I got up early this morning. I get up early every morning. During the weekdays, I swim with the Moscow Chinook Masters on MWF, and I run with the girls on TTh. On the weekends, I try to sleep in. But I can’t. Seems once I’ve programmed my body to awake before 5 am, it does not want to change. My sleep cycles are stubborn. I awake at 4:30 am. I’m beat by 8:30 pm. I can generally stay awake until 9:30, but I am really not productive during any of the hours that follow dinner. This is my routine, my sleep wake cycle. I have gotten used to it, and in some ways it is comforting.
Summer is turning into Fall on the Palouse. Sure, it is still plenty warm during the day, but wheat and pine pollen have been replaced by dust. It is no longer light out when I awake, the sun is not yet up when we start our run. My grass has slowed in its growth, and tomatoes ripen overnight. Greens in my CSA have been replaced by cucumbers, eggplant, and carrots. My horse and my dog are getting their winter coats. The night sky holds Orion, and I am awake now to see it. The crows and other birds are flocking up, the deer are visible in the harvested fields. The seasons cycle onward, and in some ways it is comforting.
Greg and I are attempting to locate ground water on the land that we made an offer on. Our offer is contingent on finding sufficient ground water to sustain us and our horses. Water is a precious commodity on the Palouse. There is a reason that the agriculture in this area is all dry land farming. There is no big river, no big lake to pull this resource from. People live on the local ground water. The shallow aquifers are dropping. Both of my kids learned about the ground water cycle at our red kitchen table, at the knee of their dad, long before they hit 9th grade earth science. Water falls as snow in the winter. Water picked up from the Pacific ocean is deposited as rain. Water is recycled from someone’s bath and poured on the garden. Water is conserved by turning off the faucet while brushing teeth. All this water makes it back into the ground. Our lives depend on the water cycle, and in some ways it is comforting.
The Fall season has always been hard on me. The freedom of a summer schedule makes way for the insanity of the school year starting. Play gives way to work. Fall is also full of anniversaries for this widow. 4 years ago today, I was waiting for Jasper and Emerald to arrive in Couer d’ Alene, and I was holding Jim’s hand as they prepped him for brain surgery. Fall was Jim’s radiation season, and the season of fund-raisers and benefit concerts. Fall was also the season of his dying. Treatment options exhausted, we settled into a daily cycle of palliative care, hikes, naps, visits with friends, and movies. As the years march on, I cycle back through the old familiar grief, and in some ways it is comforting.
Time may be linear, but our lives are cyclical. Trees fall and become nurse logs for the next generation of saplings. Salmon return to their birth place to spawn and die. Morels arrive in the Spring, and chanterelles are found in the Fall. We cycle through days, we cycle through seasons, the moon cycles through phases, and as women, we are very aware of the cycle of the months. Kids are born and grow up, but they come back into our lives in the never-ending dependence/independence cycle. Failed relationships teach us lessons that are drawn upon as we build new ones. People grow old (or not), and die, and their memories cycle through our hearts and minds to shape who we are becoming. Life is cyclical, and in some ways it is comforting.
I got up early this morning. I kissed Greg on his way out the door to work. I packed my swim bag and looked at the back door. I did not go swimming today, I sat down to write instead. Think I’ll try to squeeze in a bike ride sometime today. Sometimes cycles are meant to be broken. Perhaps I will be able to sleep in this weekend. Life may be cyclical, but it is not always comfortable.