Sunday, November 22, 2015

quiet Sunday

As I wake up at my usual early hour, I think - might there be a pretty sunrise over the snow-covered fields? Should I be up for it? I glance outside. Misty skies at the horizon. Not likely to let the sun do a splashy, colorful entrance. And there isn't a reason to open the coop this early. Will the cheepers even bother leaving the coop, given that it will not get above freezing today and snow has blown in through the barn door?

Still, it's a pretty morning. I'm up and out, taking in the brisk and cold morning.

As I lift the lid to the coop's roost, I see that the cheepers are feeling a bit like shut ins.

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They take the leap and quickly retreat into the depths of the barn where, in fact, there is no snow. We're off to a good start.

I go back to the farmhouse and retreat under the quilt. Ed is still snoring. I luxuriate in keeping warm, in not rushing, in dozing, reading, not really caring about time. The consequence of this is that the farmhouse cleaning is off to a very late start. Indeed, I'm not done with it until after the noon hour, but it doesn't matter.

Breakfast  (or is it lunch?) is especially sunny and delicious. The coffee I drink is magnificent (or at least I deem it so). The week ahead is easy and full of opportunity.

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Opportunity to do what? Well, after Tuesday, I'll have many days to write. And to revel in how good it is to sit back and sip that coffee and how these quiet times of merely lifting a cup or glass up for a leisurely sip (tea if it's the afternoon, wine in the evening) is such a pleasure because it allows for reflection and a moment of peaceful contentment. 

Which brings me to the topic of Thanksgiving -- a topic that right now has everyone talking. And so I was not surprised to hear a discussion of the pleasures and travails of the Thursday meal on the radio just a day or two ago. The NPR guests (I hadn't paid attention to who they were and it hardly matters) uniformly agreed that they had very mixed feelings about their own family reunions over that holiday meal. They all thought that there was, this year, much to argue about, since world events, plus our own presidential elections have encouraged great polarization and created schisms among family members who, in the best of times, found it difficult to get along.

And this made me wonder: are happy family gatherings really on the decline? Because I always believed that most people anticipated with pleasure these festive family meals, even if there was the proverbial grumpy uncle or difficult to please cousin to contend with. Is it the case that where Congress goes, so goes the American family? That it is increasingly difficult to find peace and compromise, because, what with the various ways in which people can express themselves, that loudness of opinion carries forward to the dinner table, making life miserable for most gathered together for the grandest of grand meals?

Me, I love family gatherings (even if this year Ed and I are on our own on Thanksgiving... but there's Christmas!) and fussing over a meal is, in my view, a grand way to share space with a mix of generations and personalities. But maybe those who feel great anticipation are fewer in number? Reassure me that this is not so!

In the late afternoon, Ed and I are back on the Brooklyn segment of the Ice Age Trail. What a difference a snowfall makes!

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I did forget that this week initiated the deer hunting season. Neither he nor I are wearing blaze orange and when we find pools of blood on the trail, we know that we may be just a little too incautious. We come across a pair of deer hunters and I ask them if we should turn back, what with our somber-colored clothing. They assure us that they will not shoot us. We trudge on.

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It's incredible how fast the sun goes down once it decides to move toward the horizon. We had started with clear blue skies and lovely afternoon dapples of light on the trail...

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... but very quickly, the sun retreated to a lower point.

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Another hunter! This time we come face to face with a bit of a lost soul trying to figure out what's public hunting grounds and what's private land. Just don't shoot at us -- I tell him.

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We reach a look-out point and now I know we must hurry back. The moon is lovely, the air is still. It was freezing all day, but it's especially cold now that the sun's warmth has retreated for the day.

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Just one selfie...

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A look out on the wintry farmland...

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The sun is so low now...

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And then it's gone. Just as we reach the parking space where we left the car.

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The drive home is in the November dusk. We pass deer. I want to tell them -- you're the lucky ones. You escaped the hunters.

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Lucky. Me too. So lucky to have days like these. So very lucky.