The sound of the quiet wakes me. My ears strain to absorb the white noise of life sleeping, the molecules of sound that lay like a blanket over four a.m. I picture soft-spoken particles colliding in air like flitting dots of dust that dance in sideways angles of light beams. Despite their tiny size, their lives are full.
With these awakenings now a regular occurrence, I wonder what predawn wants to tell me. I roll from side to back, back to side, in search of comfortable. I name the hour peaceful, for that is how I feel, except when I imagine four p.m. and the sleepiness that will descend in protest to my early waking.
To remain with eyes and ears open or to negotiate a return to sleep? I want to treat the waking as a mandate and follow the natural flow of my rhythm. And sometimes I do. Sometimes I reach to the nightstand for the laptop and start my day in the silent darkness. And sometimes I reach for the stories of my dreams that slip back into silence when I open my eyes. And sometimes I squeak out a couple more hours of sleep.
But mostly I wonder what the predawn is trying to tell me because I believe a secret waits to be discovered at 4 a.m.