It’s the time of year when I dig out my cherished flannel sheets, throw a down comforter on the bed and open the window a crack.
Unfortunately the years have finally caught up with my favorite flannels..
“Oh come on Alice! There can’t possibly be that many snakes or whatever, in my bed that you have to make three rotations, settle and then get up again for three more rotations! Don’t think I don’t notice this activity has now moved all the “fluff” to your side/half/center place of the bed!”
Where was I? Oh yeah, back to the sheets. This particular set sports “primitive” style scenes of a log cabin, acorns, a moose, and a black bear ambling across the soft cotton.
I saw a bear and a moose for the first time shortly after moving here, and many times since in the last 10 years. The log cabin has come to symbolize the year I bought these particular sheets. The year I moved out of the farm, shifting my role as mother and wife for a year. Coincidentally, or through fate, it was just two miles down the road from my home today. I spent the winter trying to find myself and the way forward. I rented the front half of a duplex log cabin. The landlord was sketchy and I’m quite sure roamed through my bedroom and stole my underwear from the cardboard file boxes that served as my dresser. It was quiet and totally my space, far from the farm and the life that was unraveling. But it was close enough that I stopped at “home” every day on my way to and from work. I made sure my daughters got off to school on time and kissed them goodnight before heading north to my cold cabin. Connected but distanced, I struggled to find a comfort zone I could grow in it, fertile ground.
It was a spartan home. Every night I was greeted with its anonymity at the end of the day. When the previous tenants moved out, the owner refinished all the floors and gave it a good cleaning and waxing. The lumpy, log walls glistened softly in the candle-light as I sat at the counter eating dinner. I wrote, and wrote; music softly calming and accompanying me. Older Me of today, would love to drift back and comfort younger Me during that time. I would wrap Me is those flannel sheets and whisper, “Just believe in yourself.”
Journal entry from October 2003
Every morning I am greeted with a gentle, pastel sunrise reflecting off the changing colors of the leaves as I head down the hills to the farm. I return to the cabin long after dark every night but the quiet, clean, peaceful, coziness of this house is welcome at the end of the day. My favorite part is snuggling down beneath the covers at the end join the dark, the moon highlights the trees outside my window. Everything” turns off” for the day. There is no more I can do.
I can not diminish what divorce meant to the three people I love most. It devastated us all and I certainly didn’t find the answer to mend that tear in the fabric of our lives. After a long, dark, winter I did move back to the farm. My stay was brief, just long enough to confirm my fears that our former lifestyle was not sustainable. It felt like the universe, my universe, was just waiting for me to pick up a mirror and crash it against the sink. Everyone was looking at me waiting for the next move.
These flannel sheets have comforted me through many nights of anguish and self-doubt, and now there is a hole in them too large to ignore. I caught a nail or perhaps just tugged them too tight around me one night. A tear has appeared in the top sheet, just below my chin. How strange, it is over my heart when I calmly drift off to sleep.