For last couple of days, the air conditioning unit has been out. Parts have been ordered, fans have been blowing and patience has been exercised. But its been hot, ninety degree humid hot. Which makes everything just a little more, well, hot.
When I went to bed, I opened the window to try and pull in some non-stale air to replace what seemed to be hanging around enjoying the house. When I did, I couldn’t adjust the volume of the constant sounds of nature. Tree frogs, crickets, and I don’t know what else, were all singing in harmony to create an underlying, constant two or three note song.
Then, over top of that, was another sound that was louder than the rest. Some type of bird? The sound was intermittent but consistent. It seemed every time I started to doze off, I heard it again. I thought about starting the white noise app on my phone, or getting ear plugs. I even considered closing the window.
But right there, as I was supposed to be settling down and resting, I became obstinate. I decided I would sleep through whatever nature had to orchestrate outside that window. I even “pretended” I was sleeping under the stars (with mosquito netting of course). I wanted to enjoy the night sounds.
Minutes, maybe hours later I continued to toss and turn. I could enjoy the steady hum, but not that one type of sound that was so much louder than the rest. What type of bird or animal was that? It became more and more apparent that I might not get any sleep if I didn’t do something differently.
But I had already drawn that line in the sand. I would hold my ground, leave the window open, and sleep, or not sleep but I was not closing that window. And I didn’t. I might have been proud, as I awoke suddenly and realized “Nice! It’s quiet, I must have fallen asleep! I knew I could do it.”
But just before I could fire up my celebratory brain dance, another one of my senses was overcome with input. A smell. No, it was a stench. It was so foul and suddenly all I could notice. A skunk? Oh no, a skunk! The strength of the thick, foul odor was so overwhelming, I thought old “Pepe’ Le Pew” had crawled into bed with me, or at the very least was directly outside my window.
Before I knew it, I’d placed both hands on the window pulling it closed while trying to see if in fact the skunk was scaling the exterior house wall like Spider-Man, as the intensity of the stench suggested. In doing so, I completely forgot about my determined stance to stay in nature and sleep, “come-what-may” style. I abandoned my commitment to sleep under the stars, and exchanged it for the fear that I would stink all day.
This all happened within just a couple of seconds. “Score one for nature” I thought, as I processed the white flag I’d just raised in surrender to the challenge thrown down by my clever opponent. Hot, smelly and tired, but in a quiet room, I went back to sleep.