Sunday, November 28, 2010


You could say we picked the wrong day for a hike. Yesterday was a bone chilling winter-like day. Today, the temperature shot up nearly 30 degrees. A low fifties reading has to feel better than low twenties.

But Sundays are rarely good hiking days. By the time I finish cleaning the condo, it is noon. Then, today, we have to fetch Ed’s pickup truck to cart a broken old Honda motorbike back to the farm for further study and eventual repair. And once there, Ed is lost to his motorcycle project.

(And by the way, if you don't believe cats follow their owners in the way that dogs do, you ought to make a study of Ed and Isis...)


To me, good weather is a magnet. I always deeply regret any days spent indoors when the sun taunts us with its seasonal flashiness, even in the muted shyness of a February day.

And so on this ever so sunny November afternoon,  I head out for a walk without my occasional travel companion. Not too long a walk, but a favorite nonetheless: down the path that weaves through the Nature Conservancy land less than a mile south of the farmette.


If the Ice Age Trail is the well coiffed queen of Wisconsin trails, the Nature Conservancy path is her wild child. Sometimes it’s spacious and orderly...


...other times its out of control and unruly...


...almost disappearing on you, but not quite. Oh, and while you're searching for the path, you can, in this season of see-through forests, catch a glimpse of Lake Waubesa.


And so the bottom line is that this trail, too, is lovely, in the way that all your children are lovely and besides, the agency that appears to be in control here seeks to preserve the natural habitat and that to me is a worthy enough goal, no?


I think a lot about the farm house as I push away tall strands of dry prairie grasses. Once I had made the decision to relocate there after selling my condo, I thought it would be only a matter of time before I packed up and moved on. Now, the project of moving to the farm house is very much in the air:  at what price is it not worth the investment? Opinions vary on this one. And so the jury is out and we’re all waiting to see the estimates drawn up by the contractor, Andy.

In the late afternoon I am back at the condo. There is work to be done for the week ahead. Classes are ending, students need my attention. I answer emails, write letters of recommendation and only for a minute do I allow myself a farewell glance at what I’m sure will be the warmest sun we’ll have until spring arrives sometime in... well, March if we’re lucky.