Saturday, February 09, 2019

it is, after all, still February

On days off -- and today is such a day for me: nothing is imperative, no schedule must be followed -- you notice the weather even more than on days when Things Must Be Accomplished. Because thermometer readings, wind velocity, and precipitation tallies will set the amount of time you'll want to spend outside.

In my morning animal feeding rounds, I am happy to take in the sunshine.

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But sunshine alone is not enough to keep me outside for long. It's cold and the icy ground make walking difficult. When Ed asks over breakfast if we should go somewhere for a hike, I can't think of a place that would be free of thick ice.

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The city, sure, but we don't really think of Madison as a great hiking venue. We look for nature's calm. The city -- we reserve that for different necessities and amusements, not for long walks.

And so we stay home.

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We are not a restless pair (at least in the short term). A day at home is a sweet treat for me. I like the quiet. Still, I wish it were by choice, rather than by the dictates of a cold and icy winter day. Honestly, I do think that everyone is getting tired of February. Poor, short month: it's not short enough!

The cheepers are restless. How long does this lock-up have to continue?? -- they seem to ask. We're not getting any eggs from them. The good winter layer, Cupcake, is gone. (She was such a good layer that she even left us an egg after she had been already decapitated by the hawk. No, of course we didn't eat it!)

The cats -- well, I had a heart sinking moment with them today: I went out to feed them just a little later than usual and all three were gone. I ran up to report the calamity to a sleeping Ed. He shook his head: don't worry. They'll be back.
Back??? The little kittens wouldn't have gone anywhere! They rely on the food here! And everything in the garage is upside down! (Well, not everything, but a few things are indeed disheveled. I needed to stir up Ed's emotions -- he was being far too calm.) Someone must have gone after them!
The cars will be back. We don't really have predators that would want them. Their greatest enemy here is the car speeding on a rural road.
But they're gone!
I'm going back to sleep.

As I fix breakfast, I keep looking out at the empty feeding station in the garage. No movement. The cat food is freezing to a solid mass. I go out again. This time, I let out a good and loud shout: "STOP SIGN!!"

And lo, she emerges. With Jacket. From underneath one of the cars. The two trot over to the garage and wait for me to stop fussing with their food.

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I return upstairs: two are back! But Dance, the littlest one is definitely missing.
Relax. She'll be back. Cats like to explore.
But it's so cold!

In the end, he is correct. A few minutes later, I see Dance running to the garage. All three, accounted for!

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Were they adventuring, despite the deep freeze? Could it be that they are fed up with February as well? The restrictions this month has placed on all of us have been tediously harsh. Both Ed and I like winter, so long as we can find a way to enjoy its unique outdoor prettiness. Right now, it's a chore to navigate from one spot to the next.

And so here we are, in the farmhouse, ignoring the outdoors, loving the comfort of warmth, of good reading material. Of streaming yoga videos, of lentuils simmering on the stove, of all the wonderful things that you and I can find in our own quiet corners. And there's always the hope that the last weeks of winter will be radiantly beautiful and more hospitable to outdoor adventures.