thoughts from late nights and early mornings

For about two days, there has been a large black moth perched on the wall above the door to the bathroom. You know the ones – moths the size of butterflies, but black as soot with two piercing eyes emblazoned on their wings. I remember there were heaps of them around the old heritage-listed buildings of my high school. They seem harmless enough, but are still spooky as.

The other morning, as I watched it doing nothing, and contemplated showing it the way out, I started thinking about what it’d be like to be almost perfectly still, in one place, for two whole days. I wondered about whether the moth was bored, or whether it even had the capacity to feel bored or dissatisfied.

I wondered, hypothetically, if it had the capacity to comprehend “life” and “meaning”, whether it would mourn its lack of either. If the moth doesn’t understand sadness, does it likewise not understand happiness? Does it simply not care? Here, however, I’m imposing my own human ideas of “sadness” and “happiness” onto something that is not human. Surely that’s not fair…?

I wonder what the moth would say of its own life.

Isn’t the contemplation of life, in itself, such an incredible feat?

obscure hobbies

Whenever I’m asked by someone what my hobbies are, my standard response is “reading and running”. If the person asking the question seems trustworthy and likeable and non-judgmental, I might also mention that I write (and then I’ll freak out about whether or not I should have just stuck to my standard response, and worry what to say if they ask what I write).   Continue reading

the pigeon

When I walk to my usual bus stop, I always walk along a street that passes under the freeway – or, rather, the freeway passes above the street. Underneath the freeway, the concrete is covered in bird droppings, and you just know there are always pigeons around somewhere nearby.

Yesterday morning, when I was walking this very same route, there was a pigeon lying on the concrete off to the side of the footpath, right under the freeway. It only took one glance to know that it was dead.

Later that day, in the staff tea room, I was reading a copy of National Geographic that someone had brought in and left at the table. There was an interesting little feature article about death and how it’s defined. It quoted some medical definition that referred to the cessation of either brain activity or heart function, but also touched on the spiritual significance of death, and how this could create another definition altogether.

It having been a busy morning, and me having read the article quickly because I was only on a short break, I did not immediately connect the pigeon and the content of the article. And you might ask “But why would you? It’s just a pigeon!” but I should tell you that I have a kind of fondness for pigeons. Not the kind of fondness that one might have for puppies or kittens, but more of a kind of sympathetic fondness for these simple creatures.

The thing that struck me the most the first time I saw this poor pigeon, was how peaceful it seemed. It did not look like it had been attacked and killed, and no scavengers had yet come to claim its flesh.

Only tonight, when I walked past it again (someone had moved it aside, further out of the way, but I assume it was the same pigeon), did I think of that article again. The way that the pigeon was lying there, its wings folded in close to its body, made me think how perfectly it would fit into my cupped hands. I imagined the warmth emanating from its body, the gentle rhythm of its heartbeat, and a soft coo rising from deep in its throat.

I slowed my pace momentarily, marvelling at how its body was still so intact (although who knows what has happened beneath the feathers smoothed over its body). It very well could have just been asleep – in an odd place and an unusual position, but asleep nonetheless. I thought of that article again, and wondered if it really might still be alive, in the sense that it wasn’t dead, based on the technicalities of the definition(s).

It was a humbling experience found in an unexpected place.

awake

As I walked to the bus stop this morning (it was my turn to work the Saturday shift today), I had some unexpectedly profound thoughts. I asked myself: What keeps you up at night?

(Side note: Ironically, as I was writing the initial draft for this post, I was feeling really sleepy. About three paragraphs in, my browser suddenly crashed for no apparent reason, so I lost most of the initial draft. I’m not re-typing this, and might take a different angle now that I’m slightly more awake after having brushed my teeth.)

What keeps me up at night?

Fear.

That was my first response. But what am I afraid of?

So many things. Mostly intangible things.

Things like not having the chance to tell people the things that I should tell them.

Things like maybes and what ifs and should I haves.

And a fear of not knowing.

Apologies if this post sounds a bit despondent or melodramatic. I don’t think that I’m usually sad when I have these thoughts – more contemplative than anything – but, on paper, it can come across quite differently.

And, as a final note, there’s no need to worry: I don’t lose much sleep over this. I only really lose sleep from losing track of time (both intentionally and unintentionally) and going to bed later than I should.

I wonder who else is up at such late hours, thinking, pondering, contemplating…