The past two nights I've fallen asleep at 10:00 p.m., only to wake up at around midnight, still feeling groggy, but having the urge to continue the day's reading, so I read for two to three hours. Both nights I went back to sleep around 3:00 a.m. On the first night, laying In bed I became acutely aware of how quiet it was. The house wasn't gurgling and creaking. I didn't hear cars. I kept trying to imagine how one describes the sound of silence, of this perfectly quiet sound.
The only way that I could do that in my thoughts was to think of all the sounds that I couldn't hear: birds chirping and cawing; the breeze rattling the window blinds and making the trees sing; the neighbors talking, listening to music, the children laughing and crying; cars humming by in the distance; and then I heard one lone bird let out a squawk or squeal. He broke the silence for that one millisecond and the silence resumed.
The second night--last night, as I lay in bed at that early morning hour again, ready for sleep, this time I heard the crickets. I don't hear them often. I took in their music, then they stopped. It was another quiet night, but this time after the restless night continued, I could hear the light wind and feel it on my face.
In the quiet, I could almost hear the beating of my own heart, feel the pulse beating in my hand. I imagined the great night sky overhead, stars twinkling their eyes opened and closed.
Right now it's morning time. I woke at 8:00 a.m., trying to decide if I felt that I got enough sleep. I can hear the absence from the night before. The silence has been filled, but not completely. There's still quiet in the air.