Most nights the whimpering of my neighbor’s dog wakes me two or three times. I listen to its sorrow manifest as small low moans and short yips. I don’t know if it yearns to be inside or if strains to run with the coyotes in the meadow. I fall asleep wondering.
Two days ago, a motor’s roar broke my sleep. From the volume and nearness, I knew it had to be a big rig, come into the park late, its owner scrambling to settle. A Class A, perhaps; or at least a large truck pulling something heavy. I drifted in and out of consciousness, wondering why they didn’t shut down, hoping they had not gotten into trouble, wishing for silence.
In the morning, the noise had not abated. As the sun rose, I came fully awake and realized that no one would leave their motor on til dawn. I stood, looking around my tiny house, perplexed.
Then I began to laugh.
One of my trusty metal 14-inch fans had vibrated until it touched the banister leading to my writing loft. In turn, the vibration of the balustrade had traveled to the upright, which had set the floor of the loft to a low rumble. That floor forms the ceiling of the daybed chamber where I struggled to sleep despite the constant hum. In my dazed state, I had mistaken the tiny efforts of the little fan to right itself for a new, inconsiderate neighbor running an engine for hours.
Last evening as I sat on my front porch, I glanced in the direction of the road, beyond which lies the San Joaquin. The sun had eased itself to the horizon, its rays rising from the river bed like flame on dry timber. I watched until the glow faded, then went into my little sanctuary and closed the door against the chill of the Delta night.
It’s the first day of the sixty-ninth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.
Out beyond the ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field. I will meet you there. – Rumi