The Starter Farm

When the house sleeps

I have this fantasy that I play in my head about what magic happens when the house goes to bed.  Humans and dogs are fast asleep and the house is quiet.  The kitchen light that I leave on paints shadows on the objects resting on bookshelves.  All still, no movement, resting in their daytime positions on the shelves waiting.  They must have a sixth sense for when the animals’ stirrings have stopped and entered into their deep sleep.  I imagine the objects begin to awaken.  At first a shudder, an opening of a book and the iron horse on the fireplace mantle shakes its metal mane.  The house sleeps but the objects wake for their nighttime play.  My fantasy is not creepy.  There are no dolls or creatures with knives at sleeping humans’ throats.  In my mind it’s their opportunity to stretch their legs, move a bit and socialize.  I imagine the books playing cards, the pig shaped wooden cutting board rooting around in the fridge and pillows moving closer to the windows to get a better view of the moonlight shimmering off the pool.  It’s a good magic, a warm magic a time for the house to relax from its daily stillness.


I always try to catch the house.  A candlestick falls over from a joke the new vase just told him and I hear it.  My eyes open and I sneak gently out of bed hoping to witness the scene but the house knows and original places are reset in an instant.  I wander the house hoping some object has forgotten its resting spot.  The potatoes are still drying out in the pantry and the playing cards are safely back in their case.  The only changes I see are the new seeds have germinated and are poking their heads above the soil.  I know the objects are watching, giggling to themselves at this game we play and I know I am safe.  They will not let anything bad happen to me.


A while back I received an email from our neighbors talking about prowlers seen in the area.  My immediate thought was, “Who uses the word prowlers anymore and why did I get this email an hour after I decided to send the dog for a sleepover at a friend’s for a night of dog free bed sleeping?”  Who will protect me? That night I heard every movement, every creak from the wind and what I thought were the highball glasses playing a pick up game of basketball in the attic.  (Turns out they were rats.)  I was worried at first and then settled in realizing that the objects will be awake when the house sleeps.


I never watch horror movie when I’m home alone.  That would be just stupid with my idiot imagination and it does not need any cinematographic encouragement.  Yes I know that movies are not real but I live in the country in a house that is just perfect for a horror movie set.  My kitchen knives are just asking for some Jason character to release them from their butcher block home.  My cornfield is perfect for the scary “run from the killer, fall twice and stumble” chase scene and don’t think I have not imagined some evil Japanese water spirit rising out of the pool perfectly backlit by the blood red pool light that I stupidly installed thinking it would be fun for parties.  Oh and thanks interior designer friend who suggested installing dimmers on every light inside.  Have you ever seen a scary movie in a bright lit home?  Dimly lit farmhouse, check.


And don’t get me started on ghosts.  I’m afraid to openly admit that they don’t exist just in the off chance that one of them decides to try to convince me otherwise.  Ouija boards are banned from the premises. Clowns and their like do not make it past the front gate.  (Thank you Poltergeist for ruining many a children’s birthday party, carnivals and most Cirque de Soleil shows for me.) My chainsaw is safely locked up in a box just in case somebody from Texas tries to chase me through the barn with it.  As a rule, I purposely do not engage in any major excavation to avoid digging up some long forgotten haunted cemetery because I am not equipped to deal with that.  You get the idea.


But I digress. There is something about the house that makes me feel safe especially at night.  There’s good there.  I’m not sure if it’s a balance with the outside, the energy that our guests bring in or the soft humming of the refrigerator that gently lulls us to sleep.  Sometimes I try to increase my chances of catching the objects in their nighttime play by falling asleep on the couch.  It never works.  I only can imagine as the first light of day breaks over the distance hills signaling playtime is over for them.  They yawn, settle back to their places and wait for the next night of adventure and fun when the house sleeps.

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