Tuesday, May 5, 2009

MIDNIGHT…

Midnight, or nearly so. I’ve been dozing in front of the TV for the last half hour. Must have been the full day of yard work on my winter-softened body. Every muscle aches; my joints feel rusted and inoperable, stiff, swollen. Who would have thought shoveling, hauling, and spreading a dozen wheelbarrow loads of topsoil and perhaps twice that many of mulch would have wrecked me to such an extent? Not only am I no longer the man I used to be…I’m beginning to doubt I ever was. In less than a week I’ll have another birthday. Tonight, I feel about a decade older already. I obviously need to go to bed, which presents the problem of standing up. Two attempts and a couple of pitiful groans later, I’m vertical…more or less. I switch off the television. Just pushing the remote button hurts. As the room is suddenly plunged into darkness, I hear Moon the dog hop off her snoozing spot on the end of the other couch facing the fireplace. Time to take her out for her final constitutional—providing I can shuffle to the door. The dog and I step outside, onto the side deck. Moon makes a quick snuffle-check under the end of the deck for any errant raccoon or possum that might be hiding there, then trots off into the darkness to complete her doggy rounds. The air temperature can’t be more than a degree or two above fifty—if that; I’m wearing shorts and a tee shirt, so I quickly come fully awake. There’s a cloistered feel to the night, due in part to the light cloud cover which has blotted out all stars and dimmed the nearly full moon to less than half power—its wane light smeared and strangely colored as it slips through the topmost branches of the greening sycamores. Sound fills the darkness…the reemerged voice of the river, missing these last few days because of the high water. In the scant light I can just make out the whiteness of broken water above the riffle. The actual riffle is still a foot or two underwater—but the new hydraulics of water hitting stone is pushing waves to the surface. It is these waves, playing out upon the current, that fill the night with their muted roar. A friendly sound to a riverman…the sound that says my stream is returning to normal. I step off the deck and walk across the yard, trying to remember where I dug those new planting beds so’s I don’t fall into one like a stumbling drunk. The clouds have now completely obscured the moon. There’s a bench on top of the little hillock at the edge of the property, and for just a minute I take a seat—enjoying the cool solitude, the sound of the river, and the feeling I get just looking at the shadowy bulk of the cottage. Somewhere not too far upstream a great horned owl hoots, which sends an involuntary shiver down my spine…though maybe it is just the cold air on my underclad body. Moon the dog comes snuffling over, possibly wondering what I’m doing sitting up here in the May darkness. I pat her head. In dog years she’s about the age I feel. Okay, enough of these self-pitying, maudlin thoughts. I hoist myself up, stifling the urge to groan, and head back to the cottage. I think we’ll both feel better after a good night’s rest.

16 comments:

Wanda said...

"Mesmerizing Midnight Post"

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Wanda…

Thank you. I'm glad you liked it—plus I think your "title" would have worked better than mine.

Carolyn H said...

Griz: Great post! And I can so relate. Dog and I will be the same age in a few days (his birthday not mine). Forget the wheelbarrows. Just sitting for a few hours and then trying to stand takes minutes to work out. This getting old thing ain't for sissies, I can tell you that!

Carolyn h.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Carolyn…

I often think of that old line: "If I'd known I was going to live this long—I'd have taken better care of myself."

I can tell you, an awful lot of the things I used to do are probably catching up with me. Or the years truly make a difference.
Whatever, I'm just plain battered today—but not quiet beaten. My "tennis elbow" pain is also getting worse. It takes two hands sometimes to drink a cup of coffee. Nevertheless, I've been hard at work since mid-morning, moving soil and mulch, trying to get the yard in proper shape and some of the stuff built, dug, planted, moved, etc. that needs doing.

Moon the dog is supervising.

Lynne said...

I find my stamina gives out faster and I recover MUCH slower that even a few years ago.

Ibuprofen is my friend.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Lynne…

Because it conflicts with another medication I take, I can't take Ibuprofen, so I rely on the occasional Tylenol—which doesn't do much good. It's mostly grit it out as much as I can and give up temporarily when I can't. I work in spurts—work, rest…work…rest…work…REST.

The work periods get shorter and the rest periods longer as the day progresses. Big surprise!

gleaner said...

I love the photo of the nightime moon. When I can't sleep I always enjoy having a gaze and a ponder into the nighttime world outside the house...its so special to be out in nature at night when mortals sleep, the moon and the shadows never disappoint. Great post!

Deb said...

I am groaning after an ambitious afternoon of gardening on Sunday, so I can relate! And, I so enjoy your writing. I felt as if I was there.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gleaner…

Isn't that moon neat! I came back in, grabbed a camera, and when it reappeared from behind a cloud, made three or four shots before going to bed. It just doesn't look like the moon at all.

I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I love being out after dark—especially long after the world has quieted down and I can feel like I'm the only person up and around for miles. It gives you a real perspective.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Deb…

Thank you. I never know about the writing, so I just write to please myself on a given day and piece and hope someone else likes it, too. If I can make you feel like you were there, then that's the best compliment ever!

I worked Sunday, Monday, and today—and you can't believe had sore I feel right now. So it's grab the Ben Gay and head for bed!

Lisa said...

Wow. Who would have thought just a common situation could be turned into such a magnificient story. Wonderful read!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Lisa…

Welcome to the riverbank! I'm glad you enjoyed the piece and hope you find others ahead you like, too.

Thank you!

Gail said...

Hi Grizz-

Amazing photo. I love the mystery of it so much.
Your pre-sleep rituals are beautiful, purposeful and wondrous.
And now that I think of it, so are you.

Love Gail
peace......

p.s. lots going on here - time is sparse.

Jayne said...

My mind always thinks my body can do anything... and more and more, I pay the price the next day. Beautiful writing. :c)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

I'm busy here too, trying to get a bunch of projects done before I head off south for a few days next Wednesday. Plus there's the usual chores and errands and appointments.

That was a strange moon—or it appeared strange due to the fog/mist. I was surprised how it came out in the photo.

Thank you, also, for your nice comment.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jayne…

My mind lies to me all the time. It's raining here today, which considering how I feel, is a really good thing—otherwise I'd be outside trying to get more done.

I'm glad you liked the piece.