Summer sleep

We often speak of four seasons, but when it comes to sleepwear, I only have two seasons. And last night was the night for the switch. Details aren’t important for this journal, but I have a warmer, heavier garnet for winter and a lighter, cooler one for summer. I woke this morning in my summer outfit with the ceiling fan gently rotating in the bedroom and the birds singing outside the open window. It really is a pleasant way to sleep and to wake up.

My wife and I have different notions of how to sleep, which despite outward appearances, has made for a very compatible relationship. She likes to be warm and piles a couple of quilts upon herself to sleep. I prefer a light cover and sometimes sleep with just a sheet. That doesn’t keep her from tucking me in an piling the blankets on me if she comes to bed after I’ve fallen asleep. No worries, I can always find a way to stick an arm or leg out from under the pile of covers and soon have things just the way I like them. She, on the other hand, carefully covers herself beneath layers of blankets. This proves to be a very nice arrangement because if she steals blankets from me, which I doubt, she is welcome to them. We never fight over them. We start out with a sufficient supply that there are plenty to go around. And I’m perfectly happy with things the way they are.

I have a few friends who complain about their wives and express difficulties in sharing blankets. I’ve never understood their complaints. Why not just get more blankets? Over the course of a long marriage, they seem to collect around the house anyway. We’ve got small blankets on chairs and the back of the sofa and all around our house. I think they were received as gifts mostly. I’m pretty sure we could have all of the utilities go out for a week in the middle of the winter and we’d be in no danger of hypothermia around here.

Ah, but to sleep under a light sheet, with a quiet fan to sir the air and an open window next to your bed - that’s a really really pleasant experience. And I can hear the sweet sound of my partner’s breathing from somewhere under that big pile of covers next to me on the bed. Life is good.

The weatherman tells us to expect some higher than normal temperatures for the next couple of weeks. I’ve gotten out of touch with what normal is anymore anyway, so what I think it means is that the grass is really growing fast. I need to get out there and mow it right away before it gets away from me. It seems to me like we went from winter to summer all in a very short time. One day there were no daffodils blooming in the bed in front of the porch and the next day there was a profusion of white and yellow that really got your attention. One day I was looking out at the snow on the deck and the next I’m thinking it is time to get out the lawn mower and change the oil on the snowblower and get it ready for summer storage. If we were planting a vegetable garden this year, which we are not due to travel plans, I would be behind on tilling and planting. Time to get seeds in the ground!

Maybe it is a product of age. Maybe it is that the times are changing. Whatever, I used to think of summer as a season with a slightly lazier pace. We got a break from school Summer was a time for tree houses and trips to the library and fishing and playing in the river. I now know that the slow pace of summer was a phenomenon for kids only in our home. My father ran two businesses that serviced agriculture producers. He’d rise at 4 am to be at the airport and flying in the cool early hours of first sunlight. Then he’d put in a busy day at his farm machinery dealership, where things always were hopping in the summer, with emergency repairs, farmers who needed parts right now, and lots of delivery work to enable the farmers and ranchers to be out in the field. I remember once hearing my mother gently advise my father that perhaps it would be wiser to wait until later to make sales calls. He replied, “They’re farmers. If they aren’t up at 6 win the morning they should be!”

I’m pretty sure there wasn’t much lazing around in bed in the summers when I was a kid. But we did sleep with all of the windows in the house open and the wind blowing through the house could be felt in that place in those days. Once school was out for summer we were allowed short pants, which were cutoff jeans, and short pajamas. And open windows meant that we could easily hear the rush of the river outdoors. In addition to occasional camping trips to the mountains, we were allowed to sleep outside in a tent in the yard from time to time. Sleeping in our treehouses, except for an occasional quick nap in the day time, however. was strictly forbidden. I guess there were some structural engineering problems with our tree houses of which I wasn’t particularly aware. On the other hand, the lack of level floors sometimes presented a challenge. I figured that if I did ever sleep up there, I’d need a rope for extra security, sort of like a seat belt in a car.

Best of all, however, was sleeping under the stars on our trampoline. It was a soft, comfortable surface and we didn’t need anything to cover us up. We’d sleep in our daytime clothes, a practice that doesn’t seem appealing to me these days, but which, at the time, was a treat. Why waste time changing clothes? We could “wash” them by playing in the river the next day and they’d be as good as new for another day.

Life is a bit busier for me these days. But, as I sat on the deck after supper last night and enjoyed the pleasant evening, I was aware of how good we really have it and how lucky we are to live in the hills.

Copyright (c) 2018 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!