"Cows are my passion. What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a farm and live entirely surrounded by cows–and china." Charles Dickens

February 2, 2011

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day by Andrew Wyeth (and a close contender for Christina's World for my favorite Wyeth) captures the stillness and solitude of late winter on a farm and yet the warmer, brighter light of February.

This day will go down as odd, no two ways about it. So, let me begin. I was up until 4am. This is not unusual. I was born a night owl and will probably die one. I am blessed to have a husband who is a morning person, that's for certain. He often feeds the kids breakfast and drives them to school. Maybe it is to make up for the years I ran the carpool for our daughter from our New Hampshire home and he stayed at home with our young boys after I was up to nurse them in the night. I don't know. But it works. [You might ask how a farmwife can possibly not be a morning person? Well, that's another blog posting. Let's just say that these late nights and wee hours of the morning tend to be a winter phenomenon. I'm convinced it is also genetic. My father, and his father, were both night people. It's in my blood.]

I was working on a project and just couldn't stop. The quiet of the night, the stillness of the house, the surrounding darkness, save for the computer screen. Are you with me? If you are a night person you will know this uninterrupted solitude to be a strange comfort.

Image from www.JudyCox.net
At one point I took a break from my writing to go watch something on the television and to finish up the dishes. The wind started to pick up and sounded angry. It was then, at that moment, that I felt very much alone and just wanted to get under the warm quilts piled onto our bed. Before I did that I went to check on my boys, as I always do before I go to sleep. I first thought Henry was talking in his sleep––this strange, piteous cawing sound. Then I realized it was a group of crows who had been confused by the wind. It was eerie and disconcerting to hear them. This was only a few minutes after I was certain that the shingles were going to come off of the roof from a prolonged gust. It was time to go to sleep, groundhog!

After my productive stretch of writing, and a bit of pre-sleep reading (no matter the hour, I read before bed), I slept from about 4am until 10, made some coffee, and did some channel surfing. I don't know why but I landed on "The Jim Bakker Hour" or some such. I thought, for a moment, that it was 1987. There he was, aged since Tammy Faye days, with a Tammy Faye-type woman next to him and another guy. They were all in bathrobes and talking about sleep bands and tips for conducive sleep. I thought the tips made sense but the sight of them in their bathrobes talking about sleep aids made me think I was in an alternative universe. Perhaps televangelism is kind of like that.

Mid afternoon I was tired from all of that writing, not enough sleep, and, well, not doing much of anything after a week of moving stuff around between buildings and sorting stuff out. So I tucked into bed with a memoir I've been reading [Just Kids by Patti Smith about her love affair and decades-long friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe––it won the 2010 National Book Award for nonfiction and I recommend it highly], finished it, and had a long nap. It was the kind of nap where I was so relaxed that I slept deeply and awoke refreshed. I also had a visit with a few old friends and family members and places that I've known. So a journey of sorts––the best kind of dreaming.

No, there was no groundhog in our chili!
I awoke in the late afternoon and the return of my family. I was in a chili mood so made a big vat of it along with a nice cornbread ("northern style"). Now some laundry is in, I'm just finishing up this blog post and the family is asleep again. I will post the recipes tomorrow as I'm hoping to get to bed "at a decent hour" tonight. We'll see. I do blame a lot of this sleep kerfuffle on perimenopause. It's just easier to suggest a reason. I'm glad that my family tolerates my occasional schedule lapses or, should I say, enables them.


You come back when you're ready!

Catherine

1 comment:

  1. I don't know how I missed this one but I did.

    I have to be a morning person and a late night person and a middle of the day person. I have no choice. I am servant to the whims of a pride of miniature lions who think I should be at their beck and call. So??? I am! I don't get enough sleep unless I fall asleep watching TV, which is not an uncommon occurrence. I don't sleep for very long because they think I'm more comfortable than the daybed or the footstool or the floor or the countertop or the rocking chair or . . . You get the picture!

    Joberta

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