Kate's sleep was quite varied while she was in Wyoming. She and Teddy were sleeping in the same room, and he was still waking up hungry in the night. (Kate maintained that if she went back to bed afterward, it was still night and not morning.) But this made for some early mornings, and generally exhausting days, especially if her pregnancy insomnia kicked in and she was unable to sleep for hours while her son was sleeping.
some people wake up more easily than others....
Louise sometimes had trouble sleeping as well, and one evening, when everyone else had already tucked in for the night, they chatted about their various sheep-counting techniques. Kate tried to describe how she fell asleep, "I pick a focus point out in the distance..."
"Wait," Louise objected, "what distance? Are your eyes open?"
"No, they're closed. I just imagine a point...way out in the black space inside my eyelids. Then, I slowly bring that focus point forward toward my nose."
"How do you move a focus point in black space?"
"I don't know, I just imagine it... I guess kind of like watching a car in slow motion coming straight toward you. I focus on the one spot, and it slowly moves towards my nose. Then I imagine it passing through my face and behind me. And if I focus on trying to keep the spot in my mind's eye, I usually fall asleep at that point."
Louise shook her head, not sure what to think of her friend. "Wow. All I do is read for half and hour or till I'm sleepy, and then I go to sleep."
Kate laughed, and looked at the clock. "Goodness! Speaking of sleep...."
One redeeming thing about getting up early in the morning was the cool air blowing in from the corner windows in the living room. Either Kate, Louise, or Tuck would make everyone espresso lattes in the morning, and Kate would sip hers on the couch, close her eyes and curl her legs up under her (increasingly difficult, but still possible). And she would imagine that she was back in Alaska breathing in the fresh, cool fragrance of summer. It was a fragrance not just of Alaskan mornings, but also late evenings, and green-gold forests where the sun streamed through a canopy of birch leaves. It was the smell of running freely through the woods on a dirt trail and getting sprinkled with soft misty rain. She wasn't sure what made that smell--probably some combination of plants--but it was so beautifully nostalgic (and so deliciously delightful even if it wasn't) that she actually anticipated her morning times of waking up by the window. These moments of simply sitting and smelling the air calmed her and lifted her spirit like so much magical pixie dust and prepared her to be enchanted.
And Kate found Wyoming in general to be delightful. She had visited Cody the year before, shortly after Louise had given birth to Isaac. They were able to hike some and see parts of Yellowstone, and the Buffalo Bill Museum. In Glenrock, the terrain wasn't so generally interesting, but as soon as she drove out on the highway the trees opened up to reveal hilly fields of white grass, riddled with strange bumps that looked like miniature canyons. This was the area of the Oregon Trail, and she couldn't help but think of the difficulty those travelers must have had with the incessant up and down of the curiously steep, short hills. It was not at all hard to imagine away the road and envision the world of Owen Wister's Virginian, who rode hundreds of miles back and forth, slept under the stars with his saddlebags for a pillow, and had his own secret, favorite spots out in this vast open wild. It wouldn't be a life that Kate wanted for herself--especially since she could barely get comfortable on a soft bed with three pillows (at least) surrounding her! But she could easily see the charm of the idea. And then of course, there were the antelope--herds of antelope trotting carelessly across the hills, graceful in motion, but looking comical with their great white fluffy backsides bounding up and down as if they were wearing diapers.
The first couple days of her stay were very busy, since Tuck was in charge of running the Boy Scout day camp in Casper...and of course, that meant that Louise was in charge of planning it. Kate helped stuff envelopes and fold t-shirts and make name tags. By Monday morning, they were officially ready, and left Kate to settle herself until their return in the late afternoon. It was nice to have some quiet time to relax and recover. Three adults and three little boys in a small house filled with all kinds of day-camp equipment...there was bound to be some chaos! But after two days of a quiet house to themselves, Kate missed Louise and her boys, even if they did make life feel a bit crazy with their loud, enthusiastic play. (Kate figured she'd have to get used to it sooner or later.)
And even though the boys were clearly tired when they got back from day camp, they could still be crazy. The evening of the second camp day, Hank was jumping around, playing with the couch cushions. No one really saw exactly what happened when all of a sudden he was lying on the floor screaming, blood running out of his mouth. He had slipped or tripped or fallen and bit all the way through his lower lip. Kate wasn't sure what to do, so she packed up Louise's dinner, which she had barely touched, and then just sat at the dinner table and kept feeding Teddy. All four of them bundled back into the car to go back to the Emergency Room in Casper. Kate wished them well, and tried to settle herself and Teddy for the evening. She had forgotten to bring her journal, but she found Louise's and figured she wouldn't mind a guest entry or two.
After a description of the past few days and the accident, she tried to write just what she would in her own journal: It's definitely been a crazy couple of days. There's always SOME craziness and I know when I share my Crazy with friends, it's easier to see the fun and humorous side of it. I'm just so glad to be here, sharing life. It's what good friends do, and when being with Mister isn't possible, this is one of my favorite options.