I used to wonder how anyone could “like” sleeping. I never liked or disliked it, but now I like it. For those few hours there is no virus, no impossibly stupid news, none of this exists. Last night (in an effort to keep me asleep) my imagination sent me two Siberian Huskies who, on their own, moved into my house with Bear and Teddy. They were beautiful gray and white ones like Cody O’Dog. They had the intelligence and independence of every Siberian Husky I’ve known who had a half-way decent puppy-hood and love from a knowledgeable and experienced human.
Obviously, I didn’t want to wake up. Huskies are wonder-dogs in themselves, but they also represent a time in my life when I could run in the mountains. That’s really the ONLY thing for which I would turn back the clock and I wouldn’t even care that it was running in the hills that brought to my current walking limit (for now? forever?) of 2 miles and (because that’s not enough) my ride the bike-to-nowhere reality.
For those of you who have never been trapped at home before, I’m an expert having been stuck here twice in the last year due to injuries. I’m happy with it, but that took a little stragetizing. A routine helps. Exercise is necessary. The bike-to-nowhere is not boring if you get in the habit of riding it — and watch a movie or a bike riding video. My favorites are “Bike the World” which are free on Youtube (uninterrupted, too) and silent so you can listen to whatever you want. The routes are great, many crossing mountain passes such as the Gottard or the Furkha. My favorite at the moment is “Crossing the Picos Europa.”
Extroverted people have a bigger adjustment than I have. I wouldn’t be hanging out with people much under normal circumstances, but shopping would not be the sketchy thing it is now.
Last night I was thinking about a lecture given by Michael J. Preston in my very first class in college. It was Middle English Verse Romances, an upper division class that he’d given me permission to take. I won’t say I “got it.” I didn’t, but in the fullness of time I became a Swiss Medievalist Historian.
Life is weird.
On that day Mike Preston said, “You have to understand what life was like for people in the Middle Ages. Night was DARK. Dark like none of you have ever experienced. I have experienced it. I grew up on a farm in Eastern Washington.” We were to hear about that farm a LOT. He then went on to say something more (I paraphrase because it’s been 50 years), “Outside their houses, away from their fires, were brigands and thieves. But that wasn’t all. There were beasts – wolves and bears — and some that lived in their imaginations. Beasts and demons waiting, waiting, to prey on them. They knew nothing about disease or its causes; it was just another one of the faceless monsters lurking beyond their fires, blood-thirsty, unpredictable, diabolical, invincible”
Last night, as I read the order finally passed down by our Governor, Jared Polis, telling us to stay home except for the usual, uh, exceptions, I thought of that lecture. I’m not living in Western Washington on a farm, and we have street lights, but it’s dark in the San Luis Valley. We’ve even been named — or parts of us have been named — National Dark Sky Areas. Out there in the Big Empty, where I walk so happily and peacefully with Bear, night is very dark. Then I thought of all of us hunkered down in our homes, and the scary beast beyond our windows.