Saturday, September 8, 2018

My People

The third canine I saw today was a red fox, leaping through the air like a gymnast after a fat red hen behind my barn. I'd be upset if he wasn't so beautiful, a perfect moment caught after morning coffee. The dogs ran after it and the hen lived, but even if she didn't I would not be shooting that fox. My fox shooting days are long behind me. No predators see their end from this farmer, we are on the same team far as I am concerned: trying our damnedest to do whatever it takes to make it through the winter. Good luck, fella. Stay warm.

The day stayed cool and cloudy. I spent the morning with the usual tasks and chores and then worked through packaging some soap orders and illustration work. In the afternoon I saddled up for a ride to take in the view from the top of the mountain. From Merlin's back I could see the valley all the way to Peak Rock across the Battenkill river swamps. Only counted five yellow trees, it is still summer in color and that makes me exhale a little relief.

This morning I shared that fear about firewood, which is a good fear to have. Tonight may dip into the thirties and even if I wanted to light a fire for comfort I can't. The stove is in pieces awaiting repairs and there isn't enough wood. But I know there will be. I called Common Sense Farm last week to check in on the first cord I ordered and they said they'll deliver it when they have time and I hope it's this week. I hope I can figure out how to swing the bill, which I will, I always have. But I will feel so much better after a day of stacking oak and hickory and knowing that my stove is ready for me, waiting.

I feel more like a writer again, more than I have in a long time. I'm working on this romance novel and there's no kickstarter, no patrons, no publisher, no deadlines. It's at only 10k words now but when I sit down to work on it I smile. When I was riding Merlin I thought about the prologue and the coyotes and wolves that open the story, talking over dinner in Cambridge NY. I love telling stories, and this one is so fantastical while being personal. It's on my time and my passion and it feels so good to have something to build piece-by-piece.

My nights have all been based on spending time with my hawk, getting ready for the season ahead. Having a bird you can trust in the forest means trusting her in your living room first, at least for me. We sit and watch movies with the dogs, her on my fist. I practice putting her hood on and off, touching her feet and bells, talking to her, getting her used to the primate she hunts beside. Falconry is technically all about the field - the pursuit of game. I love the entire path to get to that point just as much.

Living with predators, writing about predators, learning and reading and knowing I am also a predator. Yes, I have put down my gun. I'll share with the hungry fox and wave to the trotting coyote. It took me a long time to find my people. I don't need to scare them away.