I've given up on sleeping through the night.
One of the many pleasures of Portland, OR is that it's beautiful in the middle of the night, no matter the season. I can step out back and love the rain, or the wall of heat with the rich fragrance of ripe roses and jasmine, or chill winds, or the end of summer with scents that hint of autumn. The other night, the sky from my back yard was half cloudy, half starry. It's been a month of record rains. Visible stars haven been rare.
When I get out of bed, my dog, Elsa, struggles to follow me - she's 14 years old and I'll lose her soon, so I'm grateful for that extra time I have alone with her. She gets a treat, settles at my feet in the dining room, and I sit down to write or edit or organize notes for the next time. It can be an amazingly productive half hour or hour, until sleep calls me back.
I can't say exactly when solitude became my strongest craving, but it seems a natural consequence of my life. My work in a psychiatric setting exhausts me emotionally these days. My husband knows I don't want to talk when I get home, that I need a couple of hours to decompress. Solitude is hard to come by, a precious commodity. Writing time is hard to come by. The middle of the night is my treasure.
I was surprised to hear recently that the 'happiest' states in the US were Hawaii, Wyoming and Alaska. What they share, in my imagination, is that the lives lived there can be remote. I spent some time on the Big Island last spring at a writing residency. I was in a beautiful house on 10 acres of land on the southernmost part of Hawaii, in a town of 2500 people. I grew up in NYC, moved to LA, now Portland, but my heart is taking me farther and father from city life. Perhaps back to Hawaii.
Causes Evelyn Sharenov Supports
Oregon Humane Society, ASPCA, PETA, HSUS