 1, Thing 2 and a fish (!) – enjoying an adventure at night. An owl teaches everyone about being nocturnal – being active at night. For the past 20 years, I have come to accept that some people, like some animals, are more active at night. I am not one of these. Being a light sleeper is a byproduct of my military training. As we used to say in the military, you will get “enough sleep when you are dead”. At sea, any number of things can go badly at any time but often it occurs at 0200 starting with either a strange sound or complete absence of one. On the battlefield, if a sentry is sleeping, her unit may be set upon. Sleep is not one of the advertised benefits of service; however, I am not sure that the modern military’s dismissal of sleep is any better than ancient society’s cautioning about loving sleep too much. No less than 5 Proverbs in the Bible warn us about laziness, hunger and poverty being the result of oversleeping As a member of the Baby Boomer generation, I have never worried that too much sleep was a characteristic of our generation.

In December, any sleep deprivation in my household may be due to a cat or the Christmas season.

Our once-feral calico expects to be treated royally when she appears, meowing, at our doorway between 10 and 11PM. For several years, while Dexter and Comet were alive, she was not allowed inside. As she was a very good mouser and gopher hunter, we compromised to having bedding and providing meals for her in the garage during the cool night months of the year; the dogs held court over the house and the backyard. Not long after the dogs crossed the Rainbow Bridge, my spouse would let her curl up on the couch during the night. Sometimes she is still inside and she will meow down our hallway at 3 or 4 AM – she wants to go outside.

Now that it is the Christmas season, we have yard decorations (inflatable Minions (!)) that are popular in the neighborhood’s Jingle Bell Hill displays. Most people with younger children drive through the neighborhood before 8 PM; some stop to take pictures. On a couple of recent weekdays, we went to bed before 9PM leaving the displays on. A couple nights ago, there were loud voices around 11PM sounding as though they were in the yard. Being the afore-mentioned light sleeper, and a bit anxious that either someone will get injured or damage our displays, I have gotten up, pulled on pants and sneakers and made a point to be seen going to check our cars in the driveway. These were just enthusiastic kids. But I was awake till sometime before 2 AM. A benefit of being a night-creature is to blog at all hours. On the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, I have at least 13 hours to toss and turn. As the military said, “you can get plenty of sleep when you are dead”.

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