It’s a few minutes after 4 in the morning.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been awake at this time of the night. I was sleeping well – we turned the air conditioning off and opened the windows tonight, so there was a gentle breeze coming in. Still, I occasionally have a “hospital dream”, where I’m back in the hospital, and tonight I had one of those. Not a scary one, just one where I knew I was dreaming, and knew I didn’t want to be back in the hospital, so I woke up… and suddenly I’m wide awake. The breeze through the window felt good, and it carried some of my favorites sounds of all, the sound of frogs and crickets, coyotes howling in the fields and woods across the street. The nighttime sounds of summer blended with the gentle sounds of my wife sleeping next to me.
Got a drink of water, walked around the house just to check, make sure things were all right. FlipFlop, our little 4-year old dog, heard me moving and followed me into the kitchen. Once he’d determined that I was just getting water, and not a snack for him, he sighed loudly and padded back into the bedroom.
I checked the kids. Both are sound asleep, although I know Max was up late reading tonight. Max. He started driver’s education last week. I look back at the timeline of our life and still wonder at how it’s possible for him to be old enough for driver’s ed… He’ll do well, but the Dad in me worries anyway.
Maggie is sleeping. More change is on the way there, too. We’ve spent lots of time this summer visiting college campuses with her, trying to help as she decides where to go to college. Less than a year and she’ll be graduating High School. Again, I scroll back through the past 17 years… yep, they happened. She’s officially old enough to graduate. I close her bedroom door quietly, and stand in the hallway for a moment, just shaking my head.
I get another drink of water. It’s cold, and feels good. Standing here at the sink, looking out the window, the nighttime sounds are louder. Are those katydids? I forget which is which – katydids, crickets, frogs, I’m sure there’s something else out there too. I’ll ask Jeanne, she’s the science teacher, she’ll know. All I know is I love the sound.
I think about change. Another few weeks, the sounds of summer will fade. In a couple of weeks we start rehearsals for our tenth season at the theatre. At the same time school will start for the kids and Jeanne. An exciting time, so much possibility. The excitement, the nervousness – how will it all turn out? Where will we all be a year from now, when we’re closing out a decade of Williamston Theatre? When our home has only one kid in high school, and the other is planning to move out and start her adult life? Will we be happy with the year we’ve had? Will we feel we’ve accomplished enough over the year? I wonder.
It occurs to me to ask those questions of myself, about the year I’ve just had. With kids in school, a teacher for a wife, and a theatre season that runs September through August, this time of year has always felt like it’s as much a line in the sand as New Year’s Eve does. A boundary, from old to new.
But tonight won’t be about answering those questions. Now it’s time to get some more sleep. I’m sure I’ll have to scoot FlipFlop off my side of the bed when I get back – he’ll sigh again, and drop himself into his own little bed next to the dresser, disappointed that I’ve reclaimed my spot…
And with a little luck, the frogs and crickets will lull me to sleep.
Crickets? Katydids? Maybe I’ll remember to ask Jeanne.