After Midnight

Sometimes when I can’t sleep, I get up, pour a small glass of milk and sit in the chair by the front room window. It gives me a fine view of the street, the flashing lights at the railway crossing and occasionally, a vehicle heading home. I like to imagine they’ve been somewhere having fun. On rare nights, I even see a pedestrian, head down, and hurrying home, away from the dark.

Last night, I went to bed as usual and as can happen, I tossed and turned for an hour before getting up. Maybe I shouldn’t have had that glass of wine, or the After Eight mints, or the butter tart and it’s likely the baked beans for supper weren’t the best choice. I got my milk and went to stare out at the night. Nothing stirred. People must have been tired from Christmas festivities or stresses. Not even a train showed up.

Then, the best surprise. The prairie hare, aka a jackrabbit, hopped across the street and onto the lawn. We’d seen his tracks earlier but here he was, in the flesh. It was too dark for me to attempt a picture, but he was startling white except for his ears and despite his earlier visits was skittish. I don’t think he could see me sitting, looking out at him, but several times he stared in my direction. He stopped under the ornamental plum tree we planted in memory of my mum. Perhaps some of the plums were a snack, although I didn’t see him eat and soon he moved over to sit in the shelter of an old mogul pine. He, too, sat and peered into the night. After a few minutes, he hopped across the snow and onto the street where he sat and sniffed the car tracks. Headlights from the avenue frightened him and he bounded away. The last I saw of him was his tail as he disappeared under trees across the street.

Insomnia, even mild insomnia, is an annoyance. No one enjoys tossing and turning as sleep evades them even when they’re tired. Last night, though, I almost enjoyed it. If I had been snoring snugly in my bed, I’d never have seen my visiting hare. Tonight- no wine and no snacks. Who knows what I’ll miss?

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