But on teaching days I haven’t the time to really take note. If I wake up early, I pick up my laptop and get going. Emails, lecture notes, the usual stuff.
On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the rules change. I haven’t formal lectures today. Work can wait. I look out the east facing windows. Isis is purring somewhere at the foot of the bed. Who let you in? Never mind, I know.
I pull on sweatpants and a jacket and go outside. Frost has again covered the fields beyond the orchard.
I take Rosie out of the garage shed. She starts easily enough, but the cold is fogging the helmet face shield. The rearview mirrors, too, are icing over. Have to be careful on the pavement. Easy to slide on a day like this.
There is no traffic on the rural roads. Not at this hour. Just a beautiful sense of peace, quiet, and a muted pink beginning to a day.
I go further – toward Lake Waubesa. Past empty fields, past bare trees and leaning mailboxes.
I’m feeling the cold. I remembered gloves this time, but the air is bracing! Can’t be more than 25.
Oh, but it’s worth it! The lake is as if Monet had painted it.
The mist lingers, delicately shielding the waters from the first blast of orange light.
I don’t stay for the sunrise. I’m happy with this mellow predawn sky. I don’t want it to be upstaged.
As I turn the motorbike around, I hear the blast of gunfire. It reverberates across the lake, as if someone was shooting toward the other side. Deer hunters, for sure.
I head back home past the fields that so often tempt the deer to come out of the forests here, even at this most dangerous for them time of the year. Yes, they’re out.
I’m at a distance, but they see me. They wait, watching intently. I try not to move and perhaps that is warning enough. They turn back and saunter toward the forest.
Just around the bend from the farmette is my favorite spot and here, I almost always see deer. Yes, she’s here.
I linger, but only for a little while. My youngest one and her boyfriend are coming for an early breakfast. I have things to bake. Whipped eggs with leeks, spinach, sausage, on a potato pancake. Apple puff pastries.
I’m working in the kitchen with an eye out to the birds that still come to our trees outside. But wait, what’s that coming up the woodchip path?
Oh, it’s a wolf!
He comes toward the house as if he were a pet, a welcome guest! I grab the camera but I know I wont get him – he has a determined gait. Past the house, into the fields. My shot, from behind the screened window barely catches his furry tail. (Ed later laughs and tells me it’s like a photo of a UFO. Here’s the evidence! Some evidence...)
You can’t have seen a wolf. A you sure it wasn’t a dog?
I know the difference between a wolf and a dog. That thing was huge! And his tail...
We check the Internet. Yes, over the years there have been wolf sightings outside of the city. Add mine to the list. I let Isis out and he immediately sniffs the path followed by the wolf. You be careful, you hear? – I tell him.
Pre-Thanksgiving morning. How gorgeous is this day! I take a few photos and I suppose I could post one of us gallantly sitting around the farmhouse table, but I like this one best. She’s telling a story. Or maybe reacting to one. He’s amused. I’m amused too.
Later in the day, my girl and I have a coffee break at the café. Now is the time to catch up. And we do.
At home, I throw a load of laundry Last minute preparations. The farmhouse will be full. Two nights of guests. Things are clean, ready, but I need this one last load.
What’s this? A puddle? A huge puddle in the basement! Ed!
We have a backup in the sewage pipes. Oh oh, Ed frowns. I wonder if the willow roots finally broke through the pipes leading to the septic system... He plunges coils into the old pipes – nothing. His friend comes over with more sophisticated rooter coils, cables, cameras. 80 feet into the pipe, he finds a blockage. Tree roots. You really should've taken down that willow, he tells Ed. (Ed loves the grand willow that hangs over the driveway; he’s been avoiding the inevitable, hoping that he can stall that huge project for a while yet.)
I return to the kitchen and take stock: without water, cooking and baking have stalled. I can only hope that the roots are small. Removable for now. That we’ll have water. That the meal will go forward.
To be continued. Tomorrow.