It’s almost 6:00 in the morning and I’ve been awake for two hours. Usually, this panics me, throwing me into a worrisome loop: I wake up for some reason, maybe a surge of anxiety, a deadline I’m not prepared for, a realization to a problem not solved. Or perhaps the startling snorts of my husband’s new snore.

Once I’m conscious, a count down begins, I’m on high alert, and my math skills are suddenly sharp—if I go back to sleep now, I can get three solid hours of sleep…If I sleep now, I can still have one hour and thirty-nine minutes of okay rest…If I sleep now, I’ll have forty-seven minutes, which is the equivalent of a great power nap…I become obsessed with how much more sleep I can eke out before I need to start my day.

Today, I don’t know why I couldn’t sleep. I’m not stressed out. I don’t have a deadline of any kind, no problem to solve. I didn’t have any nightmares in which I bolted upright, knowing with one hundred percent certainty that the Golden State Killer is hiding under my bed. In fact, I don’t remember the last time I dreamed…

So instead of fighting, instead of the incessant countdown, I broke the loop and got up. I threw on a comfy cardigan and a pair of fuzzy socks. I tiptoed out of my bedroom and into my office. I opened my blinds and sank down into my office chair. Then I took out a pen and waited for a reason to write, a reason to be awake.

It’s quiet, nothing but the tick of the clock on my wall and the low hum of traffic nearby which this early, sounds like a river running downstream. It’s times like these that are rare, to have no lists to complete, no schedule to follow, no work, no school, or have-to’s in general.

A mourning dove twitters outside my office window. The sun has begun to rise, casting a ribbon of gold on my neighbor’s house across the street. This morning, by accident, for no reason, no reason at all, I found a slice of peace.

And in this quiet moment of my day, before the hours’ whirr into activity and alarm clocks ring out, and the buzz of electricity blurs the sound of the natural pulse of the world, I found a snippet of the person I am—the person I want to be.

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