A wet, foggy January Saturday.
Hand picked by me for a brief excursion. Just outside city limits, to a place that is silent and beautiful. Saturday is far enough from Monday that I can ignore work demands. And the shop gave me the day off.
The air is dense with drizzle.
Want to go to Indian Lake anyway? Ed asks. He’s not typically bothered by weather. Any weather.
The phone rings. I’m needed at the shop after all. But not until evening! We can still hike! I’ll weave school work magically between the hike and the shop and... oh! This was the day I was to make soup!
That’s fine, I’ll weave that in as well. Pay bills, hike, make soup, work, shop, eat soup, work – it can be done!
But the fog...
Eh, so it's wet. At least you can’t say that it’s too cold to go out.
We drive the familiar road north. How many times have I escaped to Indian Lake in my years in Madison? Maybe two dozen? More, I'm sure of it.
We miss the turn.
On a foggy day, the world seems different.
At Indian Lake now.
We take the long trail that circumnavigates the edge. It’s a lovely, forested walk.
The quiet is interrupted by a pair of disagreeable skiers. She’s having a hard time on the narrow trail and the hilly terrain. He shouts back at her, telling her what she’s doing wrong. She protests. He’s adamant: I’ll video record it and you’ll see for yourself! – he tells her.
I’m longing for the quiet. And I’m thinking, why is it that when someone is struggling, all that it triggers in another is the thought to find fault? You may say that the impulse is ultimately a generous one. He’s helping her in the long run. Tough love! But here, in the stillness of the forest, his advice seems cold and drizzled with criticism.
We wait until they pass. And then we wait some more. I want great distance between them and me, even as I feel there is a part of them in me, in all of us.
The trail continues. I glance back at Ed and see that he is well matched with the forest. He is white and gray and black, as if he was born of these winter woods. Tall, defiant, quiet.
There is a small rusted plaque by the trail. With a poem. Oh, sure, I remember. An ode to leisure.
I’m okay with that sentiment. I’m not a workaholic.
Except that this winter I am.
It's time to go home.
There, I make the soup (mushroom spinach)...
... after, I head out for the shop. I leave the text book open, ready for me when I get home.