Macon County Chronicle - Opinion / Blogs

Even When All is Remarkably Quiet . . .


Sometimes, even when all is remarkably quiet, the room is dark, our eyes are shut and our pillows are situated just right, we still find it impossible to fall asleep.

And it’s those nights, when our thoughts, excitement or worries bounce around in our heads like ping pong balls, that we search for a way to silence their echo and drown out their existence if only for a few hopeful hours.

Some of us reach for the remote on the nightstand hoping that David Letterman or Larry King will lull us into a deep coma, some of us reach for the emergency-backup-novel we keep in the drawer to aid us on our most restless nights and some of us, who discover failure in the first two methods, are forced to find our peace of mind elsewhere.

For me, as early on in life as I can remember, it’s always been a pen and paper that have beckoned a visit from the Sandman . . .

The cover of my first diary was hot pink, and though the metal lock on the side was small and the keys were made of bendable tin, it was the first thing I owned that belonged completely to me.

Its pages were covered with the hopes and dreams of a girl I can barely remember, and each night before falling asleep a slew of secrets were scribbled in ink and locked up tight.

In high school, my diary was replaced by a journal that held my most personal poetry and in college, I found that I hadn’t yet outgrown the need to sort out my thoughts on paper.

Sometimes, in the late night hours, I would find myself tossing and turning in the house I shared with seven girls, and when I finally gave up on sleep, would tip-toe my way to the screened-in front porch with my journal in one hand and a candle in the other.

The sound of a light rain hitting the street, and the whoosh of the cars driving by, made for the best nights on that porch.

As I wrote, the glow of the candle would dance across the pages and, for a little while, I felt as though the porch and I were miles away from the rest of the world. The worries and uncertainties that had kept me up with their echoes melted away, and my eyes grew heavy as each word found its way to ink.

Unlocking life’s mysteries with each stroke of my pen, it was the only way I could find peace during the nights when my thoughts grew too big to be confined inside my head, and an overwhelming sense of relief trickled through my veins as they spilled onto the pages.

I was just a girl then, a girl who still had the same fears, the same questions and hopes as the one who once locked them up in a hot pink diary and even now, when I find that sleep is not an option, it’s those journals that I reach for.

And whether I’m reading them or shuffling through the drawer for a pen, they are the only things that calm my thoughts, each entry from the past reminding me that, in the end, everything has its own way of working out, time heals even the deepest wounds and those things that once kept me up at night have since been long forgotten.

Because sometimes we all simply need to go to that one place that makes us feel as if we’re miles away from the rest of the world, that place that reminds us to let go, that place that serves as our own personal lullaby  . . . gently singing us to sleep.

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