Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I USED TO BE A MORNING PERSON. No matter how late I stayed up, or how tired I still was, I'd be up at the crack of dawn, unwilling, but relentlessly awake. The moment the sun creeps into my window, sleep is over for me. In many ways this was a good thing. When the sun rises early in the summer, I'm up, and after the blood starts flowing and the grogginess wears off, I'm energetic. I try to get most of my work done early, while the energy is high. It's a little harder in the winter, when I often have to get up before the sun, but I have always embraced that rhythm. The flip side is that I can't stay up late. Come 9 PM, I'm yawning and stretching and thinking about my cozy bed.

But everything changed when I made myself a lavender eye pillow. I first discovered them in yoga class, where we would spend the last five minutes of the session in shivasana, or corpse pose, lying flat on our backs with our arms outstretched. I'd take off my glasses and cover my eyes with a lavender eye pillow, and would instantly relax deeply. It was partly the gentle scent of the lavender, and partly the gentle weight on my eyes, blocking all light that might distract me from my relaxation. Often, I would nearly settle into sleep before Bev's voice would call me back.

 I made myself a lavender eye pillow. It was very simple. I cut a rectangle out of my favorite dress, after I finally admitted that I was not the only one who could see the tiny holes in the floral pattern. I cut it a bit wider than the eye pillows at yoga class—more like a card envelope than a business envelope. I wanted it to cover more of my face. I sewed it up on three sides and filled it with a mixture of rice and lavender buds. I drizzled some lavender oil on the mixture, stirred it and let it sit for awhile. Then I poured the mixture into the pillow and sewed up the last side. I stitched around the edges a couple of times to make sure it wouldn't leak.

I keep that little pillow on my bedside table, and in the morning, when the sun gives its first, creeping call, I decide whether I've had enough sleep. If not, I grab that pillow and lay it over my eyes and let the gentle weight, the powdery scent, and the quiet darkness lull me back to sleep. The only problem with getting this extra sleep, is that it's pushing my bedtime later and later. I'm now in a cycle of late nights and late mornings, and I suppose I'll live to regret all this when school starts again.


This morning, it was after 9 when I got up. I went out to feed the chickens and saw something strange and wondrous in the sky. I was a little frightened, because it was like the whole world was covered with a flossy grey blanket. The sun was nowhere to be seen, and the blanket was low over the corn and filled with puffs and swirls. I sat down in the glider, and as I looked at the sky, I could feel that I had seen something like this a long time ago. Then I noticed another strange feeling. I wasn't sweating! It was cool. I let the breeze wash over me as I sat in wonderment.

As I sat, the breeze grew stronger and started blowing holes in my protective blanket, and I could see the familiar blue of the sky. Around the pockets of blue are the bright, puffy clouds that carry no rain. And now the breeze comes from the east, pushing whole parade. For a few minutes a big hole of blue sails directly above us. The shadows return and I feel the sun on my back. I sit with my chickens, and together we wait, and wait for rain.

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