My husband kept me on the run from morning til night. Not because he wanted me to do things for him. What he wanted was for me to see things with him.
He always got up first and the first thing he did every morning, winter or summer, was to go outside and look at everything — the garden, the plants, the weather, the house. Maybe it was a carryover from growing up on a farm.
I would still be asleep and he would come to the bedroom door and say enthusiastically:
“Come look at the ripe tomato!”
“Come look at the rose!”
“Come look how much it rained!”
And on one memorable morning: “Come look at the bat by the window!”
And so on.
And, groaning and muttering, I always slogged sleepily outside to look.
During the day, if he was sitting out on the patio, he’d holler: “Come look at the hummingbird!” Since I love to watch the hummingbirds, I always dashed out to look but of course the hummingbird was always already gone. Only to hear, “Here it is again. Come quick!”
If he was watching TV and I was in another room, he’d holler, “Come see this home run … this touchdown.” If it was a nature show, not my favorite choice of entertainment, it was “Come see this crocodile … this zebra … this lion catching a gazelle!” Over the years, he saw a lot more red tomatoes, butterflies, hummingbirds, touchdowns, home runs, crocodiles, zebras and lions than I did — but it wasn’t because I didn’t try.
The last thing he did before he went to bed every night was to go outside and look at the sky. Again, this was probably what he learned from his father on the farm. Farmers are closely attuned to the weather and the night sky is a clue to tomorrow’s weather. On nights with a huge full moon or brighter stars than usual, I’d hear: “Come look at this moon! Come look at these stars!” At least they were still there by the time I got outside to look.
I looked at the moon and the stars so often that it became habit-forming. For a long time, I’d do it myself — every night. If I forgot and went to bed without checking the sky, and then remembered, I’d reluctantly hoist myself up and trudge outside. On the rare occasions that it was raining, I’d stand in the front door awhile to watch and then go to the back door to see if it was raining in the backyard too.
If it was really late, sometimes I’d see an armadillo lumbering around and I’d send evil thoughts its way, which sort of canceled out the magic of the night. Once in awhile, still, I’ll see a raccoon and once I saw a gorgeous skunk strolling across the patio. I was surprised at how fast I could move back into the house, quietly shut the door, turn off the light and whisper: “Sorry to bother you.”
And that’s why every morning I’m still looking out in the yard before breakfast, and at bedtime staring out the door looking for a full moon.
I just hope I don’t start howling.
Mary McClure is a former newspaper editor who writes a weekly column for The Lawton Constitution.