Into the morning of September 2, 2013, I slept on the deck of our house in Lincoln for the first time in … quite interestingly, exactly four years! This is something that I occasionally did when I lived at home, but since most of my previous vacations to Lincoln were during the winter, I did not have an opportunity to sleep outside (in this sense) for these four years. Thus, why not I give my eight-second story of waking up on the deck?
The clear and dark skies of six hours ago have rolled away for a while. Darkness with the spots of stars, clearly visible to the east, south, and west without any light pollution, has become a sky of blue and yellow. The golden sphere has emerged, and the birds are chirping. The credits in the movies in my head have finished rolling. However, these movies are forgotten as of this second.
My entire body is enveloped in a comfortable, Coleman sleeping bag. Two white pillows prop up my head. Yawning, the eyes gradually open. Re-arranging the arms, my blue and black watch wants me to press its upper-left-hand button. Clicking it, the face lights up blue and reads “07:41:31.” Although not 07:00, clearly I can still wake up naturally in the vicinity of that time. My arms push upwards, and separate the top flap of Coleman to create a right triangle projected onto itself on a seam. My head elevates and looks straight ahead, westbound.
My myopic eyes can only see the details as far as the vertical bars ahead, but I know what lies past the limits of my eye’s details. Rest assured, these vertical bars are not those of a jail! In case I would have rolled about overnight, these bars would have saved me from a significant fall. Beyond the bars straight ahead, the trees of our western forest happily show their foliage. They thank my family for all the frustration of years of yore. Beyond, the white house that becomes a gingerbread house in December lays, unadorned. Further beyond, trees and prairie houses have silhouettes.
To the left. Underfoot is the circle of our driveway, with the strawberry bushes, cherry trees, lamp, and other healthy greenery. The neighborhood has a good survey from this angle, even though all my poor eyes can make out are blobs with halos outside of miscellaneous contours. Far beyond, I know that the pastoral region is unadulterated tranquillity. There is the great joy of openness, and is something that I sorely miss about living in Evanston. Yes, there is the lake, but it is not immediately visible from Engelhart. And even when I can see the sunrise from Evanston, a building blocks the view.
I would like to look backwards, but my eyes have not adjusted to being open. It is difficult enough to open eyes, that looking in the direction of the sun furthers the difficulty. Instead, I revert to looking up and to the north. The rooftop of our house has a small overhang, but above my head is a blue sky. If there were the threat of rain, I would have cancelled this plan. In addition to my head looking northward, the vertex at my hips adjusts the angle from pi radians to approximately a quarter-tau. For those of you keeping track at home, yes, that is right, or at least you can give or take a few degrees.
Did I say degrees? The wet air of the last few days had dried up a little bit, and I was not drenched in sweat due to humidity. Even if, without my glasses, I am nearly blind, I always know where I put my glasses. The aforementioned vertex leaves my center of gravity sitting in front of a table, and on either side of the table parallel to my plane, funky-colored chairs. My right arm reaches to the table top, and snatches the specs. Dew I dare put them on as is? No, that would worsen my sight worse than not having them equipped in the first place!
However, as I was shirtless (call it too much information if you wish), I noticed that I could still see out of the top of the glasses. My eyes set themselves on the windows and door, with grids on them, and beyond, the upstairs landing with multiply-connected floor. Yes, who says that I cannot throw in complex analysis to describe an octagonal hole? Carefully inspecting the deck with its rough spots and splinters waiting to jump into my bare feet, the legs shift position.
From knee-up to knee-down, the arms assist me in pushing up. The horizontal log has righted, but still in the sleeping bag. Jumping amok like a potato sack seems like a good way to insulate the feet against any pointies. Though this is the end of the allotted time, suffice it to say that no wood entered the sleeping bag or my vulnerable feet.