Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Middle of the Night

I really enjoy being up in the middle of the night. When I was growing up on the farm in Mississippi, we had a large window fan that "cooled" the whole house. However, on hot summer nights, the open windows were narrowed to four or five inches to make the breeze stronger. On those nights, I would awaken and slip between my brother's bed and the window and put my face in the breeze. Silent and still, I would hear the crickets and the frogs, maybe a screech owl in the distance or the barn owl. Sometimes I could hear animals drinking water from the tub under the handpump. Most nights I couldn't see much, but the quiet sounds filled my life with a serenity that the daytime didn't bring. I was my own person, unafraid, calm.

Perhaps my dark early morning hours help me regain the composure and resiliency that I need for day to day living. I rise quietly and drink water; then I go to the kitchen computer where I play games for a bit. My bones and muscles are stiff; stretching brings creaks and cracks and ease. I drowse a bit in the chair after I turn off the monitor. Then the silence is broken by a 16 pound cat who wants me to come back to bed. So, I visit the bathroom, settle my cpap mask on my face, and slide into bed, nestling my head on the edge of pillow. The cat gently climbs onto my side and settles hindpart on the pillow beside me and front part draped over my side. As we both sleep, we shift into comfortable positions until reasonable morning is come.

I close my eyes now, and the nighttime smells from the little house on the farm are with me - the damp pump tub, the dusty cotton, the green smell from so many growing things.

Mom always wondered why that windowsill never got dirty.