THE HOUR OF THE WOLF
The best cure for insomnia is lots of sleep. W.C. Fields
Insomnia was a boon when my children were small especially as my oldest son seemed to have inherited my “Shut your eyes at your peril” complex. He was still awake after midnight and up again before the dawn chorus asking complicated questions before he opened his eyes. In the days before Google that meant many trips to the library.
It was however, so lonely in the small hours of the night before the advent of night time radio and television. I was relaxed until two thirty am as that was yesterday and I was positive after four thirty am as that was tomorrow.
The two hours between two thirty five am and four thirty five am were my difficult hours when the weight of the world pressed on my chest. I did not realise that other people felt the same as me until just after my autumn wedding in 1968.
I hated scary films with a passion and somehow unintentionally read an advert for Ingmar Bergman’s surrealist The Hour of the Wolf in the Manchester Evening News.
It brought another troubled perspective to my thinking.
“The hour of the wolf is the hour between night and dawn. It is the hour when most people die, when sleep is deepest, when nightmares are most real. It is the hour when the sleepless are haunted by their deepest fear, when ghosts and demons are most powerful.”
“Bloody Hell” I thought “I am glad I did not know that when I was a child as it would have finished me off completely”
I used to iron in those sleep deprived hours and one night I stepped into the kitchen to get the little plastic jug that I used to put water in my steam iron.
I noticed the jug sitting there on the dresser already full of water and so I picked it up and lazily poured the liquid into the top of the iron.
My eyes were focused upon the vase of fat, yellow King Alfred daffodils that I had picked in the garden earlier in the day and the powerful scent suddenly assaulted my nose and I sneezed loudly, several times. The first lines of a long forgotten poem crossed my mind.
“I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o e’r vales and hills, when all at once I saw a crowd, a host of golden daffodils”.
Two things crossed my mind at once, William Wordsworth and toffee. I knew what the Wordsworth connection was but I could not for the life of me understand the very strong smell of toffee in the room. I was beginning to think I was developing synaesthesia.
Of course this incident happened in the nineteen seventies when every modern home had a Soda Stream fizzy drink maker. Someone, who shall remain nameless, had left the remnants of the lemonade sugar syrup in my jug.
I had in turn had poured the colourless liquid in my new iron and because my head was in the clouds I had started to iron the collar of a brand new white linen shirt with molten toffee. My sleepless night cost me the price of a new iron an even more expensive shirt the next morning.
The Boomer Generation by Carole McCall