Tuesday, October 30, 2007

An Aged Tree

An aged Maple tree off the sun porch has been preparing for winter. The one photo was taken a month ago. A blush of color. Then last week a progession to more color and fewer leaves. Now she's all bark and limbs. I listen to that old tree groan at night when a wind starts up and hope it's leaves did their work so that old girl will be flush with greenery in the Spring. Last night I found myself wishing that she had a bevy of sisters to block the cold wind that seeps in around the windows. It's only in the 20's and already I'm moaning. Although I'm not old like that venerable tree, I'm an aging Boomer. In January...20 below zero will make this seem like an island holiday.

Tonight I put a fan on the wood stove to move the heat to the rest of the house. Figuring out my carbon foot print is going to be dismal work indeed. I'm trying to keep the parrot warm...I kid you not! She is upstairs and on the Grandmother Maple's side of the house. Still it's drafty. The bird didn't vote for the move here. I have a steward's obligation to keep this tropical companion at some reasonable level of comfort. Bird warmth, burn wood, use electricy...so many decisions.

Bonnie and Clyde

Just went to the basement to fetch the wash and stick it in the dryer. I realized that I've forgotten to mention the other members of the household: salamanders. For the moment their names are Bonnie and Clyde. There is a third but I've only seen the tip of the tail...so no name yet. They came with the house. They spend most of their little lives under the old chimney base. The damp to wet environment of the basement seems to work for them. I've absolutely not idea how they came to live here. Having them down there feels as though this house should be a chapter in a Garrison Keillor story.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Hard Frost

The temps dipped into the 20's last night. Apparently Mother Nature does not give a fig that the Sox won the World Series. Perhaps she was born in Denver.
This is an exciting time of year. We in New England are capable of endless weather conversations. There is a casual art form to it as well as a social structure. A frame on which we build short conversations with people we don't know well. During lively times of the year (the changes of the four seasons) we can discuss the
unpredictable weather with relish. It's a safe conversation and a statement of fact...we will cope no matter what the atmosphere around us conjures up.
The wonder of Fall is it's first act - the spectacular colors displayed in the leaves as they prepare to die. The second act, if one lives in the country, is the way that the death of leaves reveals the forest. For instance, birch (nurse trees to the forest) stand in stark contrast to pines. Animal paths once hidden are visible. Vacated bird nests can be seen. Deer, moose, bear, wild turkeys are suddenly nearly visible to even careful, casual observation. My dogs are not fans of this time of the year. Their work is more difficult. They patrol the boundaries of the property against invaders that they can smell and hear. My parrot screams some message to them about four legged tresspassors and Tye and Reb spring into action. I watch, listen, calm my companions and go back to my tasks.
The other excitement in these rural parts. The political races,of course. An opportunity to discuss something other than the weather.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tye and Trash

The week ends here are quiet. But for Reb and Tye, my two canine campanions, Saturday and Sunday must be a joy. They spend most of the days out of doors. No snow yet. Lots of room to run. Tye is the youngest of the dogs. A little over a year, he's a lab. cross - so still a puppy. He is digs up everything he finds in the forest. Today he presented me with a broken tiki torch, several scorched sea shells, and a fractured pair of goggles. Often he brings home bottles and cans of every variety and he is the best mouser of any of my four legged friend.
When I walk through the woods I see breath taking beauty. His nose tells him otherwise. His busy treasures tell me how careless people have been with the disposal of their used goods. I am re-examing how I use 'stuff', when I think it is 'finished' and where I put it when I'm 'done'. Speaking of done, it's almost time for game FOUR - Go Sox! Yes, I'm turning on the TV...what to do, I'm a member of the RED SOX NATION!

The Rented Retreat

About 8 weeks ago I moved to "Wildwood" - this name proclaimed on a engraved sign hanging in the screened porch. This is a rural and secluded rental home in New England. The move here percipitated by the imploding of a troubledrelationship. The particular home - necessitated by the fact that I live with 2 dogs, a cat and a parrot...most landlords shy away from this group package. The home sits on six acres surrounded by woods (hence the name) and save one other house down the road, the nearest nieghbor is about a mile away. I am almost 60, out of shape, over-weight, and not in particularly good health - still I love being alive and being here in the country. The tasks ahead this year: stay out of any new relationship for at least one year, learn to live with and perhaps even find some joy in solitude, figure out how to get through winter with 3 cords of wood and one tank of oil (the last tenant let the pipes freeze), paint or write and try not to turn on the TV in order to bath in the numbness of programmed entertainment. I have a job and commute about 26 miles each way to and from work. I've yet to win a lottery so that part of my life is unlikely to change. Everything else is up for grabs.