Thursday, November 29, 2012

Roadside Relic: A Forest No More

Mississippi Moonscape
This is all that's left of a beautiful stand of hardwood.  I don't know what is replacing it, but I cannot imagine it would worth the sacrifice.

Friday, November 23, 2012

When Plans "Gang Awry"

Nature's Autumn Calico

The best laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft a-gley
To A Mouse

The plan
This morning I awoke to a cold drizzling rain.  Yesterday was a perfect day:  warm, abundant sunshine, gentle breeze, a few feathery clouds in a brilliant blue sky.  Of course, I spent yesterday inside:  cooking.  I was okay with it because I just knew I could play outside today.  I would finally till under the tabasco bed, then I would load leaves into a trailer and till them into next year's garden beds.  No Black Friday crowds for me; it would be a Tractor Friday.  Bliss.

I should have known.

From last year's "monsoons"
Instead of cheery gold, a soothing gray light is seeping past the curtains.  From the door, I can see water standing in the back yard, which means no tilling for at least a week.  The leaves are, no doubt, sodden and heavy--at least one sunny day before they're ready to move.  That's okay, too, because the ground will be too soft to drive on for several days.  I wonder if this is the beginning of the "monsoon season" when the sky is often as gray as the leafless trees, and the gluey buckshot earth sucks and gurgles.

I hope not; there's so much to do.  I have plans for the garden for next season, and I want to get started.  Then again, there's plenty to do inside, too.  The little library off the kitchen has become a junk room, and needs organizing.  My aunt's cookbook collection needs to be moved to the kitchen from upstairs.

Then there's that pesky business plan I've been meaning to finish.  The Etsy shop desperately needs updating now that the fall craft fair season is over.  I have a stack of books to be read and reviewed.  I need to plan just how many raised beds I plan to construct next year.  The seed-starting shelf needs to be organized so I can start earlier next year.

STOP!  Just for a few minutes, in these precious first rays of dawn, stop, and listen.  Listen to the sounds of the house:  the air vents popping as the heater pushes air through them, the refrigerator cycling, the occasional splat of rain on the window.

Stop and enjoy this glorious, luxurious moment of silence and solitude.

Stop, and feel those empty places inside, drained by the whirlwind of activity, the effort of dealing with people, and the cacophony of the digital deluge.

Stop, and feel them filling, slowly, gently, from the wellspring of blessed solitude.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

So, while I may have thought that my plans had gone "agley," in truth, they've gone aright.  And for that I am truly thankful.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Opening Salvo

Fall is my favorite season of the year.  The constellation Orion has traveled from my front door to the back.  The air seems cleaner; the sun's rays cool from summer's white heat to a cozy gold.  Days are pleasant, even cool, and nights are crisp, prompting me to climb under a mountain of covers.

It may not be elegant,
but it works.
I'm not the only one seeking warmth.  Predictably, the field mice have found their way inside and so begins the annual siege.  The Resident Dragon, also known as the Great Mouse Hunter, has unpacked his traps.  He is scouting each room, most especially the kitchen, to find the ideal locations for his weapons of destruction.

Lining them up on the counter, he pulls out his (formerly) top secret bait:  rancid peanut butter.  He smears a dab on each trigger and cocks the devices.  Carefully, carefully he slides each into its place.  All that remains is to stumble off to sleep so nature can take its course.

The Secret Bait
About three a.m. we are awakened by the snap of the trap, actually traps--two.  Two varmints have been dispatched to their eternal reward.  Bleary-eyed but chortling triumphantly, he reloads the traps and we return to our slumber.  So goes the opening salvo in what will be a protracted battle.

I find it vexing, but amusing.  I certainly am annoyed by the annual invasion, but must confess that we chose to build our home in a hayfield.  (The first spring I mowed the yard, field mice ran from the mower in droves.)  It serves a reminder of my place in the world:  I'm just a small component in a much bigger system.  And, somehow, that comforts me.

It reminds me I have a place, a home here in the field, with the mice . . . and the Great Mouse Hunter.

How are you living your savory life?


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Elbow Room

Harvest Moon over trees
" . . . Elbow Room!" cried Daniel Boone.
~Arthur Cuiterman

It's Saturday morning, and the dust motes are dancing in the early morning sun that streams through the windows.  The silence is a true rarity in this age when digital devices provide a soundtrack which kidnaps my attention and holds it hostage.

My goodness, I've needed this.  I feel so mush-brained thirteen days into a seventeen-day week (the downside of multiple income streams).  So, I'm savoring the silence, hoping my thoughts will take some intelligent form rather than bouncing around aimlessly.  They must do it quickly.  I have a hair appointment at nine and an appointment in town at noon that should last until seven or eight this evening.

Out of reach!
But the silence is not actually silent:  the clock is ticking, a bird whistles its tune in the yard.  Claws skitter across the hard floor and the family pets careen into the room, running and roughhousing.  The brown-tabby cat, Lexi, tires for a moment and leaps to the back of the recliner where Lizzy, the border collie, cannot follow.  After a victorious moment she pounces, genially gumming Lizzy's fluffy windshield-wiper tail.  I hear slippers scuffing up the hall and I know this silence, this solace, will soon cease.  While I crave silence, he abhors it, so the digital devices will power up, driving away the silence.  It's time for me to get dressed, anyway.

The errand in town finished early and I'm back at home while the family is at a movie.  The dust motes are dancing in the final rays of the day.  The house is silent, except for the pets playing.  The room is growing dark and I'm finally beginning to relax again.

The cat has decided I need help writing this and climbs onto my chest to watch me work.  She's ready for supper and wants me to take care of her.  Only after lightning strikes nearby do I notice that clouds have covered the twilit sky.  Both she and the dog scamper for shelter.

A front is coming through which means the weather will cool for a few days.  The air crackles with the looming change.  I am uneasy, but cannot attribute it completely to the weather.  I am uncomfortable with my life.  Change is coming; it must because I am too tired to continue expending energy without respite.

On occasion, I must begin to say, "No," to the things I don't really enjoy so I can say, "Yes," to the things I do.  My schedule for the next few weeks is full, but thins somewhat after that.  I plan to keep it that way.

The lightning has become less frequent and the animals are settling down.  So am I.  The family will be home soon and the noise will increase, but that's okay.  Family is something I've said, "No," to entirely too much.

So, I'll close this little entry.  I have a good book waiting on me.

How are you?