Farmer in Autumn
The farmer doesn't sleep well, or at least he doesn't sleep as he imagines other people do. Instead of enjoying one or two long periods of comfortable sleep each night, the farmer usually gets his rest in smaller segments of an hour or less. Each time he awakens he looks at the bedside clock and notes the time. He then figures out how many minutes he has slept since his last glance at the clock. It's a game the farmer enjoys playing, and a bit of a mathematical challenge in the dark depths of nighttime.
The farmer has been to college, so he is aware of the frustrating dream that most former college students have - the one where they suddenly realize that they are late for an exam - the most important exam they will ever have to take. As the student rushes across campus, he runs into all sorts of obstacles to impede his progress - things get in the way, the lack of a blue book or a pen, a locked door. And just as the student is about to make it into the classroom where the exam is to take place, he faces one final hurdle when he realizes that he is naked!
The farmer is old now, and it's been quite a while since he has had the "exam" dream. But a couple of nights ago he had a similar dream that was updated to fit his present circumstances. In that dream the farmer, who had already woken up several times that night, dreamt that he awoke again. This time the farmer looked at his bedside clock and saw that it was 2:00 a.m. He also noticed that a bit of light was beginning to come through the bedroom window and the farm roosters were already crowing. 2:00 a.m. or not, the farmer knew that he had to get outside and check on his poultry.
Normally the farmer secures the poultry in their coops each evening. The older hens and roosters go into an enclosed building just before dark and the farmer follows along behind and closes the door - securing them from the ravages of predators for the evening. The younger chickens and Hector, the lone duck, march into an enclosed pen, and the farmer shuts them into their area as well.
This particular night as the farmer rushes from the house to see what all the racket is about, he discovers to his horror that all of the chickens are still out, and the doors to their enclosures have been shut. Predators are rushing from bush to bush as they greedily try to capture the fat hens. The farmer lunges about trying to open the doors to the coop and the pen, but they are stuck and won't budge. He is in a panic, and so are the chickens!
This, the farmer realizes, feels like that time back in college when he was late for the important exam!
The farmer stops in his tracks, catches his breath, and slowly looks down at himself where he discovers that he is fully dressed.
It is then that the farmer realizes he is getting old!