Summer like cotton sheets

Yesterday I was feeding the chickens and suddenly looked up as I felt a Lull descend like a floating white cotton sheet upon the Farmy. A summer lull. summer

Long before the times of fitted sheets, (which I hate by the way – they are useless when the elastic gives up), my mother would make the beds by throwing the sheet high up into the air, adjusting it as it fell through the sunlight, so it floated flat and full straight down onto the mattress in exactly the right spot for her to tuck the sheet in with the perfect hospital corners that we were all taught to do.   It is a perfect memory I have of her – looking up at her throwing that sheet. Sometimes if she had time she would Make the Bed on Top of us. She would put the bottom sheet on and we would help tuck it in, cover the pillow with its new pillowcase, holding the pillow between our teeth, then we would lie on the empty bed, our tiny skinny bodies grinning all over, toes wriggling with delight as she stood at the end of the bed and threw the sheet up into the air so it floated ever so softly, gently and perfectly like a mothers kiss to cover me perfectly. Then she would tuck me in. She would kiss me goodnight, bless me,  do exactly the same thing for my sister then switch the bedroom light off, turn the passage light on and we would listen to her footsteps as she moved onto the next bedroom filled with more children waiting to be tucked in and then the next one. It must have been a Saturday. We always changed our sheets on a Saturday. I still do.

This is exactly how it felt yesterday afternoon. As though Our Earth Mother had lifted the crisp sun dried sheets with their salty smell of beach breeze and shook them out above me, one after the other,  then let the sheets descend ever so slowly, wafting down, the summer quiet floating down to blanket the farm with good.

Every single animal on the farm was asleep in the warm afternoon sun. Everyone but me that is. There is a lot to be learnt from an animals siesta. The cows were down the back as far away as they could get their head tucked into their hocks. Naomi was in her long grass, Little Bobby under his cherry tree, Tima and Tane laid in a mud hole and Manu and Sheila slept in their respective tin huts (I must get a couple more of those before winter).  Poppy’s piglets fell off her breasts like fat full babies and slept with their mouths open against her belly.  I picked old hard corn and sunflower heads for the animals dinner and worked at releasing the grape vine from its two summers of  neglect. But I worked slowly. Without hurry. The muslin of summer resting gently on my shoulders like a blessing.

Even the bird songs, though crystal clear, were strangely muted as though they came from far away. Another dimension or time. I walked into that tunnel of summer stillness  and stayed there all afternoon.

Little, drunk each of his bottles without coercion yesterday in fact all the calves drunk everything without complaint. So it was a good day. All the West Wing Barn babies are all on full bottles now. Tomoyo feeds two and I feed the other two and we were looking at each other over their greedy heads and laughing out loud at the delightful sounds and head butting. I am still afraid of being optomistic but they are really doing so much better. And any runny bottoms are few and far between now over there.

Little is still so weak and so slow and still has the scours when he is lying down but is showing signs of waking up. For such a long time he has been In The Woods. I think today will be his turning point – one way or the other.

I hope you have a lovely day,

Your friend on the farm,


60 Comments on “Summer like cotton sheets

  1. Oh, the smell of sheets baked in the sun and freshened by the wind is the best soporific in the world. I’d have clean fresh sheets every day if I didn’t have to do the laundry myself! I love the idea of a clean white muslin veil descending and calming and gentling everything; you describe it so well. St Blaise’s candle is burning, it is scented with bergamot and juniper, and it’s a big fat one, to last as long as it’s needed.

  2. Love sheets dried in the sun … however fitted bottom sheets and duvets are great too 🙂 Love that sense of peace settling over the farmy, hoping Little improves even more today. Laura

  3. Methinks everyone adores the smell of fresh air and sunshine on their bedlinen! This cottage does not have a clothes dryer so mine get that treatment summer and winter. But have had no problems with bottom fitted sheets and some of mine must wear a couple of decades of age on their backs 🙂 ! And doonas: have summer and winter ones and would not be without!! But do use a sheet twixt me and doona and that gets thrown up in the air every morning when making up my huge oversized comfort zone . . . . keeping fingers crossed for you know who . . . trust you have a good day . . .

  4. Beautiful words that conjure such beautiful images. Fingers crossed that Little turns *out* of the woods. 🙂

  5. I love how you tell your stories. They have such a soothing, lyrical feel to them. It feels as though I’m sitting in the grass under those drying sheets and smelling the fresh air when I read this. What lovely memories. I’m still keeping Little in my prayerful thoughts. I’m glad the weather has finally turned delicious for you. Here too. I’m on my way out to enjoy every second of it. I smell autumn in the air. It’s going to sneak up on us this year. Have a wonderful, peace filled day.

      • We missed spring entirely and summer came with a vengeance. If we don’t get rain soon, everything will turn to a crisp. Though I still have an entire house to paint and most of a fence to finish staining, I’m not in a big rush for anything but some cooling. I was watching pig tv this morning with my coffee. My prayers are with Little that he decides to call back his soul. I think you are 100% on target with him. It feels right.

  6. First all my wishes of strength to Little. He has battled too hard and too long to lose his fight. I am pulling for him. Second, I just want to thank you for giving a memory back to me. We used to change sheets on Saturday too. And we all had to clean house together. My brother and I would throw the big sheets up in the air and then run under them, letting them fall on top of us. Or I would, when I was small, sit on the tail of the sheet as my brother dragged me down the long wooden halls. My mother also made the beds up on top of us sometimes. Especially when we were sick, and the sheets had to be changed quickly without disturbing us. I loved that. It is such a perfect expression of love.

    • Yes, I so agree! Celi, you are an incredible writer! And I still can’t wait for your memoir! And reading the memories your tales evoke in the farmy family is so very wonderful and heartwarming too! Big thanks! xo

  7. Oh wow – you made my mom smile with happiness on the sheets. She remembered them baking in the sun to dry fresh out of a wash growing up. They smelled like outside and were so delightful to sleep on that night. Great memories my friend. Have a great day. XOXO – Bacon

  8. We had tall wooden poles with a little V on top to hoist the clothesline so the sheets wouldn’t drag on the ground. They gave me splinters galore.

  9. A breathtakingly beautiful post, full of love and peace. It makes me despair of ever being a proper writer!
    I’m so happy that the Bobbies are all recovering. Long may it continue.
    love from a sunny warm Normandy,
    ViV xox

  10. Wow… I know the ‘lull’ ! I have felt the ‘lull’ ! And no one ever explained it before but, YES, it is exactly that, like a freshly laundered sheet floating down on a bed! Man, where did you come up with that description — it is Perfect! I only recall swiftly passing moments of it though, nothing lasting the afternoon. That’s wonderful !
    Ha! My Mum also was a trained nurse and our beds all had to be made with hospital corners as well… lol I don’t think hospitals use them any longer though. At least I was a ‘guest’ in hospital this past winter and no hospital corners there. Your remembrance of your mother brought to mind mine and she, too, would toss the sheets up and let them fall. You’re right, they would seem to land in just the exact spot they needed to be. But these days, I do love fitted sheets and haven’t experienced what you seem to have, with ruined elastic corners.
    Awww, poor wee Little. But he is eating and, as you said, without coercion so it does seem the worst is over from my viewpoint. Not being right there, though, it’s hard to say. Poor little guy.
    Have a great day! ~ Mame 🙂

    • I was thinking the *exact same* enthusiastic thoughts! I know that lull, I have felt The Lull (in too few but all-the-more-precious moments in this city environment), but I’ve never put this feeling into words, not even in my mind (even though I’m a language person!). Oh yes, I agree wholeheartedly with mame19’s entire first paragraph. Thank you, Celi/Miss C, for this beautiful, perfect imagery (even though I don’t have similar childhood memories)! P.S. Naturally, still sending strengthening vibes for Little…

  11. Loved your description here. I have those summer memories too. Of taking a book and a pillow and climbing up my tree and spending the afternoon up there where the everyday noises were hushed and I could hear the drone of a lawnmower off in the distance and the sound of the car tires shushing on the hot summer asphalt….memories of youth.

  12. Love these words today. This is a vivid and perfect description of the month of August for me. It is my favorite month.

  13. Ah, the sheets! One of the few positive memories of my mother was with the sheets. It was my job to put them through the mangle in the basement and then she would pretend to make me up in the bed. Those lovely, heavy cotton sheets coming down in the wonderful old Victorian house we lived in when I was about 4 or 5. And yes, they smelled so wonderful!

  14. I love it when you have breath to wax lyrical like this, Celi. It makes me feel like I’m right beside you; my every sense becomes synchronized with yours. What a beautiful experience.
    Much love,

  15. Thanks to grannymar I now have a photo. That is Snicker. I had him for 12 years. In February of this year he was mauled by a pit bull and I had to put him down. People ask about my getting “another dog”. Snicker, first dog I ever had, was not a dog. He was Snicker.

    Well, Miss Celi, you have waxed poetic to the nth degree in this marvelous post. I was taking shorter breaths when you were describing summer like cotton sheets. Someone spoke of a book of yours? How do I find it?

    Much love,
    Gayle, not anywhere as fuzzy as the photo…heheh.

      • In a way you’re right, we’re already reading your memoirs. They just aren’t all together in one volume. Something on paper where we can settle on the glider on the porch with an iced tea and linger over the text or study the photos. It would be grand to have that physical book to enjoy, especially on a quiet summer afternoon. Tell Little that with the white heart on his forehead, he is a special boy and has more stories to tell us so he must come out of the woods.

  16. What an exquisite piece of writing. You evoke those billowing sheets so beautifully. One of my earliest memories of my mum is glimpsing her coming and going between the billowing sheets on the long clothes line with a bamboo pole lifting it up. Cotton sheets & the smell of sunshine – aah.

  17. As I was reading I could feel that summer sheet lull… I love it when you do that! Transport me for some moments to the Prairies and back in time to my childhood at the same time! 🙂 I love line dried cotton sheets and deep quiet summer afternoons. They are some of the benchmarks of a good life.

  18. We certainly could not possibly die of boredom–exhaustion perhaps…not boredom. Never boredom!!

  19. what lovely images evoked here and I wish only the best to all your sweet babies- but especially Little. Big hugs .

  20. I wonder Celi, do your memories smack into you like a runaway train while you’re by yourself doing some mundane chore? Sometimes a thought will slam into my brain with such force that I’m brought to a standstill with the power of it. I feel I could reach out a touch those long gone people in that memory. I welcome it because for just a little while the ones I have lost are alive and with me again and it brings me joy.
    I wonder if a bit of honey added to Little’s bottle would give him any boost. From what I understand it is kind of a miracle food.

  21. I bought some pure linen sheets last summer. They were expensive but are worth every cent. The texture takes a little getting used to, if you are used to smooth sheets, but they are so cool and I’m already pretty sure they are going to outlast every pair of cotton sheets I own. Plus, like all natural fibres, they smell absolutely wonderful when washed and dried in the sun.

  22. Great memories of the sheets. I remember pulling and tugging them back into shape with my grandmother, and you are right Celi, the sheets were much thicker and heavier in those days. The ironing was a days work in our household and often down to a very little me.
    We had a great day of sunshine yesterday and I managed to get three washes done & line dried with few items needing to be ironed.

  23. What a beautiful post. Come on Little – we are all rooting for you!

  24. What a sweet story of your mother, and the sheet wafting down to cover you. How blessed to have a day where you felt that wonderful place again.

  25. Once again your words have moved me with tears of joy, happiness and sadness. Memories of your Mother are written forever in my mind and in my heart.

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