Friday, February 07, 2014


Winter Routine

Single digit temps, gusty winds -- it's not a day for the great outdoors.

And yet...

Certainly one reason why I love the farmette as much as I do is that the outdoors here is as beautiful as the indoors. In all seasons. Especially when, like today, there is a bright sun that deceives you into thinking that the outside world is welcoming and warm.

After breakfast...

farmette winter-4.jpg

I shift between standing and writing, and sitting and writing (that tail bone got pretty upset with me for subjecting it to all those hours sitting still in flight on Wednesday, so I'm giving it a rest as much as it is possible, given that I want to catch up on reading and writing these next two weeks). And after several rounds of this, I throw on my warmest everything and head out for a walk.

farmette winter-14.jpg

What captures your attention on winter walks out here is the sheer number of animal tracks. Deer, mostly. On the farmette land, they can be so dense that Ed asks me -- where are the fields of unmarked snow? Not anywhere that I can see.

farmette winter-17.jpg

I walk up our scenic rural road (it has that designation actually), past fields of corn...

farmette winter-15.jpg

...and then back again. A familiar circuit -- one long enough that I can let my thoughts drift in whatever direction I give them (today: Poland -- very much on my mind right now. And travel -- something Ed and I have been coming back to in our discussions again and again in recent days. And travel to Poland -- I'll be doing that toward the end of the month).

farmette winter-19.jpg

What I notice most in these days when I don't move far from the farmhouse is how quiet, blissfully quiet a day can be. So much so that an Isis meow seems shrill, more than ever before. Ed swears that the cat has become louder, but I wonder if, rather, it's us that have become incredibly comfortable in our quietness. 

I return to writing and reading in that quiet of a farmhouse afternoon.

In the evening I make fish chowder.

 farmette winter-22.jpg

It seems odd to be reaching for fish when I just came back from a fish-infused trip. Or maybe not odd at all. Maybe this is the way I continue things just a bit longer. Fish for dinner, lots of yogurt and honey for breakfast. I am, however, taking a break from cucumbers.


1968. I was in Poland that year. The winter Olympics were in my time zone: Grenoble, France -- Warsaw, Poland. Same hour. I watched, mesmerized by Jean Claude Killy on the downhill. For a few moments, I considered being a downhill racer. I fell in love, too, with the skating of Peggy Fleming. Winter Olympics -- I was hooked for life.

1968. Summer vacation. We traveled to the Soviet Union: my parents, my sister and I. The highlight was a two week summer rest in Sochi. Because, you know -- it's a resort by the Black Sea, right? Mountains? We never saw them. We stayed glued to the Black Sea.

So when I watch the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics 2014, I have an odd set of emotions to confront. Yes, there's that constant media buzz about the politics of it all. I understand. I listen to the Russian national anthem and I have my own flash of politics. It's different than yours. But, mostly I keep that in my back pocket. I watch the athletes and I think -- you are so talented! Excellent at what you do. I like that.