Insomniac Musings in Seven Lakes

By Maggie Beamguard | SLI Editor

As a person prone to bouts of insomnia, I’m intimately familiar with the sounds of the night. I may be awake with my thoughts in the witching hours, but at least they are accompanied by the soundtrack of Seven Lakes.

Leaf blowers have thankfully ceased their screaming for the day. The sounds of honking geese, howling dogs and hooting owls echo across the lake.

The distant whistle and rumble of an Aberdeen Carolina & Western freight train is punctuated by occasional rapid gunfire hailing from the direction of Currie Mill Road.

Boat engines are generally quiet in the late evening, but the Fort Liberty exercises make up for it. Chinooks may be the sound of freedom, but they also make my windows rattle and the dog cower.

There is something soothing about the reliability of these sounds even if the sounds themselves are not particularly relaxing.

Sleeplessness is not a new problem, but something I’ve dealt with off and on since my mid-20s. I’ve tried everything. 

I counted sheep. Baaaaaa humbug. Melatonin gave me weird dreams. Aromatherapy didn’t hurt but it didn’t really seem to help. Tylenol PM is good in a pinch, but not a long-term solution. A hot toddy could earn me a solid four hours. I’ll spare you the details of the magnesium.

I finally made an appointment with a sleep doctor. After my first visit, she earned the nickname “Sleep Nazi” for the strident sleep regime she imposed upon me, declaring “no naps for you!”

During a particularly bad spell, I became desperate enough to try something of the prescription variety. I took the promising pill, believing I would drift naturally to sleep, be tended to by a giant, gentle luna moth and wake feeling perfectly rested.

Unfortunately, that is not the way it would go for me. No. That little pill had the opposite effect. About an hour or so after I took the medicine, my eyes flew open. They darted around the room. My heart and thoughts raced. I felt like I was plastered to the ceiling like some kind of high strung gargoyle.

One piece of advice, advocated for by my Sleep Nazi, was to get up and do something productive. Don’t just languish in bed. Mop the floors. Make use of the time.

It’s a notion I flatly reject. If I’m not going to clean my baseboards by the light of day, I’m certainly not going to do it at 3 a.m.

Even reading was out of the question because I’m easily enraptured by stories. I can’t stop, won’t stop, at one chapter and will read until first light. 

What finally worked for me was to focus my mind on something else. Now when I can’t sleep, I try writing haiku. Channeling my disparate thoughts into the structure of this Japanese form of poetry composed of three lines and a total of 17 syllables is like solving a word puzzle. 

O, insomnia!

Now I count syllables since

I ran out of sheep.


three o’clock AM

wide eyes search for REM

four, five, six  – coffee


Up with owls whoo 

live for nights. So sleepy I

don’t give any hoots. 


So, if you find yourself awakened by your neighbor’s dog or some stray fireworks over Lake Auman or Lake Sequoia give insomnia haiku a try. 

Contact Maggie Beamguard at