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  • Writer's pictureJudy

April 7, 2024: Inky Hours

Inky Hours. I first read this term in the book Wintering by Katherine May.  She uses it to refer to the darkest hours right before dawn. That 3am to 6am time frame, where the world is inky black, and quiet.  She talks about the power of those hours for her.


         I found a kindred spirit, as those are my favorite hours of the day.  During the week, I rise at 3:30am. This gives me time to do my yoga and meditation, do some writing, reflect on the day/tasks ahead, and “center-myself” before jumping into the world.  I love the dark and the silence and the solitude. I find it one of my most productive times of the day, as I am fresh and my mind is clear enough to dig into almost anything.


         Yes, I go to bed earlier than most adults, (and many children), and yes, I have an empty nest as it is just my husband and me, but I still love these ‘inky hours” as I am now calling them. I routinely get to school before anyone but the custodian, and the sun has still not risen, so even my school day seems to begin during this dark time. I find I can get more done from 6am to 7am in my classroom than I ever could from 3pm to 4pm. There is no one to interrupt, the day has not yet gotten out of hand, and the possibilities are endless.


         I think of these inky hours as bonus-time.  I can count on this time each day and it is for no one but me. 


         Even on weekends I rise before the sun. I will often take my first cup of coffee of the day outside and sit on the back patio watching the sky go from inky-black to pink and blue as the sun rises, listening to the chorus of birds begin to awaken.


         Obviously not all people share this love of rising before the sun. I have a lovely friend and neighbor who is the exact opposite of me.  She says she does not even think about going to bed until she sees the light come on in my house. She is heading to bed as I am getting up.



         Whether you are a night-owl or an early-bird, having time for solitude each day can be so powerful. Even transformative.  I imagine this is especially true for those whose lives and work involve being with others.  If your day is filled with people, whether colleagues, customers, clients, family, or the public, having some time that is just for you might seem like a luxury. But even if you have to shorten your sleep to take advantage of those “inky hours”, it is so worth it.

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