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sleeping out

November 29, 2012

My mind has been on the years I spent in New Mexico this morning. I was thinking in the middle of the night (when I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep) of living in the little pink house. I’ve talked of it other places here. Look under Married Years if you want to read more.

One year, Louie borrowed a flat bed trailer from someone. I don’t even remember what he borrowed it for now, probably to haul wood or hay. Because it wasn’t ours he parked it right beside the house under the kitchen window until he could return it to the owner. Late in the evening, after Notah was asleep, we decided to sleep out on it.

I would have just taken blankets and made our bed on the wood floor of the trailer. Not Louie. He carried the mattress out and laid it on the bed of the trailer. We slept in comfort under the stars.

Then there was nothing in the world like the stars in the desert. Now there is much of the same light pollution there that we have in Ohio and only the brightest stars can be seen. But then we lay there looking straight up into the heavens and the number of stars was unimaginable. You think you’ve camped back east and seen stars at night—you have no idea of what it is like in the deep desert. There are multitudes of tiny stars that are hidden by the afterglow of lights from towns and even the big privacy lamps beside barns and in back yards near human habitations.

We had no campfire or any kind of light. The only light anywhere around was the tiny flame of the kerosene lamp in beside Notah. Its little glow didn’t even reach the window. I can’t describe the feeling of being there under that huge sky all alone. It takes a special relationship with God and nature to be able to lie down and simply go to sleep in such an exposed location. Most people are only comfortable surrounded by walls it seems.

But lying there in the darkness with the shimmer of starlight overhead, snuggled under the blankets with the other person you trust most in the world, has a special kind of security and seclusion. Mom and the boys were all asleep, either inside or out. (The boys often slept outside) Dorothy and her family were all settled inside snoozing away. It was just the two of us. Even Notah, safe and warm in his crib, didn’t infringe on the silence.

Sitting here in my recliner, closing my eyes I can still feel the furnace that was Louie close beside me and the cold breeze on my face as it blew in from across the sagebrush and sand and rabbit bush. If you ever have a chance, go out deep in the desert and camp sometime. It will be worth it.

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