Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sleeping in the Fresh Kansas Air

No snakes, chiggers, poison ivy but plenty of fresh country air ... and noise!  Who knew?

Early summer dawn lights the kitchen... Nice.

The view continues to improve through the office windows.
Last night was the first chance to use the sleeping porch as it was intended.  I purchased a cheap twin bed in Topeka and hauled it home in the back of my Ford.  I wrestled the pieces into the house and set it up in the screened-in back porch.  Only one pinched finger, minimal cursing, almost no obscenties.  It went surprisingly well.

I slipped zippered plastic cases over the boxed springs and the mattress to hopefully keep the bed from being soaked whenever it rains.  Then I happily made up the new bed with new bright red cotton sheets.  I have been looking forward to this event for such a long time. 

After coaxing Wally back into the pasture after he wandered through the defective southeast gate and then roping that gate shut, it was dark and I had sweated through my clothes.  I was ready for a shower and bedtime in the new sleeping porch! 

The sound of the little creek has long been the main reason for wanting a sleeping porch.  I imagined it would be so peaceful and calming to lay safely in bed listening to the musical tones of running water.  Nature has thoughtfully obliged after two years of drought and the creek is musically flowing again.

At last abed, I allowed myself the luxury of a long, contented sigh.  I allowed my gratitude for this beautiful little corner of the earth to rise fully into my consciousness.  I opened to the energy of Spiritcreek, feeling for the ebb and flow of the water, the wind, the warming of the soil, and those creatures that call these few acres home.  The sublime peace lasted for all of five minutes.

I suddenly realized that the mattress I was laying on was not the comfy, cushy mattress I had tried out in the furniture store.  It was a slab of concrete!  All the twisting and pulling and lifting while moving the bed, and later "mending" the fence, was being angrily expressed by my underworked back muscles.  I tossed and turned.

Duke was on patrol, and something he truly did not want in his territory was south of the creek.  Being an honest dog, he was doing his job barking in his deepest, most authoritative voice over and over... and over... and over... again.  When he was satisfied that creature was far enough away from his property, the neighbor dog to the south, who sounds exactly like the Duke, took up the same warning.  He lives over a mile away but I could hear him plainly.

Then the tree frogs and a little bird that chirps and twitters all night long began a monotonous serenade.  I thought only owls (which were also hooting) were the only birds awake at night!  That was clearly wrong thinking.  The lonesome lowing of the cattle, maybe the mother cows for their calves, added a melancholy touch to the still night air.  I swear I heard a donkey braying far off, too.

Alright, so the silence I imagined will come in the winter months!  It was still peaceful and comforting to hear all of the night sounds over the voice of Spirtcreek.  It was fun to be cozily in bed in the wonderfully constructed porch, professionally screened against the onslaught of millions of pounds of the flying biomass found on the prairie.  The air was cooling and the half moon graced everything in sight with a white glaze.  Wally's light hide was glowing from across the fence.  To the north I could see a few stars bright enough to shine through the moonlight.  There was no breeze at all but the fresh prairie scents were delicious and comforting. 

I accidentally found a comfortable position and fell asleep.  I only woke up five or six more times throughout the night.  There were different things - the phone ringing - a tremendous aching in my knee - my arm falling painfully asleep - unknown reasons (Big Foot emerging from the woods?).  I am not complaining even though it seems as if I am.  I am thrilled to have this long-held dream now firmly in reality where I can enjoy it.  I could have seen the aurora borealis in the northern sky if it had been there last night.  There are a million differnt tones to be found in all of the Kansas winds, and the Kansas skies will produce a variety of lightning, stormy nights, and meteor showers over the coming years.  I will have a ring-side seat for all of it.  Maybe the most anticipated event is the first benign snowfall when the silent flakes fall straight down.  I will be bundled up in bed witnessing the snow cover everything in a mystical white.  The best is yet to come.  Always.


cyberkit said...

Delicious! It took me a while to get through it. I kept falling asleep.

Kathy said...

So nice! The noise when sleeping outside or in a covered porch is surprising -- but the air and the stars and the closeness to the natural world makes it worthwhile. However, having spent many uncomfortable nights, myself, on a rock hard ancient futon on our sleeping porch, I highly recommend spending $50 or so on an unenvironmentally sound, toxin-spewing memory foam mattress cover. Open it up (they come tightly compressed in a plastic cover), let it expand and outgas for a day or two, then wrassle it on and sleep in cushioned luxury.

Jackie said...

I'm on my way to town right now to get a memory foam mattress cover... and to the furniture store for a closer inspection of their "demo" mattress. I think I was hornswoggled by the varmits!

Don said...

Well, I've experienced early mornings, daytime and late evenings in the Flint Hills, but never spent an all night, but I can imagine and smell that night time prairie; that's just another thing few experience. Another great narrative Jackie and again I enjoyed the photos of your new Flint Hills domain.