Second Sleep

Squash stored in the off-the-grid compound. Wish I would be here in the winter.

My current travels have made me think about segmented sleep—the idea that we sleep in two separate chunks during the night. Over a twelve-hour time frame, people historically slept for 3-4 hours, were awake for three or four hours, and then slept again for three or four hours. This is not a new idea, and a lot of research supports it.

Sea captain carved by a Maine ship’s carpenter some time in the last century. A few pieces by him in the off-the-grid compound.
Like all kids do, my new grandson Jake came out of the womb as a nocturnal creature. Listening to him fuss during the night, I was reminded that the first, most pressing job of new parents is to train their children to sleep at night. I remember this as the hardest job of parenting, and my own children effectively wrecked my ability to sleep through the night. I’m still a cyclical insomniac.
I’m in Maine looking for locations for my 2015 workshops. Here’s surf at Popham Beach.
We’ve spent the last two nights off the grid, where the only light from 6:14 PM to 6:38 AM comes from the moon and stars or candles and flashlights. Since a lot of hay has been made about how electric light, TV, radio, and the internet confuses modern man’s sleep cycle, being off line should help, right? Honestly, I don’t think it has, but perhaps a few nights here and there can’t erase a half-century of bad habits.
Granite blocks at Ft. Popham State Historic Site, a Civil-War era fort.

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What I do in my down time

The whole Northeast is beautiful this week, but my camera is broken, so cell phone pictures are what you’re getting.

Having been in the Berkshires this week, I thought I’d run up to Maine and look at a few possible properties to host my 2015 workshops. Again, I’m staying in the cabin off the grid, but this time I have my husband with me.

Off the grid is so much nicer when you have your Significant Other with you.
And he loves the place. “I figured that outhouse was half a mile away, through the woods,” he teased. And then, “I’d like to come back here in the winter.”
It’s easier with company; the coyotes don’t seem so close, and reports of a mountain lion aren’t quite as terrifying when you’re walking on wooded path on a moonless night.
So many places one could host a workshop… this is just one of my dream homes that isn’t on the market.
That was last night. This morning dawned clear and cold and he got a tiny taste of what winter in the woods might be like. And he’s still enthusiastic. Go figure.
The Maine landscape is so varied that I could move my workshop up and down the coast for years and it would never get stale.
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Bicycle artist

Rat, Michael Wallace, 2013. The pictures are by necessity crude, and the charming wobble comes from the accuracy of GPS, which records changes of a few feet.
Michael Wallace draws pictures using his bicycle, his Samsung Galaxy smartphone, two GPS apps, and the streets of Southeast Baltimore. It’s a simple concept: his phone records his rides (the double apps are in case of crashes). In five years, he has completed nearly 500 drawing-rides.
Wallace prints out Google maps and sketches his route over them. Then he consults Google Maps Satellite View to verify that the route he’s planned actually exists. In an online interview, Wallace said he doesn’t climb or jump fences. When obstacles require changes on the fly, Wallace consults the printed map he’s carrying.
Downtown Crab, Michael Wallace, 2013.
Wallace isn’t blindly following his GPS; the act of mapping out the pictures makes him memorize the route. This is analogous to what happens when an artist draws a subject before painting; he can draw it again, much faster and more expressively, because he has memorized the subject. In some way, Wallace is duplicating this drawing process, but while using his whole body.
Sailboat, Michael Wallace, 2013.
I have the same phone and a bicycle. I’m going to try this when I get back to the Duchy.

Message me if you want information about next year’s classes and workshops.