Temporal Thoughts

How late have you stayed up? Sometimes it seems that sleep just won't cut it. There's so much work, and rather than sleep, you'd much rather just get it all done. It can be a little overbearing, but also quite exciting.

Nighttime, I find, is a great time to get some work done. It's especially impressive how much work you can get done, even when you've already worked throughout the day. The only bad thing is you have to make sure you have no early morning commitments for the next day.

But the quiet of the world, the fact that it is dark out, so you're not drawn by the beautiful day, it all tends to being very productive. Plus there's something quite seductive to the thought of being that quiet genius, huddled in his room, working frantically until hours in the night.

I suffer because I'm a night owl, but also a early-bird.

The night can be magical. I don't quite mean it in the childish sense, but more in the sense that it allows for possibilities. Everyone wants to be Jerry Maguire, become inspired in the middle of the night to write something worthwhile, and hopefully inspire others in turn. Problem is, when morning rolls around those night time fantasies have all dried up and you're subjected to the cruelties of a very practical world.

Sad thought to think that some our most ambitious ideas are quashed because they aren't practical.

I think nighttime brings the romantic out of most. Whatever you do at night, on your own, has a certain allure, a certain mysterious quality to it. It draws you towards it. The problem is what I am writing right now can only be read at night. To read it in the bright day loses the poetic quality, the ambiance, the mood, the emotion, the feeling. But just imagine this: You're walking around, city, suburb, country. You're holding a camera, notepad, sketchbook, laptop, book, whatever you like. You're on your own. No friends, no family, no one. You don't have to worry about your cellphone ringing because no one else is awake at this hour. You don't have to worry about bumping into anyone because the streets are empty. You don't even have to worry about someone looking at you strangely because, again, the streets are empty. You can be yourself, you can be free, and everything you capture at that moment, be it on paper, film, digital memory, your own memory, whatever, it will all be intensified by the feeling of the night. What could be more glorious than grabbing a cup of coffee, going down by the lake and watching the moon glisten over the water?

But then, at the same time, I'm a morning person. I think right now the night owl me wins over the morning person because most of my life takes place later in the day. My class is in the evening, because I can set my own hours for work right now, I set them a little later in the day, etc. But once I find myself in a 9-5 job then I can enjoy my mornings properly. Something about starting the day with some eggs, a coffee, leaving the house when the morning is still cool, there is dew forming on the grass... It's not even that, it's something else. For one thing, early morning's are like a movie set just before the camera starts recording. Everyone is setting up. You see the street cleaners cleaning up the streets, the window washers clean the skyscrapers. People are moving from place to place to get to where they should be so that when the clock hits 9 it's lights, camera, action.

That's why I'm not a 9am person. I'm a 6am person...if the night owl in me lets me be. 6am is an amazing time. It still offers the quiet of night, and still offers the beginning of the day. The morning is even cooler. There is more dew on the grass. And the streets are still empty. You can see the world setting itself up for the day ahead even better. You can watch the sun get itself in place to make sure it's where it should be by the time people get up. I love hearing the street sweepers before dawn - like they're just getting the world ready. That's also where the night owl in me turns to the panicked early bird. The street sweepers are signal I've stayed up too late, and we'll be going 24hrs+ without sleep.

Probably my favorite time of the year is September...the beginning of September. My favorite season is autumn, particularly in October...but my favorite time of the year in terms of how feelings go is the beginning of September. This September is the first time since I was 3 that I do not have to go to school. That's 19 years. The thing is thought that the past four years I was in University, so I've felt it differently. It was never about feeling it though, it was more about observing it. Even in high school I observed it more than felt it, though I did feel it more than I have while I was in University. The feeling I'm talking about is that back-to-school excitement. We all loathed school as kids, yet there was still that excitement. I think that Five-Star Binder commercial captured it best: This year is going to be different!

By the time I got to high school I stopped really feeling that, but I perceived it, observed it more in kids around me. That excitement they all had. New backpacks, books, pencils, binders, paper. Waiting for the school bus (something I haven't done since grade 5). Seeing kids walk to school with each other. I hope I never lose that feeling. It's an important one, but it's more nostalgic for me than anything. It reminds me more of back in Ottawa, than any other time in my life. I may have gone to school for 5 years in Vancouver, and did most my significant growing up there. But I guess I may have never felt as though I fully belonged to the city until I left.

In Vancouver I felt more like I was the kid from Ottawa. When I left and moved to Toronto, I felt more like the kid from Vancouver. It's funny how much you can adapt to a lifestyle, a city and not realize it until you've gone...


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