Most of the creatives I know are night owls, who prefer to push themselves into the latest hours before they can’t keep their eyes open any longer. It’s one of the most persistent, romantic myths about creativity that it takes wing in the late night.

I can tell you, though, that the early hours are even quieter.

You share this time with far fewer people, at least in modern America. The darkness is just as thorough, just as sublime as midnight; but there’s promise here of more than slumber. There’s the promise of sunrise, of renewed warmth, of the life and bustle to come. The quiet pleasure of being secretly awake in a sleeping world is made sweeter by the knowledge that others will be awake soon enough, that the sound of footfalls on the stairs will come, that the doors will open and the world will join you soon enough.

The only sound I hear right now is the constant thrum of the furnace, the industrious buzzing of my laptop, the endless whirr of the infrastructure that keeps our world humming even in the hours when no human ear is awake enough to need it.

I’ve already slept – the world of dream and dust is over for a while, and the world of flesh and blood is stretching its claws and sharpening its teeth for another restless hunt. Here I am, ready and waiting to tend that world, between the gates of dreaming and doing.

I’m comfortable here, waiting in the between-time before dawn. Is it the silence of the hour I enjoy, or the thrilling sense of anticipation, or the simple fact that I’ve grown accustomed to waiting through years of life and therefore find contentment in it? I don’t know for sure, but I know that for now, this hour is my own.