Sleep is My Best Source of Inspiration

| 4/15/2011 6:55:05 AM

I recently filled out a questionnaire for Mother Earth News for their “Blogger Profile” (in the current issue!) and one of the questions asked me how many hours of sleep I get each night. I answered 10 hours in the winter and 6 in the summer. Michelle edited my answer and she changed it to 8 in the winter and 7 in the summer, because she likes to tone down my hyperbole. But the gist was that I get more sleep in the winter. It gets dark earlier and with the windows closed our bedroom is cooler, dark, and quiet.

As soon as it’s warm enough (hopefully soon!) we’ll be able to sleep with the windows open. We don’t get a lot of traffic on our road, especially at night, but I think there’s an animal part of our DNA that wires us to not sleep as well when we are able to hear outside noises because our subconscious is scanning for danger signals. You know … leopard growls, wolf howls and that kind of thing. Around here we hear foxes in heat screeching and coyotes yelping, so I don’t sleep as soundly in the warm weather. This is counter-intuitive because I get far more physical exertion during the warmer months because of the hours that I spend in the garden. I finally invested in multiple shovels that I am able to leave in various places around my property because inevitably I would realize that the shovel I needed was a 3-minute walk away. If I only have one shovel, and it’s in the blueberry patch, and I need it in the barn foundation garden that’s 6 minutes wasted. If I need to gather my tools from various places pretty soon we’re talking some serious time wasted, and a lot of calories burned.

Bill and Lorraine Kemp were here on the weekend for brunch and we were talking about when we get inspiration. Bill said when he has a serious technical challenge he often sleeps on it and wakes up with a solution. I was thinking about this and realized I’ve experienced that exact same situation.

Seven or eight years ago we had a massive lightning strike near the house. I had been outside playing with my rain barrels during the downpour, as I am prone to do. Suddenly there was a massive kaboom! It was a louder noise than I had ever heard. It was insane, like what I would imagine an aerial bombardment in a trench in World War One would have sounded like. I ran into the house very quickly and Morgan the Wonder Dog yelped and took off into the woods and didn’t come back for 4 hours.   

Over the next couple of days I kept finding big chunks of bark all over the yard and I couldn’t figure where they had come from. Finally I found the source of them. This photo shows how the voltage traveled down two 60-foot high pine trees. When it hit the ground it traveled 50 feet through the grass to a set of metal stairs I had near one of my raised rain barrels platforms. It had parted the grass in between the trees and the stairs like you’d part a thick head of hair. The trees turned brown almost overnight and were dead within 3 months.

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