Saturday, January 20, 2018

bumbling along

A third day of small mishaps and great rewards!

It's often like that, isn't it? You stumble and bumble along and kick yourself for misjudging the time or misremembering the way and then boom! -- you wind up with a better outcome.

But first thing's first: it is a beautiful January day, properly belonging to March or April. Upper 40sF (about 8C) with plenty of sunshine! You could not, should not stay indoors.

The cheepers get the message. Today, they walk the path from the barn to farmhouse and back, again and again and again.

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Breakfast. Sunny and delightful.

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And now it's time to meet up with Snowdrop and her mom. We're resuming our last year's habit of taking Snowdrop to the Saturday morning music show at our Performing Arts Center. Today a Brazilian percussion group is playing. It's free, it's casual, and the little girl does love a good music show.

I drive downtown. I'm so on time. Never late. Not for Snowdrop. Ever!

Unfortunately, I cannot get my parking meter to work. I try. And I try. No use. I give up. Go ahead, give me a parking ticket, I dare you! I run. But by the time we're all at the entrance, the auditorium is filled. At capacity. No more kids or grownups allowed. We're not the only ones who had big plans for a lovely January day!

As a consolation prize, we're told that we can go and watch from a glassed-in balcony up above. Might as well. We join many other families struggling to get their kids close enough to see some snippet of the show.

You'll be able to hear it - the attendant tells everyone. They're plenty loud. In fact, if you stick around, there may be openings when the show starts. There'll be kids who'll want to leave.  

The performance begins. And even from behind a glass enclosure, Snowdrop looks up at us and proclaims -- it's too loud!

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But she takes her cues from other kids. If they can listen, so will she. Even though it's hard to feel connected to the performers. It's like watching TV where the reception isn't too good and the volume is over the top.

She takes a break.

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And sure enough, eventually we see someone leaving the auditorium.
Can we go in?
Go for it!

Does she want to be in the audience? She does!

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It was, in fact, the perfect way to approach this group -- first from afar, then eventually from up front.

As we leave, she is happy to take in the small pleasures of this great big public space.

(Art on the walls...)

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(An interesting staircase...)

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(Intriguing posters...)

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It is a really wonderful morning. Who would have guessed, given the initial Gaga stumbles?

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In the afternoon, I'm sure you'll have guessed that Ed and I will want to go out for a hike. It's tricky to walk on trails with lots of mud, ice and melting snow, but the weather is so gorgeous that we are determined.

Where to?

Ed suggests the Ice Age Trail segment north of Lodi. (Lodi is a small town that is almost but not quite a suburb of Madison.) We've hiked it many times, but then, we've hiked most of the trails within a half hour's drive of here many times.

We must first pass through Lodi. We've driven to, through and around Lodi dozens of times. But we take the wrong turn (several times!) and get lost. This is so embarrassing that I hesitate to even write it down: we get lost going to Lodi! That's analogous to living in Manhattan and losing your way to Yonkers. I mean, it's just up the road! (It is true that there are many rural roads and they never go where you think they should go.)

Finally and somewhat sheepishly, I take out my smart phone and we pick up the many roads (because we're completely turned around and not at all where we should be) back to Lodi. And as Ed studies the phone map, he recalls an Ice Age segment that we once helped maintain, not too far form where we are. It's a segment we've rarely hiked since.

And it is beautiful.

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Really, really beautiful.

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The sky is blue and the hills are a smoky gray and the world seems so welcoming and kind!

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That great big sky...

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Leaning trees...

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The golden grasses of winter.

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Evening. Cheepers rounded up, locked for the night. And our new addition -- the little robot vacuum cleaner -- has huffed and puffed and whipped and sucked the farmhouse floors shiny clean.

We live in at a time where a parking meter can mess with you, a phone can guide you, a robot can clean your floors. And still, you can find a quiet path through marshes, prairies and forests, where the views onto undulating landscapes are so rich that they truly take your breath away.

We will be sleeping well tonight.