Running. Against Time. To Relief.

4:59 a.m.

Dark Sky reports 71° F. Cloudy for three hours. 22 minutes til sunrise. And…95% humidity.

I’m out the door.  The edge of night has turned. I’m late. Disappointment drips. Morning brings others. I’m part way through Catherine Lacey’s “The Answers” where she explains: “Some people need to be unseen, to be alone, to be unreachable. And there was nothing wrong with this…”  This felt so right, so me. Yet, I would have finished it differently…“And there is everything right with this.”

It’s not been a good week – not a single, self-inflicted act, but a culmination of events. A cumulative pile-up of sleep deficit.

  • 4 hours. (Monday)
  • 5 hours. (Tuesday)
  • 5 hours. (Wednesday)
  • 6 hours (Thursday)
  • 4 hours (Friday)
  • 6 hours (Saturday)

A cumulative deficit of 18 hours. The insomniac gets through his days, 1/2 present, 1/2 hallucinating. This Man, blessed to be migraine-free, now has intermittent lightening bolts sizzle – Warning shots – Wake-up calls.

It’s a new habit. Deep sleep for two to four hours and then UP, followed by half-a**ed attempts to get back to sleep.

The e-equipment on the night stand beckons.  Work emails. 5-6 books at various stages of completion. Early morning editions of the newspapers. Blog posts. A dozen unplayed podcasts. Music playlists.

No. Don’t reach for it. Don’t touch it.

The addict grips the syringe between his index and forefinger, and ever so gently depresses the thumb plunger – watching his relief feed his arteries. He closes his eyes, the weight of need lifts, he finds his peace.

Not me.

Tormented by the Clock which mercilessly grinds forward, I’m with Duras: “Always, all my life, that thing about time passing. All my whole life long.”

Friday. ~ 1:30 a.m. I grab the iPad. I’m reading about the plight of Earth Worms. (Earth worms. 1:30 am. Wow.)

“An unusual workforce labors beneath the surface of the world’s farms. It can turn over 8,000 pounds of earth on an acre of land in two weeks. Its tunnels aerate the soil, and its castings nourish it. Not bad for invertebrates the size of a string bean. They are earthworms, the industrious wigglers Charles Darwin once called nature’s plow.”

8,000 pounds of earth turned in two weeks. 16,000 pounds in a month. Three floors below me, under the foundation of this house, they’re at work, turning earth.  Working…turning new earth in darkness – and not the same bloody mounds of black soil over and over and over.

So, Self, you must like running. Like running? Oh, No. That’s not it.

When you can’t sleep…

When you can’t stop the monkey mind from chattering…

You push the body to exhaustion, and it shuts the mind down.

And then it gets quiet, it gets still – and, moments become still shots on slide projection frames. Click. Click. Click.

It’s that place where Loren Eiseley finds “his great peace. Where he sleeps as lemurs sleep. Where great storms can blow” and we are untouched and only then “I will think of beginning again, in a different way.'”

7.36 miles. 12,780 steps.

Lemur nap time.




  1. Doing something to the point of exhaustion when one is already exhausted…oh,

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I know that monkey!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not a runner, but I understand doing something physical until I can’t go anymore David! ❤
    Diana xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. yes, my monkey waits for my early and intermittent awakenings. she is relentless, and i do my best to leave her in the background, but many times she wins when sleep eludes me. my zen comes in my walks in the parks, especially the quiet ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. I too find getting outdoors is therapeutic…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Long walks can improve moods and reduce anxiety, but the benefits may be greatest if the walks take place outdoors rather than in a gym, according to a new study by researchers in Austria. And while the Alps may be a particularly fine place to hike, a vigorous walk in the woods or paths near home may provide the mental boost we need to keep us moving.

      We all know, by now, that for optimal health, we need to move. But research and anecdotal experience indicate that people rarely exercise if they do not enjoy it. Workouts, for many, are something like possessions: If they don’t spark joy, they tend to be discarded.

      Many different aspects of exercise are thought to affect how much we like working out. But in general, most experts agree that a workout’s intensity and its duration have the greatest influence on our feelings about it.

      In recent years, many scientists and other experts have focused their attention on short, intense workouts, typically called high-intensity interval training, because the duration is so slight, lessening the likelihood that people will be too busy to exercise. But while many people who take up high-intensity interval training report being pleased by the workouts’ brevity, they often also say that the intensity is not fun for them, which, over the long term, could discourage them from continuing.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. To be unseen, unreachable. Yes, a respite from “peopling”. I am not ashamed of this joy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. roseanne333 says:

    Oh, my….David, is it possible yoga would help? Sleep deprivation is one of the worst.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So how’s this working for you :David? Yoga Nidra or a body scan meditation has worked for the most resistant insomniacs in my life. It’s takes you in a place of aloneness without being seen or being concerned about others. Finding a way to relax the body without exhausting it is truly worth it. Otherwise the cortisol and adrenaline with send you to an early grave. You’ve got to try something different if you want to find more peace … and sleep. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You have all the information you need to help you sleep better. I think you love the addiction too much ha 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love Eiseley. Acupuncture would definitely help you sleep and quiet the mind. In TCM, mind overdrive is disturbed ‘shen’ – spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Or, you can breathe into the insomnia and sit it out until it tires of you! 🙂
    Lovely piece.

    Liked by 1 person

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