Midnight is not a usual time for a rooster to crow, and we have had a raccoon in the neighborhood lately, so I was awake immediately and ran down to check on things.
The goats were all peacefully lounging, and all the chickens were accounted for. All were perched in the rafters except for Dustin, our new rooster (I promise he'll get his own story soon) and Granite, a big white hen.
I watched them climb back up to the rafters. They appear to be safe up there, but on the ground they are easy prey.
When I went back inside, inevitably I could not sleep. I tried reading Middlemarch. It was the section of Middlemarch when the reader starts to realize what a long book it is. I caught up on some emails I should have sent out earlier. I deleted some photos from my phone and reorganized my mailboxes. Still waiting to sleep.
It occurred to me what a fortunate life I have, and in that half dozy state of comfort, I began to list all my blessings.
I have my parents, and all my siblings, my spouse and my child. I don't want to take these people for granted. I am incredibly lucky to have known them and luckier yet that they are all still around.
I have all five senses intact. I don't feel enslaved to my senses, but I have not lost any of my wonder at them. The crow of a rooster still wakes me up in the dead of night and I feel fortunate that this is so.
I have made friends, and they are knitting together into a community. In my younger days I wouldn't have believed this possible. I like people but I'm the first to admit, I don't really 'get' the secret of being comfortable socially. I'm delighted to have friends who accept this, and who are comfortable with the same kinds of friendship I am.
I am also no longer ashamed to like being alone.
I am healthy. I keep waiting for aches and pains, but if I have any they are no worse than the different ones of my twenties. I'm on a plateau, where I've learned all my triggers, and know how to avoid them. It may not last indefinitely, but at this moment I can honestly say I've never felt better.
I have always loved animals, and I am able to have them in my life in ways that are productive. I have made peace with the fact that I will outlive most of the animals I care for, and that I will participate in the respectful end of life for many of them. And occasionally eat them.
I was getting sleepier as I went on making my list. I would think of new things and try to fit them into broad categories of gratitude.
And as I fell asleep, one last random thought floated into my lapsing consciousness. Don't ask me why, but I thought to myself
"And I have absolutely no fear of spiders".