Monday, October 19, 2015

Just Watch The Fireworks

When I woke up this morning, around 5:30, it was dark and cold. The house wasn't bad at all, but these first snaps of true cold coming on always hit you hard. You're just not ready for it. It was 19 degrees and it hit me the way a first mile hits an overweight jogger - expectedly miserable. I was sleeping next to Friday, who now has enough mass to her that I can't tell if it's her or Gibson in the dark until I call a name. She was not looking to head outside in the crunchy black of the pre-dawn frost either. Gibson was. He was already looking out the window that until very recently used to hold a big box fan. There was ice all around it and it glittered in the light of the lamppost outside. All of a sudden winter was here.

I headed downstairs shortly after. The dogs bounded down past me. Annie, at 16, was asleep downstairs by the wood stove instead of the colder upstairs room. I'll be sleeping down here as well when I shut down the upstairs for the winter in a few weeks.

I was already in jeans and a heavy men's flannel shirt. I could feel the cold wood of the downstairs floor through my socks. (If I had on a pair of Meredith O. Green's hand-knit socks she mails me every year, this would not be an issue, but alas they were in the laundry bin.) One of the cats stepped on the wireless keyboard of the large iMac in the living room (my media center) and a frozen scene from 1939's The Women was on of Rosalind Russell. That made me smile, and it fit pretty well that a cat had made her picture appear (my nod to movie dorks out there).

The dogs were let out and I ventured with them. I grabbed a pail and shovel and old ash was moved out of the woods tove while they took care of their morning business. I could see my breath inside, but knew that was temporary as the darkness was. Within moments the little house was lit by candles and firelight and a fresh pot of coffee was on the stove. Morning had officially started.

Chores took a while. I had to bring in the rabbit's bottles to defrost by the fireside and crack ice on the water tubs. But a few bales of hay, buckets of grain, moved chicken tractors, refilled fonts later everyone seemed happy as clams. I came inside to work on the day's massive Welcome-to-Mondays-Again to do list. I had 8 clients scheduled for graphic design work, pages to work out on the end of Birchthorn (which is hard as hell to end, I am learning, wrapping up so many stories!) and random phone calls and errands.

I worked until 1PM at the table in the living room. I listened to records and podcasts. I listen to so many L.A. based podcasts I feel like I always know what is playing at the ArcLight (Homage to Horror tonight with guys behind the game Until Dawn) and Meltdown Comics. My podcasts are The Indoor Kids, Doug Loves Movies, Ear Biscuits, Nerdist, You Made it Weird, Harmontown, and Bizarre States but I'm always looking for more so feel free to suggest some! So I listened to Pete Holmes and Kumail and Emily while working on a bunch of new branding work.

I headed out for a 5 mile jog after that. A girl gets tired of sitting still. Five mile jogs are easy and fun now. A hell of a thing, that.

After the jog I went about half of the evening chores, and saw the cloud cover coming and the weather forecast's threat of snow. I knew it would just be a dusting but it made me cower at the size of the wood pile I need to get serious about stacking. Firewood from Antlerstock and bartered-in wood was piling up in the driveway. Time to face the music...

I didn't face the music today though. Not unless you count listening to the New Pentatonix song SING about 10 times while on my run. No, instead I decided today would be the day to let Anna Kendrick fly free. (Oh! Here is a story I wrote for the Guardian about Anna and Me, and Falconry in general). We'd go on a real hike/hunt side by side while the sun was shining and the glory of full Autumn was all around us. Most of the leaves still were on the trees and evenings had plenty of rabbits and squirrels out and about.

So I got Anna, weighed her in, prepared some meat in a little ziplock bag for my pocket, and suited her up for flying free. We walked for a while with her hood on but once we were clear of roads and in places where bunnies dwelt, the hood came off and her eyes darted and danced. She stayed on my fist as we walked a mile up the mountain and took in the smell of woodsmoke, rotting apples underfoot, and dead leaves. Is there anything better? Turns out a hawk on your fist is and in the afternoon sunlight she looked stunning. Anna watched me and when she was ready flew away and perched in a tree. I would call her back with some of the meaty bits and she happily returned, still a thrill every single time. It was a gorgeous way to end the day.

Now it's evening and I have already finished my dinner. It was nothing fancy, just one of the birds I raised here over the summer which had sat all day in the crock pot with veggies. It was tasty and just enough to satisfy. Truth was after the cold, the miles, the hawking, and evening chores I wasn't very hungry and was glad it wasn't heavy fair. It was just right and what I couldn't finish on my plate Bogh the barn cat happily lapped up on the counter like the thief he is.

Now there is nothing left to do but tuck in. I'm listening to Jimmy Eat World's Clarity on the record player and it still holds up after all these years. Just Watch the Fireworks still gets me, every time. In a moment I'll sign off here and retire to finish up The Women. That's a wrap for one long farm day. I didn't hit any of my income goals for the day, and that's a little scary, but what is anxiety if not motivation around here? I need to learn to get comfortable with discomfort - it's the new normal for a while. Which is okay, and my choice.

I'm proud of Anna and the relationship we've built together. I'm proud of that sleeping farm outside tucked in safe, fed, and sound. I'm proud of this tired body, that carried me across miles in happy strides listening to kickass music. I'm proud the lights weren't shut off. I'm proud that I'm learning to love myself without any stupid conditions for the first time in my highly-flawed life. And I'm proud of the fact that I'll wake up and do it all over again tomorrow - creating more art, words, videos, pictures and music of my own. That's the end game, folks. To keep living on my terms, with really, really, really, good dinners.

That'll do.


Blogger Sharon said...

Hi Jenna, You are looking very happy in the photo, vibrant and healthy. Your day is pretty busy with all the farm work, and designs. I also used this day at accomplish many things. You have a great day! Sharon

October 19, 2015 at 7:52 PM  
Blogger daisy g said...

Sounds like a very productive and rewarding day. Stay toasty!

October 19, 2015 at 8:31 PM  
OpenID cestlavietlb said...

oooh podcasts...I have many to recommend:
99% Invidible
BBC World Service Documentaries
Hidden Brain
Good Job Brain
No Such Thing As a Fish
The Mystery Show
Radio Diaries
Reply All
Still Untitled - the Adam Savage Project
Stuff you missed in History Clas
Hidden Almanac (I think you really enjoy that actually!)
Revolutions by mike Duncan (And the now finished History of Rome)
The History of England
The Moth
This American Life
Wait Wait Don't Tell Me

Hope you find one you enjoy!

October 20, 2015 at 4:50 AM  
Blogger Nicole Karr said...

Great Article! And running 5 miles, easy, is a big deal. Go you.

October 20, 2015 at 8:55 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

Love this post, love the guardian article. You've probably already read it, but if not, you might like to read H is for Hawk. It's a cool book :-)

October 22, 2015 at 4:10 PM  

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