When we lived in our first house, it had a double lot. Being centered on this extra space allowed us the opportunity to play with the landscape…and what an opportunity! The previous owners had no interest in the outdoors or landscaping, leaving us a blank slate; being young and ambitious, we planted trees and shrubs, annuals and perennials, filling the yard with all kinds of growing things.
It wasn’t until a few years later, when the kids were about 8 and 10, that it occurred to us we could sleep in the tent outside in the summers. We were airing the tent out after a week-long camping/bike trip and we thought- Heck! Instead of sleeping indoors with the air on, let’s just go and sleep outside with the cool night breeze. What a revelation! Sleeping under the pines with the fresh summer breeze blowing through the tent, we were in heaven!
5am mornings became a regular occurrence, waking up to the sunrise and the sound of birds chirping, and we reveled in this new pattern of life. It was truly a charming space to have a tent in: under three pine trees, next to the rosemary and lavender bushes close to the house. The kids slept with us, too, those first few weeks, enjoying the change of pace. It felt like a vacation in our own backyard!!
The funny thing was this: at some point during the summer, our neighbor suddenly started letting her dog out in the early morning. I’m sure she had no idea that only ten feet away our family of four was sleeping in a tent. We didn’t mind that she let the dog out, but she would repeatedly yell his name to get him to come back inside. Often the sounds of her voice would be our morning alarm clock. Just a head’s up, the dogs name was Lucky.
Later that same year, upon being told this story, a friend of ours offered a fresh angle on what we had considered a nuisance: “So let me get this straight. Every day, while sleeping outside in the fresh air, you get woken up by someone yelling (seemingly) at you- ‘Lucky! Lucky!’ And that’s a problem?”
Indeed. Little did our neighbor know how right she was!! With this new perspective on the situation, we do now indeed consider ourselves very lucky!