Witching Hour

Sun, 4 Nov 2007 | norman

It is the hour, or hours, when the Phoenix of Reason is nothing but ash.

Before the Industrial Revolution, electric lights or the Information Age, the Witching Hour was said to occur at midnight; the mid-point of falling asleep after sunset, and waking up at cock crow.

Those of us who are frequently awake at 12 A.M. can testify how no witches seem to be in any way related to that moment.

However, there is a period of time that starts when it becomes extremely difficult to think coherently and work productively, and which ends when it is possible to force oneself to rise again to face more of the same. It is the hour, or hours, when the Phoenix of Reason is nothing by ash. The guardians of order are drugged, and can't be roused. What we observe during the day to be the laws of nature are actually a superset that include positive forces to counter the negative forces of entropy. During the real witching hour, chaos is dominant. Rats and cockroaches are the highest forms of life. Passion overwhelms dignity, contraception and whatever your housemate might have said about not having sex in her bed. T.V. station programming, having abandoned even late night porn, defies, now somnolent, logic. This period starts at roughly 3 A.M. and ends at about 5 A.M., marked when e.tv appeals to God to wrestle back control by screening "Halleluia Africa", and the earliest early birds start ripping out the worms that have had free reign until then.

For these reasons, this period is not to be trifled with. The angels of light tread very carefully. And those who rush in are, by my reckoning, more than fools. Depending on their intent, they could well be champions of chaos and destruction. And that, as Mr Bush would agree, is a defining characteristic of a terrorist.

And there can be no negotiating with terrorists.

Our little terrorist seems to have realised this fact some time during witching hour tonight. His command of logic is still weak at the best of times, and when he likes to be held and rocked to sleep, but wakes up when he is put in his crib, that leaves little rest for his parents. And when he is awake and wants to be put to sleep, he cries. That makes for a lot of crying.

I thought he wouldn't get it. I thought he would cry himself to sleep. But after a while, as I was holding his hand, or more accurately, as he was holding my finger, during a lull, I told him that he must just go to sleep.

Babies are, themselves, exceptions to the rule of human nature. They can survive falls fatal to an adult. They can be revived after many, many minutes of submersion in deadly cold water.

Well when I told him to sleep, he realised the game was up. No more wails after that. His eyes wandered, drooped, opened and wandered, for about 10 minutes. He murmured when I took my finger away. But he is fast asleep now, and "Halleluia Africa" has not yet started on e.tv.

I'm going back to bed.

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