Three a.m.  Another hotel room.  Another sleepless night.

An old friend, Louie Conin “the Barbarian”,  Car Talk producer and writer, once told me about this pipe in her bedroom in Somerville.  She was a chronic insomniac.  Routinely she’d awaken to another dark night of the soul and wait, eternally it seemed, for that excruciating pitch to succumb to the light.  She’d lie in bed and stare at a floor to ceiling heating pipe in the corner.

That’s such a fucking ugly pipe, she’d think to herself.  I really need to paint it.  It’s such an ugly pipe.

She’d stare at this pipe night after night and it never got painted.

Louie grew up in Somerville across from Dr. Spock’s house.  She came from an old Boston Catholic family with all sorts of Catholic pathologies going on in her household.  She once wanted to go play over with the Spock kids and her mother flipped.

“You can’t go over there!” she screamed. ” Those kids run around naked and shit in their own yard!”

Which according to Louie was kind of true.

Which maybe also explains something about Baby Boomers and tech bubbles and housing bubbles and divorce rates in the seventies and maybe something else I can’t think of.


In a few weeks we will have moved from Hopi to an undisclosed place in California.  In the place that we will have left, this twilight hour is kind of important.  Routinely people stay up all night praying for wellbeing not just in this world, but for all life everywhere in the universe.  I imagine that at times the experience can be physically excruciating, sad and lonely, and at times terrifying as one faces that great void.

Through unity of spirit and sheer will, practitioners attempt to summon goodness and life into a world threatened by it’s antithesis.  I whither to think of it.  And I whither as I imagine that three a.m. hour when your spirit claws for dawn to break, for that scarcely imagined moment when you emerge into a new world to be greeted by the new light.

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