3:48 in the Morning

warning: this post contains only words, no photos. You see, I didn’t take my phone; I took my eyes and head. I’m such a radical. E-radical. Eradical. And it was dark, so… 

“Happiness is a form of courage”

Holbrook Jackson

My dog, Blue, woke me up at 3:48 this morning.

He wanted to go out.

So I went with him outside into the dark night.

FARM night is much different from CITY night.

FARM night is much different from SUBURBAN night.

It’s been awhile since I was out and about at this hour.

(Not that I’m “about.” I’m mainly just “out.”)

I had forgotten about the magic that swirls and twirls around the night air.

Especially a dark, FARM night.

Star bright. Moon light. Moonshine.

Moonshine. Named such because it was made under the cover of darkness, by the moon’s light.

Moondance. In my head: “It’s a marvelous night for a moon dance…” (Van Morrison, Michael Buble, me.)

I should, but I don’t.

But the large maple trees do. Their leaves sway gently in the cool, crisp breeze. I see them, but I also hear them doing their moondance. Rustle, rustle, do the rustle. *hustle* I still remember the steps to the hustle. But I don’t do that either.

Instead, I wander over to the big red tobacco barn where my barn quilt hangs. We keep white lights on the roof-line all year-long. They are off now. They’ll come on again tomorrow night at 8:45. Always makes me happy to see the lights shining when I drive up to the farm at night.

Five years ago, I’d have been nervous out here. I’d have thought about snakes under my feet and bears in the woods behind the house and coyotes on the hill and the wild big cats we call “panthers.” I’d have been alert for boogie men, ghosts, and everything creepy that goes bump in the night. I’d have hurried Blue along so that we could get back inside the safety of a roof and four walls.

After living on a farm in the middle of nowhere for five years, I am braver than I was. I know now that I can handle anything. I ain’t ‘fraid of…nothin’. Okay, maybe I’m overselling. I am still afraid of snakes. A lot.

If you ever wondered whether the big frogs in the pond and the little frogs in the trees  stop their loud croaking at 3:58, the answer is no. Their voices or legs or whatever they do to create sound was loud.

If you ever wondered whether the lightning bugs have stopped their twinkling and blinking at 3:58, the answer is no. Their golden lights flash in the branches of the Christmas trees we grow, in the tops of the tall grasses in the meadow, in the black walnut orchard. The night is full of their twinkle. Seeing fireflies always makes me feel happy. Maybe it’s a nostalgia for a simpler, quieter, easy time of childhood.

There’s nothing quite like this. The quiet and noise of the early morning out in the country.

A truck goes down the road in front of my house. I wonder if the driver is coming home or headed into town. Either way, I’m happy to be standing in my yard contemplating “night” and “darkness” rather than in my own truck, hurrying somewhere.

A bat flits erratically overhead. Is a bat’s flight pattern so crazy because they are blind? Or because they catch every mosquito in their vicinity?

I catch a whiff of a something incredibly sweet. What is in bloom? It reminds me of gardenia, but our winters don’t let us smell gardenia in these mountains.

In the hot, humid flat lands where I grew up in Georgia, gardenia was always a favorite of mine. When it comes to flower aromas, there’s nothing as strong and sweet and deliciously heady as the aroma of gardenias. In one house, I planted a whole row of gardenia bushes. While I’ve always loved gardenia, I remember that my Grandmother hated them. To her, they were the smell of death. Because their strong, sweet aroma veiled the stench of death, they were used at wakes and funerals. To her, it was like anti-aromatherapy. I guess when she smelled them, she was taken back to sad times—in the same way that when we smell vanilla, we are taken back to our mothers’ kitchens.

One of my favorite flower aromas around here is purple lilacs. Those we can’t grow in Georgia because it’s too hot and sticky there for lilacs to thrive. My father tried a hybrid variety that promised success in their grow zone. They lied. It is a pretty bush, but no lilacs. Here in the Appalachian mountains, our lilacs were bitten by a late snow and even later freeze this year. Suffering from lilac withdrawal, I went out and bought myself a lilac candle.

I look up at the night sky and try to remember where in the big, upside down, black bowl I can find the constellations. That’s what some ancients believed, that there was a big upside down bowl encasing our flat earth. I totally get why they’d think that. That is what it looks like from where I’m standing. Didn’t I read that Jupiter was supposed to be visible this month, close to the moon? I seek, but do not find. Would I know it if I saw it? Eh, guess not. The sheer volume of stars that you can see when you are away from light pollution is breath-taking. I mean, it really takes your breath away. I look up there, so vast. So much. So grand. I look down at my feet. Big sky. Little feet.

And on those feet are my faded pink crocs with a fuzzy liner. Comfort before beauty. Good lord, I wouldn’t have been caught dead in these five years ago, even alone at night. Perspective.

Country life takes courage. Country life grows courage.

I remember the quote, happiness takes courage. At that time, I don’t remember who said it, but I do think about the sentiment it contains.

Happiness also takes hope, I think.

Courage and hope.

Blue comes running back, and we head inside.

I put on a pot of coffee. Why even try to find sleep? Why pretend?

Instead, I accept the truth that I’ll be tired all day.

Not so with Blue, who curls up in his favorite chair. In no time at all I feel a little jealous when I hear his quiet snoring.

I light my lilac candle, open my computer, and work on my courage to find happiness.

Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life,

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl in the Country, Rebekah

(okay, I guess I have to add a photo. this is a blog post afterall. I can’t find one of the moon, so about this one? Me on a friend’s horse, Andre the Giant, on a cold winter’s ride in NC.)








Leave a comment 12 Comments

  1. Ramona Puckett says:

    I live out in the country, too, and I love the quiet even though it’s a different kind of quiet. With the frogs in the pond, making their own kind of music, the horses munching in the pasture, the coyotes yelping in the forest. The train’s whistle from 8 miles away. Love your posts!

  2. Mary Frances Rauch says:

    OK, now you are showing off! What I mean is, you just outdid yourself by writing from your heart and head at the same time!
    I don’t know how to do that. I think I always hold back for fear of being exposed by revealing my “inside person” to the world? I bet it really feels good to write a piece like you just did here and then go back and read it aloud to yourself?
    Please keep writing to us. It’s a real joy to visit you “on the inside”.

  3. Diane Van Horn says:

    Rebekah, Your writing is so descriptive I can see, feel and smell your 3:48 am jaunt. I have taken my dog out in the middle of the night and have been in just as much awe as you are. Sometimes I just sit on my porch and stare at the moon. There is something so peaceful and haunting in the dark night. Thank you for sharing your sleep deprived night with us.

  4. When we first moved to our farm, the corn in the fields surrounding us was drying…tall, waving in the breeze, making that noise the drying corn does when it brushes against corn in other rows. When night came, I was sure a “children of the corn” scenario was about to unfold. Well, that was years ago…now one of my favorite times is the alternate years between plantings of soybeans, winter wheat, and corn…when the corn surrounds us on all sides. Now I wouldn’t hesitate to sit outside and listen to the sounds of owls, tree frogs, and even the coyotes in the distance (okay, make that far distance!) Always enjoy reading your posts…thanks for taking the time to share them with us.

  5. winnie Jackson says:

    I found being outside in the middle of the night very calming, quiet and peaceful. I live in the country. I just loved the quiet. Looking up at the sky. Seeing the beautiful stars.
    When I looked up I spoke to both of my passing family members. Saying hello and a quick prayer as I talked to them. I think everyone should experience this time of night. One experience that you won’t forget. Just a delight to do. Why not with kids as well. If someone goes camping they could do this experiment with the folks you are with. Perhaps not quite as quiet if there are party people around. You want a place that is less traveled.
    Try this you will not be sorry. Winnie Jackson

  6. Marilyn says:

    Thank You for this interesting post. You sure have a lovely place to live.

  7. Pamela says:

    Just thank you.

  8. Paulajean says:

    Yours is one of the few blogs I read asap when it pops into my box! Mary Frances said it well-you are able to write from your head and heart in such a lovely way.

  9. 4:15am.
    Magical and welcoming. No traffic. Just the lonesome sound of a locomotive making it’s way up the Cajon Pass. Myself and the dogs were the only ones awake, still to early for birdsong. Loved it!

  10. Pamela deMarrais says:

    Love this post! I felt just like I was outside. You are a great writer. Thanks for making my morning. (Yes, I got up early this morning, but I went back to bed. Ahhh)

  11. Martha says:

    Beautiful post. I am contemplating buying a little piece of land in the country. I am not going to lie, I am scare of all of the things you mentioned.

    I am working on finding my courage.

    Thank you for your post.

  12. Denise says:

    Aww reading this post makes me long for country life. I’m currently in suburbia, but my dream is to own a little land where I can see the stars at night, hear the country life sounds and grow both my garden and myself. This is one memory you’ll keep treasured in your heart for years to come. Precious. I’ll hold onto this with hope and courage until my own dream comes true, happy farm days (and nights).

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>