A ‘moonrise’ beholder – my ranch hours


“Breakfast is at 9,” I reply to a woman who expresses looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow.
     9 o’clock is sleeping in, she says. At home her kids wake her hours before that; yet not tomorrow as she and her husband enjoy this weekend away.
     This conversation happens by a campfire glow.’Tis my first night at Circle S Ranch and Country Inn, outside Lawrence Kansas. I and 65 other guests enjoyed the Autumn Field to Table Dinner al fresco dining in a vast grassy area edged by a tree canopy. Post dinner, guests staying the night hum about  — inside the “Great Room” dining area, on the front porch and at this campfire yards behind the Inn. To this Chicago gal, the night’s young, and anticipating being up and dressed for breakfast by 9 is early.

Moonrise over Circle S Ranch

photo by Ben Hartman

     Someone reports the moon’s rising the other side of the Inn. I bid the group goodnight and start across the grass. I cross the porch, and the gravel parking lot where I behold the moon ascending bright above the barn area.
     I hear familiar soft clicks of a professional camera, and notice a fellow propping a camera atop a car to steady. When he finishes I introduce myself; he reciprocates, Ben Hartman photographer for Media Muscle. I ask him to share a photo, that would become part of my Writer in Residence travelogue.
     Cool, he says. We turn back toward the Inn. The gravel crunches beneath our shoes. He suggests I explore writings by William S. Burroughs, a novelist and Beat Culture figure who had spent much of his life in Lawrence.
     Mr. Hartman and I step onto the porch, where Circle S proprietress, Mary Cronemeyer hands me a glass of red wine, one from a Kansas winery for me to sample.
     I thank her, bid goodnight and retreat to my room. After a shower, the wine accompanies my tapping at the computer. I hear the couples’ getaway folks in the lobby. By midnight they must have retired, for the Inn is quiet. I continue to tap at the computer.
     Breakfast time I descend the staircase to the Great Room that has long wood tables and round high-back chairs. I fill my plate with Country Breakfast fare, and oft refill from the coffee urn. The couples’ getaway folk chatter at one table, other guests are scattered among other tables. I chat with some.
     After a few nights with similar schedule, I talk via phone to my friend Bud who lives in the Chicago West Loop.
     “I go to bed around 2:30 or 3 and get up at 8:15 to get ready for breakfast,” I tell him.
     Those aren’t ranch hours, he teases. Ranch hours begin before sunrise.
     Not for folks like me who stayed up till 2:30, I reply.
     Those are dude ranch hours, he nudges.
     I laugh and acquiesce. I’m more of a moonrise gal than a sunrise gal. If I’m awake to see the sunrise, ’tis pre-shuteye after a long night.
     That’s okay. My schedule accommodates full days that last into the wee hours. And here at the Ranch, I rise to make it to breakfast by 9.

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