jet lag, def: 1) the condition brought on by traveling too far on an airplane and screwing up your body clock 2) a thick, dark fog which settles over mind and body at 1 in the afternoon and lifts with startling swiftness at 2 in the morning.

So I ate breakfast yesterday morning after a decent night’s rest but felt like lying down soon after. So I slept off and on until mid-afternoon.

So now it’s 4:30 in the morning and there has been no sleep.  At all. Out here in the countryside all is quiet in these early hours after a sudden rain and the moon – but wait!  What’s that?  It’s a bird!  It’s a plane! No, it’s a bird.  This bird, the in-laws have informed us, has been heard in a tree on their property for years.  They never see it, but it’s presence is unmistakable.  It sounds like an owl on helium and it will not shut up!  It carries on and on in its weird birdy voice. Then, it suddenly stops. However, this is only because it’s time for the roosters to wake up.  In the distance wave after wave of cock-a-doodle doos, perfectly on pitch, roll across the countryside. The in-law’s rooster joins in.  This is a mistake. He has a faulty valve somewhere and is only capable of a low-pitched cock-a-doodle growl.

Then, of course, (you knew this was coming), dogs.  They not only start barking all over local creation, one is actually baying!  I don’t care if you’ve sat on a tractor for 16 hours, you must wake up and make it stop!  On and on and on, barking and baying.  And there is that moment when all three sections of this creaturely nightmare chime in together, full-throated, in the pre-dawn darkness.  It’s like Animal Kingdom on speed.

If I had a bullhorn, I could, well, you would understand, wouldn’t you?  As it is, the only recourse I may have is to leap out onto the small concrete balcony outside our room like some manic cuckoo clock and scream, “A pox on all of you!”

I could do that.  If it would actually help me. Sleep.


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