Friday, July 27, 2012

3:00 a.m.

Is there a worse time in the span of 24 hours that torments like 3 o' clock in the morning?  No.  There isn't.  It belongs to the damned, the tortured, the regretful.  Even if you've never imagined your life as anything but normal, rosy, pleasant, believe me, lying awake at 3:00 a.m. will make you question everything you've said or done.  I'm sure even Mother Teresa would've paused to regret...something.

So, I have this weird dream.  Someone has written a letter on the wall above my bed.  I'm across the room when I notice this, and the closer I get, the more faded the words become; by the time I'm within inches of the wall, I can only see faint shadows of the writing.  Suddenly, I wake up.  At first, I can't help thinking it's funny.  The handwriting on the wall?  Seriously?   Not too lacking in imagination, and a cliche that only works, as I understand it, if you can actually read the handwriting!!

Closing my eyes, I try to bring the letter into focus, at least to see who it's from, maybe that will help stave off the inevitable, what I know is coming.  But no.  The ghosts, the demons, arrive with the grim snap of brittle wings.  I fight it for awhile, recite my mantras, calm my breathing, try desperately to go back to sleep, but it's 3:00 a.m.  The hour that mocks being human; the hour that reduces thought to the most basic.  The mind plays a cruel game of thrust and parry; victory is called Insomnia.

I debate getting up, to read a book, write a story, dink on the computer, but I'm tired.  I just want to sleep, dammit.  I spend the next three hours not sleeping.  I spend it with ghosts and regrets and angst.  The bed is a shambles of twisted bedding and pillows tossed when I finally give up.

It's too early...and I'm worn out before the frigging day has even begun. Yawning, I stagger into the kitchen, make a cup of coffee, then wander to the big window that overlooks the back garden, and the valley far below.

First, I notice that the bank--where I have the garden beds--is covered in baby quail.  There were at least five mothers, and I swear easily 25 to 30 babies.  I went to get my camera, but just the slight movement--from 20 feet above and behind a window--scared the babies and they ran into the pines.  I only managed to get these two moms, who seem more interested in finishing their breakfast than worrying about the kids.   This is no doubt the quail equivalent of a mom standing at the kitchen sink to gobble down a bowl of cereal before the day starts.

Pretty great camouflage...

I was just turning away, when I caught movement to the side of the back deck.  As RandyG said just yesterday when he was up before dawn himself:  the early bird gets the shots.  Course, I never expected to find myself up all night, or this early in the day, but there ya go.

Twins sharing something edible on the slope...and how cute are these two little Bambi kids??

I stood as still as possible, taking shots with my telephoto, but still this one heard me, lifted her head and stared right at me.  Could those ears be any bigger on such a wee little head?  Aawwww...

Then Mom must have made a sound that I couldn't hear, because suddenly they both bounded over to the side yard to join her where she munched on bird seed...or the sprouts from the bird seed that had fallen to the ground out of the feeder.

Just as I was going to stop and go drink my coffee, one of the twins wandered a few feet away.  A blue jay, very angry that his food source was being invaded--and eaten--by these creatures, flew around the big tree a few times, screeching in that annoying blue jay voice.  When no one moved or even acknowledged him, he landed next to the fawn, hopping mad--literally hopping up and down.  I got this shot of him trying to be intimidating...

Eventually--probably because he was so irritating--the family moved away, went across the road and down the other side of the mountain.

So, RandyG's right.  You can see things in the early morning hours that you might miss otherwise.

Though I would still rather have a good night's sleep, unfettered by weird, senseless dreams and followed by insomnia at 3:00 in the morning.  I'm just sayin'...


  1. You're just not seeing the handwriting on the wall. ;) I love dreams that just beat you over the head like that.

    You've captured the essence of 3 AM quite well. I suppose that's where the saying "it's always darkest before the dawn" comes from. As I was reading that part of your post, I was thinking that I'd just get up and go outside and look at the night sky, maybe take a walk. But probably not because I'd be really too tired.

    I'm glad you got a little reward from the night, some really nice photos. I haven't seen any fawns for years. There aren't many deer around here probably due to the elevation (and hunting), which seems to favor elk and moose. Lots of deer lower in the foothills (where hunting doesn't occur). Your fawn photos have put a smile on my face for the day. :)

    It's funny how birds still think they're dinosaurs. LOL! Somewhere I have a photo of a magpie biting a fox's tail.

    1. Here's something that just occured to me: Maybe I should have been wearing my glasses to see the handwriting??!! ;D

      Seeing the fawns was worth not sleeping. Those sweet faces, and big brown eyes. Glad you got a smile...

      And birds. I am just captivated by them. One of these days I'm going to do a video of the Turkey Vultures soaring past my house, and circling over the valley. It's truly a sight.