Just Watch The Fireworks
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 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.